BLACK SABBATH – 1983 “BORN AGAIN” ALBUM IS METAL OF PROFOUND IMPORTANCE


Black Sabbath "Born Again"Back on October 4, 1983, Black Sabbath released their eleventh studio album – Born Again. I was serving time in high school as a senior in 1983, I also became a born again Metalhead that same year, thanks to this most underrated Black Sabbath album. I am not kidding or trying to sound like a yahoo by stating that. Born Again was a match made in Metal heaven for me… the prolific vocals of Ian Gillan uniting with the ultra legendary Black Sabbath. I have to admit, with Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio not fronting Black Sabbath, it was common place for professionally paid Rock Music critics to easily overlook the other lead singers this Rock And Roll Hall of Fame band has bestowed over the decades. I never overlooked a damned thing Black Sabbath had done, especially when they joined forces with Ian Gillan. From the front album cover artwork of the demon baby, to the down right eerie and chilling Metal Music heard on Born Again, this album is a must listen and own in Metal Music 101.

When I first listened to Born Again, back in good ol’ 1983, the synthetic instrumentals of Stonehenge and The Dark left a Metal imprint on my subconscious like none other… all I could think back then and now is this is the soundtrack of doom… all hail Black Sabbath. The guitar riffs, leads and solo on Zero The Hero sound as if I am listening to a descent to the darkest depths of inner Earth… I love that descent. Trashed is not just an amazing song lyrically, this is an early introduction of Heavy Metal making the transition to pure… Metal. Comparing Born Again to other Heavy Metal albums of that time is what separates the Heavy Metal label from Black Sabbath, thus anointing this iconic band to true masters of Metal Music.

The Metal of Born Again is not Thrash, yet it is not Accept, Quiet Riot or Saxon of that time period either. With Born Again, a black album was unintentionally or intentionally created, (both with album artwork and the Metal Music within), while Black Metal itself was simultaneously being born into a genre, courtesy of Venom, Bathory and Hellhammer . I can’t compare this Black Sabbath album to their earlier albums with Ozzy. Nor can I make a comparison of Born Again to the Dio led Black Sabbath either. The song Born Again alone is a study in just how far Tony Iommi would go in making a unique Black Sabbath album, one that would stand apart from the entire Black Sabbath catalog… forever. Listening to Ian Gillan’s vocals on this song honestly takes my Metal breathe away. Ian Gillan is beyond unreal great on Born Again – all one needs to do is open their Metal mind to the song Hot Line and thou shall understand and realize why. Seriously, the vocals of Ian Gillan on Hot Line makes me imagine what life would have been like for this Metalhead, if more Black Sabbath albums were created with his legendary voice. I guess it is obvious by now, that I revere Ian Gillan.

Digital Bitch may have been the most popular song from Born Again, the song that advertised their Born Again Tour on FM Radio back in 1983-84. Despite the fondness that commercial FM radio had for this song, it blazed with Metal fury like no other song back then. Disturbing The Priest, this song title alone made for my own personal battle cry for serving eight long years of time – in a parochial school. Trust me on that one. In Metal hindsight, maybe the professionally paid Rock Music critics of the world were never ready for the dark Metal Music that Born Again was about. This was not the Deep Purple version of Ian Gillan, nor was this the Children of the Sea version of Black Sabbath. Keep It Warm actually grounded this Born Again album, keeping it from being a non-stop onslaught of apocalyptic, melancholy and dark sided themes.

In a Metal nutshell, this Born Again album was forged by the union of Ian Gillan joining the legends of Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill ward. This version of Black Sabbath has suffered through too many years of comparisons to the Ozzy and Dio fronted bands of the same name. All too often, the ignorance of professionally paid Rock Music critics can water down the integrity of a great album from an elite band. Such is the case here with this incredible Born Again album from Black Sabbath. I never saw this Black Sabbath lineup as anything other than Black Sabbath, only with a different lead singer in Ian Gillan who rose to the Metal occasion with unparalleled pipes.

Over the years it has been amusing to me, to even read that Ian Gillan himself was never satisfied, actually displeased, with the music and demon baby artwork of Born Again. (The liner notes of this Born Again CD detail this, as written by writer Hugh Gilmour). If only Ian Gillan knew, just how much this Born Again album has meant to me, as a lifetime fan of his prominent vocals. Black Sabbath fans who appreciate the music created by Tony Iommi, (guitar), Geezer Butler, (bass)¬†and Bill Ward, (drums), know that the Ozzy, Dio and Ian Gillan versions of this band carry their own Metal identity that captivates with it’s own powerful mystique. Born Again by Black Sabbath is more than a vintage Metal album that I recommend, it is a vintage Metal necessity, that should be embraced and heralded as an important contribution and moment – to the history of Metal Music.

To my best Metal buddy Scott… thank you for buying me this hard to find CD. Having owned a copy of Born Again on cassette, spanning three decades, deserved a righteous Metal upgrade. I truly wish I kept the vinyl album of Born Again that once was in my collection.

Black Sabbath "Born Again"

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2 Responses to “BLACK SABBATH – 1983 “BORN AGAIN” ALBUM IS METAL OF PROFOUND IMPORTANCE”

  1. One of my all time Sabbath favorites. Trashed!

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