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Black Sabbath - Born Again CD (album) cover

BORN AGAIN

Black Sabbath

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Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Better than you've heard

Well this is the Ian Gillan/Deep Purple Sabbath album. He always sounded a little like a fish out of water with Sabbath and yet this oft-abused release turns out to be one of their darkest and heaviest outings period.

The mix was awful and I remember reading that the wrong sub-par mix was accidentally used in the pressing instead of the clean-up mix. An amateur mistake for a veteran band and not a good sign on the surface. "Trashed" is a rip-roaring almost punkish opener that along with the thunderous rock of "Disturbing the Priest" constitute a reasonably nasty good opening. On side two, the title track "Born Again" is the highlight, a brooding and mysterious piece that I can still enjoy. It's the only song that the band really sounds like they were unified in vision and taking their time, the rest of the album sounds like they wrote it Friday night, partied on Saturday, and recorded it on Sunday morning. And yet that's not all bad. What some see as hopelessly disjointed can sound to others like a refreshingly loose approach. Iomni has some seriously crushing, tasty riffs throughout.

Despite some problem in execution "Born Again" is one of the Sabs I return to most often in my middle age days. I like the dirty raw sound, the darkness, the energy-I sense a feeling of guys who know they're getting old and are grasping at youth. That may or may not be the case but on this album they left a vibe that makes me feel that way.

Report this review (#143919)
Posted Friday, October 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This is absolute the worst Sabbath album in my opinion. Nothing is working here, Gillan voice has nothing in common with Sabbath, he is more bluesy, hard rock voice. So to be short, avoid this album, is mediocre in every way. Not a track to remember and Disturbing the Priest is one of the worst tracks Sabbath ever created. 2 stars, forgetable only for collectors/fans only.
Report this review (#144341)
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars A year before the ..."Purple" reunion, Ian Gillan will record an album with "Sabbath". Not that this is not conceivable : at the end of the day hard-rock has crossed heavy metal and vice-versa very often. No, the problem is, again, the quality of the songs.

Not of "Trashed", the opener which again renews with the very good "Sabbath" opening songs : great beat, great guitar work and perfect vocals. One of the two best songs of this release. What else do we need ? Probably not the short and peaceful (?) instrumental "Stonehenge" (but this is a habbit for "Sabbath" to release such a song on each album).

Actually, one would almost missed it while listening to the rest of the album. Extremely heavy for most of it, lots of Gillan shouts (as if he could not sing...). EIommi will be the only one to be able to do anything to raise the level of this "work". Here and there a good solo of course like during "Zero The Hero" but really nothing from the other world.

A uniform and boring mood all the way through. There will be some more "Purple" influence of course like during "Digital Bitch" but we are far from a great song. The title track is also a bit more appealing. A slow-rock song with a good Gillan on the vocal command. It is probably the "best" song of the whole.

Iommi again will be the highlight on "Hot Line" and "Keep It Warm". If he weren't there, this band would have already liquified a long time ago. Thanks Tony for your incredible skills.

That's all we'll get here. Just imagine how bad the promotional tour sounded like ! They even incorporated "Smoke On The Water" in there ! Fortunately for "Purple" fans, Gillan will get back on board of the "Purple" ship very shortly after this. Maybe that he considered this as a warming up ?

The strategy of hiring Gillan will be commercially successful though. This "Sabbath" album is their best selling album for a decade. Only "Paranoďd" did better (number one). This one will peak at the fourth position in the UK charts !

Two stars. And this is a rather generous rating.

Report this review (#144367)
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars 2 points in average fro this album???? This is one of the greatest release of the band guys! The sound is very loud, very heavy atmosphere, incredible lyrics of Deep purple singer who completely fits the black style. The five first songs are excellent, guitars are drums are expected to be for the genre, very dark and slow rythm with repetitive moves. The rest is more common but I can't count how many times I gave it a spin! Enkoy!
Report this review (#144838)
Posted Monday, October 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Iommi and Dio clashed over the mixing of "Live Evil", and by the time Live Evil appeared in January 1983, Dio had left Black Sabbath, taking Appice with him. Since then Black Sabbath had no vocal, so Iommi approached Ian Gillan of Deep Purple. Drummer Bill Ward to return. Black Sabbath hit the road prior to the album's release, with drummer Bev Bevan (b. Nov 25, 1946) substituting for Ward, who would return to the band in the spring of 1984. The album was a Top Five hit in the U.K. but only made the Top 40 in the U.S. Gillan remained with Black Sabbath until March 1984, when he joined a Deep Purple reunion and was replaced by singer Dave Donato, who was in the band until October without being featured on any of its recordings. The original line-up Tony Iommi (Lead Guitar & Flute), Geezer Butler (Bass) and Bill Ward (drums) appeared in this album with Ian Gillan on vocals and Geoff Nicholls on Keyboards. For Black Sabbath fans, this is not a good recording even though the music in this album is not bad at all. Keep on rockin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#146327)
Posted Monday, October 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
obiter
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Houston we have a problem.

Ian Gillan, the heavy blues rock legend joined forces with heavy rock legends Black Sabbath: gotta be a winner? Either that or a crock of legendary proportions.

While never plumbing the depths of Headless Cross the album fails to inspire. Perhaps expectations are too great but whatever it is the undoubted abilities of Ian Gillan never gelled with the Sabbath vibe. In some ways its astonishing that Dio's did. Who would have thought it? Well, maybe given the experience of Dio it was worth chancing it with Gillan.

The song I like the least is Zero to Hero. Dragging it out for 7 minutes is just taking the p..... Digital Bitch (what a great title with equally great lyrics: She's so rich the digital bitch Yeah rockin') would be a second rate Saxon number.

Another one for the scrap heap. Remember CDs do make good beer mats, and LPs slowly warped over a lava lamp can seem like modern art if you take your time.

Report this review (#161118)
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Isnt music a funny thing? A lot of people think this album blows and some really like it. i really like it! I found it very dark and loved the mix of Iommis guitar and Gillans vocals. I found some of the screams on this album spine tingling! Production issues aside there is far more melody in this album than any Martin release. LOVE IT
Report this review (#175366)
Posted Thursday, June 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
1 stars A great band 'trashed' by evil offspring!

The line up of Black Sabbath was very stable in the 70's with Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward making up the band for a long time. For Heaven And Hell, Ozzy was replaced with Ronnie James Dio who stayed for two studio albums and one live album before leaving (or was kicked out depending on who you ask, I believe). During that time Bill Ward was replaced with Vinnie Appice who only played on Mob Rules. Ward was once again back in the fold for the disastrous Born Again. The vocalist here is none other than Deep Purple's Ian Gillan!

Born Again is often considered to be the worst of all Black Sabbath albums. This bad reputation is, I think, mostly justified! The reason why this album really didn't work is simple: there are not enough good songs. In fact, there are only three decent tracks in Trashed, Disturbing The Priest and Zero The Hero, the latter two being introduced by short instrumentals. These instrumentals are called Stonehenge and The Dark respectively, and while there is nothing outstanding about them at all, they are actually among the better moments of the whole album! The rest of the album is just weak. Especially the latter half of it with really bad songs like Digital Bitch and Hot Line. The titles of these songs alone should deter any serious music fan! The full lyrics are even worse; 'keep away from the digital bitch, she's so rich, digital bitch' This is just a complete embarrassment! Indeed, a look at the cover should be enough! Almost everything about this creation is awful or weak or both.

Zero The Hero is an interesting song in one respect, though. It might be seen as an ancestor to Rap Metal! Gillan almost raps the lyrics over a groovy bass driven backdrop.

I honestly don't know if the whole idea of bringing Ian Gillan into the band was bad from the start or if they just couldn't write any decent material at this time. Gillan is a great performer and I really like the other bands he has been in including Gillan, The Ian Gillan Band and, of course, Deep Purple. Regardless of what the real reason is behind this abomination of an album, this is for completionists only. These long time fans, like me, can chose between laughing and crying while listening to Born Again! I try hard to do the former, but the great name of one of my all time favourite bands is dragged in the dirt here! I have to cry!

One (and a half) stars!

Report this review (#177927)
Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This 'Black-Purple' period album is a strange part of Sabbath's discography. Of course, Gillan-era Deep Purple is a much loved and revolutionary entity within the Rock world. To have Ian Gillan as lead vocalist for the wonderful Black Sabbath is something of a treat, even if a touch odd. Naturally, I'm in a minority who consider this album as a worthy release, but then again, this was one of my first tastes of the mighty Sabbath during the late-80's. If anything, the compressed and rather synthetic sounding production possibly drags the overall product down a few rungs. I've heard stories of Gillan himself receiving a boxful of 'Born Again' LP's at the time, and he trashed every copy of it, due to what he thought was 'lame' production of his vocals...... You just can't please everyone. Me personally, I've always thought highly of the few brief instrumental links ('Stonehenge' and 'The Dark') as complimenting the dark mood of the album, and, most songs are quite interesting - 'Trashed' being a strong contender for 'hit single' and partially successful at that. 'Disturbing The Priest' should be classed as one of the Sabbath 'Classics' - it's definately heavy, displays a clever sense of dynamics, and features the most chilling sounds of demented laughter since 'Am I Going Insane'..... The title song is one of those mellowish and emotional pieces which features fantastic screams from Gillan - 'Child In Time' eat your heart out !! Iommi shows once again that there's more to his shredding than mindless ego-tripping. 'Hot-Line' could've been a superb Purple single, and 'Keep It Warm', though containing standard verses, shows an interlude which brings the listener back to Sabbath's Volume 4 days . I could attribute the weaker moments to go to 'Zero The Hero' and 'Digital Bitch'. This album 'Born Again', may be a product of its times, though I'm sure that many folks can enjoy it with an open mind, and without any preconceived notions on what Sabbath 'should' sound like. 3.5 strong stars !!
Report this review (#189187)
Posted Friday, November 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Just a few words for this album! I have to agree with the previous review that Born Again is a real jewel of the eighties. Ian Gillan probably provides the best vocal performance since his Made In Japan days with an impressive vocal range and interpretation! As for the songs we have two classics-one is disturbing the priest and the second one is zero the hero(play the riff of zero the hero some bits faster and you have Metallica's Enter Sandman-Black Sabbath were their heroes...). Close enough comes thrashed and of course born again which for me is another sabbath classic,anyway... As for the production, to my ears this is one of the heaviest, in terms for heavy metal music, an example of doom atmosphere and raw power! I am sorry if I'll seem heretic to those who believe that this is just a collectors item but I believe this is a four and a half album...
Report this review (#189189)
Posted Friday, November 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Perhaps the most insanely heaviest and ominous album Sabbath did since Sabotage both musically and lyrically up to 1983. You just have to read down the song titles and you pretty much know what you`re in for here, Digital Bitch, Disturbing The Priest, Trashed etc. Suprising to hear this combination with Ian Gillian of Deep Purple making his single album appearance with the Sabs work so well. It niether sounds like a Deep Purple Clone nor anything the Sabs had previously done with either Dio or Ozzy with plenty of flat out Iommi power chords solos plus an E5150 sequel, Stonehenge. Spooky, spooky.

Appropriately titled Born Again with original drummer Bill Ward returning to the fold after overcoming health problems, he brings back a certain heaviness to the band which was lacking on the previous Mob Rules album with Vinny Appice on the drum stool. The heaviness never relents and sort of returns to the earlier plodding rythms heard on earlier Sabbath albums such as Master Of Reality as they bulldoze their way through 40 minutes of unmitigated mayhem. Great stuff to play while you hand out the candy to the kids on Halloween. An additional track entitled The Fallen is also available on the unmixed demo version of the album if you can find it. Crank this gem up to eleven for full scare effect.

Report this review (#206710)
Posted Thursday, March 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
WaywardSon
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Ian Gillan joins Black Sabbath and actually does a great job!

"Trashed" is a great number and a great opener for the new "Born Again" Sabbath with Gillan giving a great performance and showing he still has what it takes! "Stonehenge" sounds like it could be off the album "Mob Rules" but is fairly short so it is OK. 'Disturbing the priest" is where the album suddenly becomes tacky and cheesy with too much emphasis put on their evil image. Great screams from Gillan, but a really corny track. "The Dark" is another E5150 type instrumental.

On "Zero the hero" things lift up again with a grinding bassy riff. One thing I noticed on this album is the different tone of Iommi´s guitar, I preferred his tone on Mob Rules and Heaven and Hell. "Digital Bitch" is a real energetic monster of a song which makes one want to get up and headbang!

"Born Again" has great vocals and very good guitar work, the only problem is the horribly overdone evil lyrics which spoil the song IMHO.

"Hot line" is an average rocker, followed by "Keep it warm" which is a much stronger track.

In a nutshell:A very mixed album, great vocals yet bad lyrics and great riffs yet bad guitar tone!

Report this review (#211755)
Posted Sunday, April 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Born Again is the eleventh full-length studio album by UK heavy metal act Black Sabbath. After two succesful albums Heaven and Hell (1980) and Mob Rules (1981) with former Rainbow and Elf frontman Ronnie James Dio as the lead vocalist in Black Sabbath, Dio and drummer Vinny Appice left the band after disputes with Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi over the mixing of their coming live album Live Evil (1983). Original drummer Bill Ward returned to the fold sober and ready to work ( it didn´t last long though as the psychic preasure of the thought of going on the road to support the album made him drink again and he had to quit the band. He was replaced by former Electric Light Orchestra drummer Bev Bevan for the subsequent tour) and the band set out to find a new frontman. Former Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan was asked to join the band and he accepted the offer.

The music on the album is unmistakably in heavy rock/ metal Black Sabbath style but there are more keyboards on Born Again than on any previous album by the group. The biggest difference between Born Again and earlier releases are of course the addition of new lead singer Ian Gillan though. His bluesy style is very different from both the style of Ozzy and Dio. Allthough I greatly enjoy Ian Gillan´s contributions to Deep Purple his performance here is a problem for the album. He sounds uninspired and weak to my ears and his bluesy and often forced style really doesn´t click with the heavy metal style of Black Sabbath IMO. Most of the songs on the album are also weak and not really of the usual high standard from the band. There are only two songs here that I think are worth mentioning and that´s Disturbing the Priest and Zero the Hero the rest are more or less dispensable.

The musicianship is good as ever but as mentioned Ian Gillan´s performance is way below what you could rightly expect from a singer of his caliber.

The production is awful to my ears. After the powerful and rich Martin Birch productions on the two previous albums, Born Again sounds lifeless and flat in comparison ( the sound on the guitar solos is an abomination IMO). The album was produced by Robin Black and Black Sabbath but supposedly Geezer Butler did most of the work.

Born Again is not a very succesful album IMO. First of all the choice of Ian Gillan as the new singer in Black Sabbath turned out to be a big mistake. Secondly most of the songs sound uninspired and trivial. Thirdly the sound quality is way below average. I´m not impressed and it is safe to say that I´m very disappointed. A 2 star rating is all I can give. Their worst effort by far up until then.

Report this review (#212646)
Posted Tuesday, April 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars I listened to this after listening to BS's eponymous first album. Its weird, but the style is oddly similar. I really don't get why folks so hate this.

The sleeve is many times better than the messy 'arty' ones from the Dio era - but then again, the Dio era got so carried away with itself, that's to be expected! There is a really strong Gillan influence in some of the lyric and song content, but that's to be expected. The thing is, it works! Disturbing The Priest is possibly the stand out track, producing an amazing blend of Gillan's trademark vocals and Iommi's heaviest guitars. Something that RJD never got close to.

Zero the Hero and Trashed battle for second place, with their frantic guitars, and divebombing rhythms. What holds them back is the stronger Gillan edge. You begin to hear what IG would have done with his own band, had they been a little less MOR in style.

The insertion of the two moody intros, long missed other than E5150 from Mob Rules, gives for another return to the long gone great days.

Born Again kind of takes you back to the more blues like stuff that Ozzy-BS produced in the early days. Hate to say it, but IG's vocals work better than Ozzy's would!

So why don't I give this 4 stars? Well, great as this album is, it doesn't quite fit in the BS canon they way it should. Think of Rainbow in the Bonnet days. The sound was there, but it just didn't quite fit right.

Report this review (#223198)
Posted Friday, June 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I am old fan of Black Sabbath and I am sure that they are one of best heavy metal band of all times. The question is are they proggy enough to be represented on this site? I think no way, but it's good that we have possibility to speak about their music once again even there.

Now the album. I had listen for almost all BS albums during years and years. It's very different music there when playing with different vocalists: doomy heavy bluesy Ozzy's period is absolutely different from melodic Dragons heavy metal of Dio's. But both they are absolutely the best. After the band started endless change from one unsuccessfull experiment to another.

The experiment with Gillan was the weak point, only plus - it wasn't very boring. Gillan is singing in his usual manner of that period ( more Ian Gillan band then Deep Purple style), what means that he likes to scream instead of singing in any possibility. His voice is still strong enough, but it just doesn't go good with BS music.

In fact, the album looks as unhappy mix of BS playing and Gillan vocal line is put on from just another recording in another studio. Both together sounds STRANGE.

There are few positive moments in all album, but common feeling is raw and unacceptable.

Report this review (#240355)
Posted Sunday, September 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
2 stars Born Again is without doubt Sabbaths most maligned album. Given the strong albums that preceded and the fact that Ian Gillan had joined for the vocals, it is no surprise that many people were very disappointed. I had pretty much ignored the album as well and only knew one song Zero the Hero from a cover by Godflesh.

To complete my Sabbath series here I picked it up after all. Free of any preconceptions or expectations about the whole adventure I wasn't all that disappointed, meaning this isn't the worst Sabbath album. One remark though, the sound is really really bad. The overblown and over-reverbed 80's production has squashed all possible power out of this album. It's one big muddy plastic murk, devoid of dynamics and edge.

But onto the music now. Trashed is an OK opener. Give this a remix and it would be good. The second track however gave me a bit of a startle. Much to my surprise I knew this Disturbing the Priest song, again from a cover, this time by Psychotic Waltz (I though it was just an old demo song of their own making, I had no clue it was a Sabbath cover). It's a very strong track, very progressive for Sabbath. It's so haunted, dark and dissonant. Had Iommi been listening to Bauhaus when writing this?

Zero the Hero is almost industrial metal. Gillan's vocals aren't entirely appropriate here though. His bluesy vocals don't sit well with the ominous main theme. Dark, spooky, heavy, and very original again. I didn't know Sabbath had an influence on the industrial scene (well maybe yes I did, as also Ministry did a Sabbath cover).

The rest of the album is second-rate material of the kind that also disgraced Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die. But the just those two excellent highlights are motivation enough for two stars.

Report this review (#255414)
Posted Thursday, December 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
1 stars This album must have been the biggest inspiration for the movie This Is Spinal Tap considering all the stories that Gillian told related to his brief collaboration with Black Sabbath (go to YouTube and type 'Ian Gillian' + 'Born Again'). Besides, some of the tracks actually resemble songs from the movie! I guess what I'm trying to say is that this album is a complete mess.

Originally I was discouraged by all the negative professional reviews to even give this album a spin, but after talking to a few hardcore Black Sabbath fans they really makes this album seem like an underrated piece of art. Just after completing my military service, I got a hefty chunk of cash as a bonus so it felt only right to invest some of that money into a few risky releases that I would otherwise have never even considered purchasing. So I lay my money down and Born Again was in my possession.

Things kick-off well with Trashed where Ian Gillian clearly makes his presence known, but it's a downhill slide from here on. There is no reason to even talk about the rest of these terrible composition and instead I'll let their titles do the talking. We have cliché-filled titles like Stonehenge mixed with painfully ridiculous tunes like Disturbing The Priest, Digital Bitch and ...wait for it...*drum roll*... Keep It Warm?!?

The thing that really ruins this whole experience is the terrible production that, I suppose, is meant to sound intimidating and rough but ends up like a blurry mess where I can't hear anything than Iommis guitar. There is also a definite '80s vibe in the sound scheme that just makes this whole material sound really dated and don't even get me started on the album cover!

Even if you're a fan of Black Sabbath, which I consider myself to be, then do yourself a favor and stay away from this terrible album! I'm sure that there might be some sort of a nostalgia factor for some of the band's fans who heard this record when it was first released, but otherwise this is strictly a completionists only release!

**** star songs: Trashed (4:15)

*** star songs: Stonehenge (1:58) Disturbing The Priest (5:48) Born Again (6:32) Hot Line (4:51)

** star songs: The Dark (0:45) Zero The Hero (7:34) Digital Bitch (3:38) Keep It Warm (5:36)

Report this review (#297853)
Posted Tuesday, September 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars No Ozzy, no problem?

I think not.

While I admit that this album isn't that bad, it is nowhere near the quality that I have come to expect from Black Sabbath. I sincerely miss Ozzy's voice, which drove this band before this. Ex-Deep Purple vocalist, Ian Gillan, just doesn't have a voice that fits Black Sabbath's style.

One of the songs that show this is "Disturbing the Priest" which features odd bass lines and weird guitar riffs. When Ozzy left, Black Sabbath changed their style to fit Ian Gillan, but it was a turn for the worst. His voice is too high to offer anything good to go along with the guitars. I don't like how they used random guitar chords to fill the gaps between the lyrics in the beginning because it gave it a cheap sound. Also the beginning is pretty weak with all Ian Gillan doing is laughing. The only part of this song that resembles old Sabbath at all is the middle where the vocals and instruments are all at relatively the same tone, creating a nice sound.

One song on this that I do like, though, is "Zero the Hero", mostly because of the pop-like riffs, and choruses. It starts off cool with good guitars by Tony Iommi. I also like how Ian Gillan's voice fits in nicely with the guitars and bass. This offers a cool sound that really carries the song. As I said before, one of my favorite parts of the song is the chorus because is has some nice heavy bass lines and a cool feel to it. The guitars in this song are absolutely superb, especially in the middle where Tony Iommi has a pretty good solo.

Sadly, Ozzy Osbourne had to leave this band so early because I saw much potential in this album, which could've made it great. First off Ian Gillan's voice fits Deep Purple much more than it does Black Sabbath. Also, the album seemed to be a little repetitive, another sign that Ozzy wasn't there, though I do like Tony Iommi's writing ability. But, on this album all was lacking. One of the things I enjoyed the most, though, was the instrumental sections, which were quite good. Without a decent vocalist, or much thought into the songs Black Sabbath gets 2 stars for this disappointing release.

Report this review (#403464)
Posted Saturday, February 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album gets a hard time...I can see why...but I disagree. The album isn't too bad...it's not their best by far, but to be honest i enjoyed it and theirs some underlooked Sabbath classics that may never see the light of day again.

All the purists raved and squeezed their nipples due to the fact that Ian Gillan joined the band...and saying "oh, it doesnt sound like Sabbath anymore...BANDS CHANGE...DEAL WITH IT.

I think Gillians vocals are amazing on this album, and he really is a great vocalist, and amazing at head voice, but their are some flaws with the album...

The mixing is quite poor, with the guitars at time having too much echo and sounding muddled up, the vocals at times being watered down...and some other things that could have been perfected...but hey...it's the 80's, lighten up a little.

It's hard trying to give this album a rating, but I'll settle saying its a great album, with some slight poor moments and flaws...but hey, nothing is perfect.

1. Trashed - I remember seing the music video for this song, and loving it (but only figuring it was Sabbath when seeing Iommi, playing like a praying mantis). Great chorus and amazing vocals. You can see where bands like Candlemass got their influence from. 10/10

2. Stonehenge - Nice atmospheric instrumental. 9/10

3. Disturbing The Priest - Love Gillians crazy cackles. Interesting arrangement and lyrics. Good chorus. 9/10

4. The Dark - Just a bit of noise really. Nice build up. 8/10

5. Zero The Hero - Pretty cool main riff (apparently Gunz n Roses borrowed it for Paradise City). A bit too cheesy at times, but it makes up for it. A bit too long to be honest. 8/10

6. Digital Bitch - Reminds me of Judas Priest. Great lyrics. Cheesy, but it works. 9/10

7. Born Again - Great intro. I love how free the vocals are. Reminds me of Faith No More. 9/10

8. Hot Line - Great chorus. Very 80's (almost reminiscent of Ozzy's Ultimate Sin album). Vocals at the end are amazing. 10/10

9. Keep It Warm - Bit filler for ending, but ok I guess. 8/10

CONCLUSION: As an album, I don't find it annoying as Paranoid, but their are some weak moments...but it makes up for it with some great songs.

Report this review (#418624)
Posted Sunday, March 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars Ian Gillan was sitting in a chair and asking us "Did I really play with Black Sabbath ?". An absurd thought. Ian Gillan playing with Black Sabbath. It is like fire and water. Then again, it is difficult to ignore the evidence. This album is a pretty conclusive piece of evidence. Many people has been convicted for less evidence than this one.

Ian Gillan was a fish out of water in Black Sabbath. Black Sabbath itself was a fish out of water in that scene. They tried AOR and generic heavy metal without much success while their sacked ex vocalist Ozzy which they had left dead drunk/stoned and unable to take care of himself in a hotel room a few years previously had some huge successes on his own. Both artistic and commercially. Hard to stomach. Then they find a new vocalist which gives Black Sabbath a brief lift before he also runs of on his own and have huge artistic and commercial success on his own. That is while Black Sabbath is drifting like a wreck in an ocean.

And on climbs Ian Gillan. A vocalist with a massive reputation on his own and some trademark tracks on his own. That's why Black Sabbath was playing Smoke On The Water in their gigs.

Ian Gillan as a Black Sabbath vocalist was a train crash. This album is a train crash. It is a band trying to adopt Black Sabbath to Ian Gillan's vocals. With the notable exception of the decent title track, the material here is throw away generic heavy metal and which would not had been even B sides of the singles of any other top metal band at that time. The material is sometimes pretty heavy and sometimes AOR like pop metal (Digital Bitch). I most of all feel sorry for Tony Iommi when I listen to this album. He did not deserve having to put out this pile of horse manure. That is what this album is. Horse manure and an album best forgotten. Not even the art work and the gothic letters proclaiming Black Sabbath can save this album. An album who is only offering the two names Ian Gillan and Black Sabbath. What a shame.

1 star

Report this review (#574043)
Posted Thursday, November 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 'Born Again' - Black Sabbath (4/10)

By all means, a collaboration between Black Sabbath and Ian Gillan should have ruled. Sabbath had spurred the heavy metal sound, and Gillan had dished out some of hard rock's most enduring records with Deep Purple. Not only that, but Sabbath now had a precedent to become awesome with a new vocalist. Dio's induction led to "Heaven And Hell", the album that saved the band from crippling mediocrity. "Born Again" has no such luck, however. The songwriting standards are back to the way they were with "Technical Ecstasy", and for whatever reason, Gillan's vocals to not fit nearly as well as they should have. "Born Again" is a disappointing chapter in the band's history.

Although not as articulate as Dio, Ian Gillan had an amazing voice throughout the 70's. Particularly in his shrieking falsettos, there is no doubt that he was one of his era's vocal greats when it came to hard rock. Listening to his performance on "Child In Time" from Deep Purple's "In Rock" album makes it clear that his haunting voice would have worked well with Sabbath's relatively dark sound. Although many argue that his bluesy style does not fit with the heavier sound that Black Sabbath goes for, it could have been incredible. Sadly this potential is far from realized; the whole thing sounds underbudgeted and generally uninspired. Gillan's falsettos sound great for the most part, but the songwriting falls flat for the most part. Barring the moments where he sets his voice on fire, Gillan's performance feels like he doesn't care about the music, and who can blame him? The composition falls flat more often than not; there isn't a melody of riff that sticks after the album's over.

The biggest fault here is undoubtedly the production and mixing. Apparently, the rough cuts were accidentally published rather than the refined mix, and if that is true, it's a pretty juvenile slip-up for a veteran band to make. The album sounds like a rough demo, or a work-in-progress. As a result, the more upbeat 'rock' tracks are completely unenjoyable to listen to, with only Gillan's shrieks clambering above the mess. However, something very unexpected happens as a by-product of this. Also thanks in part to Gillan's eerie falsettos, this is the darkest Sabbath have sounded since the debut. The slower tunes and ambient interludes are actually pretty good, and the lo-fi sludge gives it a diabolical atmosphere that I might compare to some black metal. "Disturbing The Priest" and "Zero The Hero" rekindle this evil sound. Further proof that not everything is black or white, especially when it comes to music.

"Born Again"s creepy vibe is not near enough to save it from being considered one of Sabbath's weakest efforts, sadly. Taking into account the fact that most of the album still defaults on conventional hard rock songwriting, it becomes nearly unlistenable when paired with a production that sounds like it was engineered by a studio intern. It might be worth checking out for Ian Gillan friends, but this is a chapter in Black Sabbath's history that is best left forgotten.

Report this review (#765135)
Posted Tuesday, June 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Look at their vague and distant glories concealed in the gloom, the icy fingers of forgotten passions. What's that you're thinking? Progosopher has finally gone off the deep end by giving this album four stars? This, the second lowest rated album of theirs on this site and one of the most reviled in heavy metal history? Well, fear not, I have my reasons. Let's review them. First, the edition. Sometimes I rate an album based on its original form and other times on later forms. It all has to do with the extras. In this case, I am only writing about the two disk deluxe edition. The original release was a disaster, the result of using a low level copy many stages down from the original tapes and just some basic bad mixing. All this has been cleared up. The sound has been rendered clean and with plenty of good dimension. You can actually hear the music now. For example, many of Tony Iommi's solos were so full of buzz you can barely make out what he is playing. Now, each note shines out with the proper distorted tone. Yes, given proper mixing, the album actually sounds good! Next, the cover. Get past it. It's crap. You know it, I know it, and the band knows it. Even the artist who created it knows it and openly admits he slapped it together after a week long bender involving massive amounts of alcohol and controlled substances. The night before it was due. I hope the patrons of this site know better than to judge a work by its packaging. Third, the music in general. Sabbath entered the studio with the idea of making the heaviest album ever. I don't know about ever, but this is a contender. It is certainly one of the heaviest of theirs. The riffs are furious and biting, the rhythms pounding, and the vocals screaming. There are two short atmospheric pieces which I find helps to maintain the threatening mood of the whole. Ah yes, the screaming. Let's talk about the band next and we have to start with Ian Gillan. He once said he was the worst singer Sabbath ever had. I beg to differ. I think he sounds great here. Most will at least acknowledge that Gillan is an odd choice to replace Dio, and I myself was cautiously optimistic when I first heard the news. Some of the songs are typical of his double entendre style to be sure, but he also provides more typical Sabbath-style lyrics. Sometimes he actually sings, but he mostly screams, and nobody screams better. Iommi plays with a brighter tone than the sludgy sounds of the earlier days. I have no problem with that as it brings out the quality of his playing that much more. His leads wail and his riffs bite into the marrow of the listener. This album is not music for the faint of heart. Bill Ward is back, and he adds his own level of drumming madness to the album. Geezer Butler sounds great as usual. Now, the songs. The album opens with the kind of short rocker they had been doing since Sabotage. The song here is Trashed, written by Gillan after he went on a go-cart racing ride and crashed. If there were a church of crash and burn, this song should be its theme. Next, we get the first of two short atmospheric pieces, Stonehenge, dark and gothic. If you had not heard the story, this piece led to them creating a mockup of Stonehenge that was too big for most of the venues they played in, something Spinal Tap satirized on more than one occasion. Disturbing the Priest breaks in suddenly, jarring the listener from the atavistic quiet mood of the previous piece. Iommi's riff here is as sharp as a razor and cuts straight through your cranium. Gillan's screaming pushes the sound deep into your mind. If there was ever a musical assault on the senses, this is it. The lyrics also explore the relation between good and evil, something more common to Sabbath than in any other band Gillan was involved in. The story goes that it was inspired when the local vicar came by to complain about the noise when the band was listening to some playbacks in the country studio they were using. Gillan is positively fiendish on this one. Afterwards, we get the second atmospheric piece, The Dark, which is pure immanent menace. As that one fades out, Zero the Hero fades in. Are those voices? Guitars? Both? One after the other? Hard to tell. Kids, this is the ultimate Sabbath song. Its rhythm is a pile-driver, a steam roller that is going to not only flatten your mind but pound it into the earth so deep you will need a steam shovel to pull it back out. Iommi's layered riffs are full on in your face intimidation. It is the giant hand of evil reaching out of the darkness of your own nightmares to grab you by the ears and rip your head wide open. Didn't I say this music was not for the faint of heart? And his solo is incredible. On the original release it sounds like a hive of bees; here it sounds like the great wicked guitar solo it is. Moving on, we get to something a little more Gillanish than Sabbathy, Digital Bitch. Let's just say it rocks with immense fury and that the lyrics are intelligible on the deluxe edition where they sounded like little more than gibberish on first release. The title track, Born Again is an odd one. It is slow. Iommi's guitar is phased and warbley, and reminds me of nausea. Not a very appealing description, but it is worth listening to. More interesting though, is Gillan's voice. He sings in both low and high registers, and shows us just how good his voice is. He does not have to scream, but he does. Oh my, he does. This is actually one of his best vocal performances. Now, I have heard a lot of Gillan, so I do not say that lightly. The last two tracks, Hot Line and Keep It Warm, are mere rockers. What that means is they are not Sabbath classics but they will rock your face off. That's the original album, but this is the deluxe edition, so there is a whole other disk of extras. The second disk starts with an unreleased track, The Fallen. I understand why they left it off. No, it is not a bad song, but it does not sound like any thing else they have ever done before or since. Yes, it is Sabbath, but it is just different. Then we get an expanded version of Stonehenge, which shows that it really is a cool piece of music. Then the rest of the disc is live from Birmingham. We can truly compare Gillan to his predecessors Ozzy and Dio for he sings several of the classics, including War Pigs, Black Sabbath, Iron Man, and Paranoid, and even a short bit of Heaven and Hell, along with a number of the songs from Born Again. Does he stand up? Absolutely. But he never sounds like the others; he is always nothing more nor less than Ian Gillan. In fact, he seems almost unable to not scream. Whenever a note comes out of his mouth he belts in out and up in range. He does this the whole show and even along with Iommi's more melodic leads. The big surprise is Smoke on the Water. Fans of both Deep Purple and Black Sabbath have to hear this. In fact, the audience sings along the whole song. Then the most amazing thing happens. The audience shouts so loud they almost drown out the band. Now, I know this probably has something to do with the mixing, but the excitement of the audience cannot be doubted. I find this entire disk of extras to enhance the original album, something extras do not always do, and lift it easily into four star range. I know I have written a lot about Gillan in this review, but I think given the fact that he was in the band for so short a time and that his influence on the music was so positive, it warrants extra attention since his presence is one of the biggest arguments against this album. And remember, musically, Sabbath always played within the Blues; having a singer more known for a bluesy style is not so much a stretch as it seems at first. So toss your old version of the album in the trash, recycle it, sell it to some unsuspecting soul, or use it for target practice. Just get rid of it and replace it with this one. The album deserves a second listen, and the deluxe edition is the only way to do it.
Report this review (#842980)
Posted Monday, October 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
GruvanDahlman
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The unthinkable happened and Ian Gillan jumped aboard Starship Sabbath and the voyage began. What voyage? Well, the voyage away from Genius, landing on planet So-And-So. "Born again" and the following two albums weren't as inspired or enjoyable as the Dio-era. Not totally bad, just not that great.

"Born again" suffers not only by way of the songs but also from bad reputation. It's really not that bad as some people say, in my opinion. There are highlights. In general "Born again" is a doom-laden, led-heavy, chaptig, frightening album and quite unique in the Sabbath canon. It's literally like climbing down into the depths of Hell. Gillan's typical screaming adds alot to this feeling,coming like rays of devilish yells of fear and insanity through a haze of doomy, murky music.

Some songs are great stuff (Disturbing the priest and Zero the Hero, for instance), some are enjoyable and atmospheric (the title track is one) and othersare easily forgotten (like Stonehenge and Keep it warm).

In short "Born again" offers some great music, it's just not that great an album.

Report this review (#893586)
Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars When I first got hold of the album and sat back looking at the cover before slipping the needle into the groove I was kind of excited - Deep Purple marriage with Sabbath in part - Wow I thought, this would be something. I adored much of Deep Purple's work and I was a Black Sabbath fanboy. I remember feeling kind of puzzled when the music started and I remained feeling that way throughout the album. I put it a way feeling very let down and didn't look at it again for a few months and then I decided to give it another shot - it couldn't be as bad as I first thought, I believed. On second listen I remember deciding to use the album as a frisbee in the back yard. It just didn't work - kind of like a jigsaw puzzle where half of it has gotten mixed up with another unrelated jigsaw puzzle. The album cover looked like an advert for the movie "It's Alive" but that didn't much worry me until I heard the music which didn't gel with my ears at all. It wasn't so much the music but Gillan's vocals that put me off - it sounded to me like he would rather be any place but singing on the album. Should they have used Dio again here I would probably have taken to the album as the music itself isn't bad but the marriage between a part of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath here needed a quick divorce - a real quick divorce. To me this is a 2 star album in that its only use is for collectors in my opinion - or as a frisbee. It's saved from 1 star only in that there is nothing wrong with the music itself but you can't mix chocolate ice cream with tequila - or you can if you enjoy a bit of the strange side of life.
Report this review (#939871)
Posted Friday, April 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars In a "Hit Parader" magazine from late 1983 or early 1984 I read an interview done with Black Sabbath, and among other things they talked about how Ian Gillan joined the band for this album. Gillan said that they went to a pub, they drank a lot, they talked about him singing with them, and the next day he realized that he had joined the band. A story which for me sounds a bit funny and that maybe wasn`t as true as it was told, but anyway, Gillan joined the band for this album and later toured with them with then ELO`s drummer Bev Bevan replacing Bill Ward. Well. This album seems to be loved or hated by some listeners, but in my opinion isn`t as bad as I have read in some reviews and in some websites.This album is a very good Heavy Metal album, sometimes noisy, but good anyway. Maybe the problem is that Gillan`s great voice is very related to Deep Purple`s sound, and even his "legendary shriek" (as Tony Iommi refers to it in that interview) is "very Gillan" and very related to Deep Purple too. Another problem maybe is that the album is not as "dark" as other albums from the band, and even there is some good humour in some songs ("Trashed", "Disturbing the Priest") which maybe was one of the influences that Gillan also had in the band. So, for me it was an interesting combination of two styles of Heavy Metal even if the final product didn`t convince very much the fans or even the then members of the band themselves. Maybe Gillan joined the band only to have some fun with his friends in Black Sabbath, or maybe only to make time unitl the rumored reunion of Deep Purple could be a reality (a thing that happened in mid 1984, so Gillan left Black Sabbath to join that band again). The sound of the album is a bit saturated, very heavy, but still good. Drummer Bill Ward plays very well in each track, and I don`t know why he didn`t tour with the band for this album (maybe it was for health reasons). Iommi`s guitars sound as good and very heavy as always, and Butler`s sound and playing is also very good. The cover design has been criticized a lot, but for me it really is a funny cover which made me laugh the first time I saw it because it seems to me to be like taken from a scene from an horror movie. In conclusion: this album is good. It was a good "experiment" that maybe didn`t work very well as a Black Sabbath album, but Gillan sounded very well as lead singer in this album which maybe could have been better appreciated if it wasn`t released as a Black Sabbath album but under the name of a new band. In 1983-84 Heavy Metal was very popular in some FM radio stations in my city, but some bands were more in the Glam Rock / Arena Rock / Corporate Rock styles in image and sound. Black Sabbath with this album sounded and looked then as a more authentic example of the Heavy Metal style in that time. They were one of the pioneers of that style anyway, like Gillan when he joined Deep Purple.
Report this review (#1035539)
Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Born Again, for the first time!

Black Sabbath! Ian Gillian! YES! (not the band) or, is it NO!

Well, I've seen many fellow reviewers pigeonhole this one, and rightly so. It is a sort of bad that very few things manage to pull off. The production is pretty anemic, the lyrics are kind of silly, the music itself is sort of underwhelming and yet I can't say that this album is actually "Bad." More like enthusiastically misguided at best, delusional at worst, and really what would rock n roll be without the occasional ugly step child to smack around? This album is made for that purpose, however accidentally.

First problem is, of course, the cover. With that image, one can not really imagine what it sounds like. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for red satanic babies with green eyes on a purple background, but really it should sound like Celtic Frost or at least Manowar with that cover, not a (pre-dates, of course) cross between Guns N Roses and Van Halen (the only valid Guns N Roses comparison would be the weird similarity between "Zero the Hero" and "Paradise City") But the overall purpose of that comparison is that this album is not really all that heavy by any standard that could be used by any band that would foolishly call themselves "Black Sabbath" and think that they could easily get away with tepid pseudo-metal/hardrock of the 80's style.

That said, if this album were an 80's Uriah Heep or Wishbone Ash album it would have been their best of the decade. It's not terrible like "Abominog" is terrible nor is it horrid like...Actually I just realized the only 80's Wishbone Ash album I got through was "Nouveau Calls" and the cover of "Born Again" actually ate my copy of it. But you get the point.

This album isn't a real Black Sabbath album (but at least it doesn't have Joe Lynn Turner on it!) and it's not at all a Deep Purple album. Sabbath and Purple together sound like a great mix on paper but the reality was, I think, that these guys were all recovering from the seventies and couldn't quite drag their carcasses through the motions required for this to be truly successful. There's a weariness, a sort of half excited half underwhelmed quality to the album that they never quite shake. The songs sound like they started off okay, but the band just decided to call it a day instead of making them really great so what you get are a bunch of songs that are *almost* really good a few that are "pretty good" and a few that just stink. The overall result is a level of mediocrity that later Sabbath albums would kill for and earlier Purple albums wouldn't tolerate.

Not terrible, but often times boring and lacking quality control. The story is that they wrote "Disturbing the Priest" because they were recording close to a church and the priest came over to ask them to turn it down, they had tea with him and agreed wholeheartedly. That is absolutely NOT metal.

Report this review (#1172575)
Posted Thursday, May 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
TCat
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I am ashamed to say that I have ignored this album all of these years. I have listened to the bad reviews and written this album off as a mishap of the 80s and the hair bands of the time. After hearing Mob Rules which was released just before this one (with Ronnie James Dio as the lead vocalist), I figured Black Sabbath had taken the next logical step from that album and made "Born Again" from the same cookie cutter pattern as all the other hair bands that were storming the pop charts at the time. Boy was I ever so wrong.

Ian Gillam (Deep Purple) takes the lead vocalist spot on this album. Ian's had some great performances and some not so great, so I am happy to say that this is one of his better gigs and his vocals fit right with the atmosphere and evil feelings of this album. Now, as other reviewers have said, this is not their best album and it doesn't quite reach the 5 star quality of most of the Osbourne era albums, but it comes closer than many of the other non-Ozzy albums. Too bad that things didn't work out between Ian and the band, but this is the only album with Ian on it. The stories go that Ian broke all of his records that he received from the recording of this album and that he threw up when he saw the album cover. Maybe if he had stayed, the sound might have suffered, we will never know. But at least this line up of the band released a very good album here.

The music is hard, the first side of the album is the best and most progressive with songs that should be considered classic Sabbath and should be considered some of their best. The second side suffers from a little sameness, especially from the last two tracks, but don't skip over the title track because it is also one of their best, sounding a lot like the hard dark blues of the first album. Don't make the same mistake I did, give this one a chance. If you don't like it, then it's not like you are out much, but if you do like it, you will discover like I did that you are in for a nice surprise. Congrats to the band for not falling to the corporate heavy metal that was around at the time and for not compromising their sound, at least for this album. This one is and hopefully soon will become an excellent addition to my prog rock collection, preferably on vinyl. 4 stars.

Report this review (#1298416)
Posted Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | Review Permalink
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)

Report this review (#1509107)
Posted Saturday, January 9, 2016 | Review Permalink

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