9 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

As the lone Black Sabbath album to feature Ian Gillan in the role of vocalist, Born Again is an oddity within the band’s career, and because of that it's been unfairly overlooked. In fact, it's one of Sabbath’s most vicious and evil-sounding albums, and Gillan is perhaps the only Englishman who could match the infernal majesty of Ronnie James Dio. The album is particularly powerful from a rhythmic standpoint. The slashing drums sound extra-coarse, and Geezer Butler’s high-throttle bass is turned way up in the mix (a production choice that Gillan and Tony Iommi later disparaged, stating “Geezer went a bit wally”). While these production elements might have sounded erroneous on another Sabbath album, here they contribute to the overall themes of claustrophobia, fury, and sin. Songs like “Trashed” and “Born Again” would have as much influence on goth and underground punk bands like Black Flag as they would metal groups. Guns N' Roses, meanwhile, based the verse of “Paradise City” on the riff from “Zero the Hero,” the eternal churn that is this album’s centerpiece.

EDITORS’ NOTES

As the lone Black Sabbath album to feature Ian Gillan in the role of vocalist, Born Again is an oddity within the band’s career, and because of that it's been unfairly overlooked. In fact, it's one of Sabbath’s most vicious and evil-sounding albums, and Gillan is perhaps the only Englishman who could match the infernal majesty of Ronnie James Dio. The album is particularly powerful from a rhythmic standpoint. The slashing drums sound extra-coarse, and Geezer Butler’s high-throttle bass is turned way up in the mix (a production choice that Gillan and Tony Iommi later disparaged, stating “Geezer went a bit wally”). While these production elements might have sounded erroneous on another Sabbath album, here they contribute to the overall themes of claustrophobia, fury, and sin. Songs like “Trashed” and “Born Again” would have as much influence on goth and underground punk bands like Black Flag as they would metal groups. Guns N' Roses, meanwhile, based the verse of “Paradise City” on the riff from “Zero the Hero,” the eternal churn that is this album’s centerpiece.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.1 out of 5
307 Ratings

307 Ratings

FuzzTrooper ,

Born Again has some hidden gems

This is an under rated album for sure, but its dark, disturbing and doomy. The production is also strange which makes it even more fascinating. This is a band that is trying to stay relevant in a changing world and all the turmoil comes out in the music. "Disturbing the Priest" is scary and heavy, "Zero the Hero" is absolutely relentless and crushing. Both songs are acknowledged as true gems in metal/doom circles. Other tracks like "Trashed" and "Born Again" are good showcases for Ian Gillian's vocal range. It would have been very interesting for this lineup to do a second record.

Dopefish ,

Stellar album. Made me wish Ian Gillan stuck around longer

Sabbath's lone studio album with Ian Gillan behind the mike. This was the first Sabbath studio album to be released after I had got into the band, so it was a big deal for me. It does have the worst album cover Sabbath's ever used, but the music on here is absolutely brilliant. Some awesome tunes, great riffs - unfortunately the band all but ignores that this ever existed, unfortunately.

The only time any music from this album was ever played anywhere else was on the following tour in 1986 when a few bars from Zero the Hero were played. Additionally, in 2005 Ian Gillan released a project to commemorate his 40th anniversary in the industry. Trashed appears on that in a newly recorded version with Tony Iommi on guitar.

telekon ,

C'mon Folks - it's Good

Yes - "Born Again" ended up marking the beginning of the lead singer "revolving door syndrome" that plagued Black Sabbath for much of the 80s (until settling in with the exceptional Tony Martin for a nice stretch), but rest assured there is some great stuff on this album. Heck - even Guns 'N Roses ripped off the monster riff from "Zero the Hero" for their "Paradise City".

"Disturbing the Priest" is an awesome, dark, powerful cut, as is "Born Again". Add "Zero the Hero" and "Keep it Warm" and you have spent a smart $3.96. If fast-paced rockers are your thing, add "Trashed" and "Hot Line".

You've got the classic Sabbath core of Iommi, Butler, and Ward bringing the musical force, and former Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillian as the psycho, screaming madman on vocals.

Sounds like fun to me.

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