Great Metal Albums of 1983: Black Sabbath- Born Again

220px-sabbathborn

The first concert I saw at the Philadelphia Spectrum after getting out of the marines was Black Sabbath. Having heard the album they were promoting on the tour, “Born Again,” I already knew that former Deep Purple lead singer, Ian Gillan, would be fronting them. However, I still thought it was a bit strange that when they came out for the second encore, they played “Smoke on the Water.” Actually, that strange feeling lasted only for a few seconds because the song worked as did Gillan singing some of the more classic Sabbath songs. I thought he did a particularly good job on “Heaven and Hell.”

This begs the question, if Ian Gillan sounded so good for Sabbath, then why did so many of the so-called rock critics slate it and why isn’t this album considered one of their best? Let me address the second point. When I hear “Born Again,” I don’t immediately start pining for the more classic Sabbath albums like “Paranoid” or “Heaven and Hell” but I won’t put it on the same level as those more memorable albums either. It’s a great album but not a classic. As for the critics, well, what do they know?

Ian Gillan’s Deep Purple influence comes out immediately on the album. “Trashed” could have been a Purple song. At least until Tony Iommi goes into one of his trademark guitar solos in the middle of the song. Plus, I can say the same thing for “Disturbing the Priest,” although the instrumental track in between those two, “Stonehenge” tries too hard to copy “E5150.” My hypothesis here is that Tony and Geezer let Ian sing according to his style and bent their guitar and bass playing styles around the vocals. Personally, I think they do a damned fine job of it as well. This really shows through on the track “Zero the Hero.” Unlike some critic, I don’t find the song embarrassing, I quite like it, especially how Tony Iommi nails the guitar solo on it.

My favourite track on the album has to be “Digital Bitch.” I love the way, they take Gillan’s shrieks and Tony’s guitar and fuse them together. The title track is a more slower bluesier number. Black Sabbath have been doing these for years except in the past, they did it with a much heavier guitar. They don’t do that so much with this one except for the chorus. At the time, it was believed that this would be the closest Black Sabbath would come to a power ballad. Ian Gillan’s voice suits the song well but then he is definitely if not the best, one of the best vocalists in rock or metal.

Now I haven’t forgotten to mention the interesting album cover. After all, I had it on a t-shirt. I always thought it very amusing even if the American religious community didn’t. Now, I wish I still had that shirt.

Track Listing:

  1. Trashed
  2. Stonehenge
  3. Disturbing the Priest
  4. The Dark
  5. Zero the Hero
  6. Digital Bitch
  7. Born Again
  8. Hot Line
  9. Keep it Warm
Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath

Tony Iommi- guitar

Ian Gillan- vocals

Geezer Butler- bass

Bill Ward- drums

Note: Bill Ward would not tour with the band for this album. Replacing him for the tour was former ELO drummer Bev Bevan

I wonder what would have happened if Ian Gillan had stuck around with Sabbath for a few more albums. Would musical history as we know it been changed? Hard to say. As we know, Ian would leave Sabbath after this and rejoin his mates Ritchie Blackmore and Roger Glover from Rainbow and reform that band they were in together during the early 1970s. Ian Gillan might have only recorded one album with Black Sabbath but it is definitely one to remember.

Next post: Because they supported Black Sabbath when I saw them, I thought it right that it be Quiet Riot- Mental Health

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

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9 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1983: Black Sabbath- Born Again”

  1. I’ve never heard this one; don’t really think I have much non-Ozzy Sabbath at all, actually. I’ll keep an eye out for this one…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. First time I saw Sabbath was the Born Again line-up in 83. I eventually got to see the Ozzy fronted Sabbath https://darrensmusicblog.com/2014/07/05/black-sabbath-at-hyde-park-4714/

    Like

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