Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Black Sabbath - Born Again
This was the first and only Sabbath album to feature Ian Gillan (formerly of Deep Purple) on vocals. The record also featured the return of drummer Bill Ward, who had left the group previously due to alcohol issues. The rest of the line up was Tony Iommi (guitar and flute), Geezer Butler (bass) and Geoff Nicholls (keyboards).
Side one opens with “Trashed”, which was also released as a single. The fast and furious rocker describes an alcohol-fueled car race around the grounds of the recording studio during which Gillan crashed Ward’s car. It ends with a scorching guitar solo by Iommi.
The B-side to that single was “Stonehenge”, a two minute, cosmic sounding instrumental interlude.
“Disturbing the Priest” was said to be inspired by a local vicar who approached the studio during recording and asked the band to keep the music down so his choir could practice. The mood of this song about the balance of good versus evil is dark and forbidding, inspiring fear and paranoia. It feels like it stepped right out of a film like The Exorcist.
“The Dark”, a very short musical segue, plays well after the last track and leads directly to the next one.
“Zero the Hero” offers up a possibility for redemption, to stand for something bigger than one’s self.
Side two begins with “Digital Bitch”, a rapid-fire rhythm diatribe about a wealthy woman who flaunts her influence and power.
The title track “Born Again” is next. This one winds along on a slow tempo for six and a half minutes.
“Hot Line” has a solid, driving metal grind to it
The album closes out with “Keep It Warm”, a mid-tempo tune that reminds me a little of classic Led Zeppelin. The singer urges his lady to keep their love warm until he returns home from the road.
My exposure to Black Sabbath growing up was mostly from the album-oriented rock station out of Buffalo that played them as part of their rotation of classic acts. By the time I was preparing for college at the time Born Again came out in 1983, I had really shifted my gears almost completely to new-wave and such. Therefore, this album was completely off my radar.
Listening to it for this review, I certainly liked it. Sabbath showed that they could still lay down the heavy metal thunder even after a number of line-up changes. It certainly had that classic Sabbath sound musically that I knew from their earlier days of recording in the 70’s.