black sabbath

Rig Rundown: Mac Sabbath

These intergalactic GMO mutants honor two things: metal and cheeseburgers. See how Earthly gear guideposts Iommi and Butler influence their tasty setups.

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Andrew Scheps pilots the Neve 8068 console at Punkerpad West, his Van Nuys, California, studio.

Engineer/producer Andrew Scheps mixes Black Sabbath’s return to the top of the charts.

Andrew Scheps earned his spot in the center of the control room the old-fashioned way: by doing whatever job needed doing for some of music’s biggest artists—and doing it well.

After starting his career as a technician for New England Digital (creators of the Synclavier, one of the first digital audio workstations/synthesizers/samplers), Scheps went on to do synthesizer programming, drum loops, Pro Tools editing, and more for artists ranging from Michael Jackson and Jay-Z to Earth, Wind & Fire and Iggy Pop. Along the way he made a connection with mega-producer Rick Rubin (Johnny Cash, Slayer, Run-D.M.C., Metallica, Tom Petty, Eminem, Adele, and many more) and began engineering many of his projects. The latest of these is Black Sabbath’s 13, the band’s first studio album since 1995, and the first full studio album featuring Ozzy Osbourne since 1978’s Never Say Die! The comeback album reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 charts, debuted at #1 in Canada, and became the first chart-topping album for Sabbath in the U.K. since 1970’s Paranoid.

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Ozzy & Co.'s latest relies heavily on the sounds of their past, with flickers of hope for the future.

Black Sabbath
13
Vertigo/Republic Records

Black Sabbath’s 13—the first studio album in 35 years with vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler—finds the band revisiting its classic, heavy blues-based and bigger-than-life riffing. With producer Rick Rubin at the helm, Sabbath has delivered a fantastic comeback album that pulls no punches. The opening tracks “End of the Beginning” and “God is Dead?” feature over 16 minutes of demonic riffs that harken back to the band’s self-titled 1970 debut, and they lure the listener in with dark progressions before unleashing fierce jams. Ex-RATM Brad Wilk’s deep-in-the-pocket drumming sounds carefully practiced and works well within the songs, but doesn’t exactly capture Bill Ward’s incredible swing.

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