Sunday, July 13, 2014

Black Sabbath - Born Again (1983)

Man, Black Sabbath is not good at all at timing their album titles. First we had "Never Say Die!", which  was the last album before the definite death of the original line-up, and now we have "Born Again", a title that should have been more fitting on "Heaven And Hell". But at the same time, it was understandable why the band had chosen this title. Bill Ward was back in the line-up and they also had a new singer in Ian Gillan, whom you may recognize from Deep Purple, so you might think that Black Sabbath wanted to start on a new page once again.

And sure enough, it is a new Black Sabbath that enters in "Born Again", but it is not necessarily a better band that emerges. Just like with Dio, Gillian was heavily involved in the songwriting process, and it is noticeable. It may sound a lot like Sabbath, but there are hints of Deep Purple in the music that makes it easier for Gillian to fit in, which is totally fine since it sounds more like a Black Sabbath album than a Deep Purple album. But it was a problem in the end, because since Gillian came from a different musical background, he had trouble in adapting to the band's early works, which is also why "Born Again" became the first and only Black Sabbath album featuring Gillian.

As for the music itself, it is a mixed bag for me. Some songs like the dark and heavy "Disturbing The Priest" and the epic self titled ballad feels like they belong in this album and is a good continuation of the band's sound. But they are getting mixed up with songs that just throws the album off course. Despite its cool, long solo, "Zero The Hero" is one of those songs with its sluggish tempo and boring structure. And while "Digital Bitch" turns up the heat, it just feels a little too much like a Deep Purple song.

The overall experience of "Born Again" is that it could have been a really sweet album if some of the dents had been smoothed out. Because the main problem with the album is that it has a lot of cool ideas, especially in the solo department, but the final product is just sloppy and poorly made. The production is shaky, the album cover is horrible and the whole band chemistry was just not there. It definitely goes to show that just because you got a great singer with lots of talent at your disposal, it does not mean that you will automatically connect with this dude on a musical level.

This has been the hardest Black Sabbath album to rate so far, and that is all thanks to the uneven quality in the songs. Some songs were good, others were bad. This is without a doubt the most uneven Black Sabbath album up to date and it is not surprising that the record's line up only lasted one album. Ultimately, it is the negative sides that sticks out of "Born Again", which is why I cannot give this album any higher rating than this.

Songs worthy of recognition: Disturbing The Priest, Born Again

Rating: 4,5/10 Digital Bitches

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