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Black Sabbath - Born Again CD (album) cover

BORN AGAIN

Black Sabbath

 

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2.77 | 315 ratings

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Pastmaster
5 stars Black Sabbath - Born Again

"Born Again" is the eleventh studio album by heavy metal band Black Sabbath. By 1983, Dio and Vinny Appice had left the band due to disagreements and misunderstandings over the making of the live album "Live Evil", so the rest of Black Sabbath had to find a new vocalist and drummer. Original drummer Bill Ward rejoined for Born Again, and they recruited Deep Purple's Ian Gillan to be on vocals. Ian Gillan plus 3/4 of Black Sabbath sounds like a perfect match, and unlike most, I certainly find it to be a perfect combination.

"Born Again" is one of Black Sabbath's darkest and doom-filled albums to my ears, but with a perfect balance between driving songs like opener 'Trashed' and the dark dirges of other tracks. The beginning of 'Disturbing the Priest', which I assume is a play-on-words of disturbing the peace, definitely fits the cover with it's terrifying shrieks and Iommi's signature sludgy guitar. The short opening for 'Zero the Hero', the dark ambient sounding 'The Dark', sounds like it came straight out of a horror movie soundtrack. Finally, 'Digital Bitch' opens up with one of the nastiest sounding guitar riffs I've heard, and I mean that in the best way possible. It really gets you ready for the rest of the fast and catchy song.

While this is unmistakably Black Sabbath, with Ian Gillan on vocals it's hard not to hear some elements of Deep Purple within the album. The best example of this is in my favorite song from the album, 'Zero the Hero'. When Gillan sings the name of the song, it sounds right out of a Deep Purple song. The song maintains a constant dark driving riff and a haunting chromatic walk down the scale. While I'm talking about this song, I may as well mention Iommi's amazing guitar solo in the middle of the song. The guitar really sings, and just enhances the sound mixed with the haunting notes being played. For a little bit of trivia, the short 'Stonehenge' has an interesting live performance story that may sound familiar. The band wanted a Stonehenge replica for the Born Again tour, but the replica was accidentally too big. This is what most likely inspired the famous scene in "This is Spinal Tap", where they get a Stonehenge replica that is too small.

The main complaint that I've seen for this album is the production. The production is definitely not the best I've heard, but I personally find the muffled raw sound benefits the dark and raw sound of the album. The album cover is also another part of the album that is often seen as a negative. I personally think it has some sort of charm to it. The evil devil-baby featured on the cover looks like a still of a puppet from a stop-motion short.

Overall, the album is definitely an acquired taste and perhaps a love-it-or-hate-it album. If you don't have an issue with muffled productions and are a fan of Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, then I highly recommend giving it a try.

(Originally written on www.MetalMusicArchives.com)

Pastmaster | 5/5 |

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