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4.0 out of 5 stars72
4.0 out of 5 stars
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on 11 June 2007
In 1983 the seemingly unthinkable happened, Ian Gillan joined Black Sabbath, how could this be? This was (and frankly still is) a little bizarre two of the great hard rock bands join together how could it possibly last, well it didn't the `Born Again' line up only lasted one album and one tour, although poor old Bill Ward didn't even last that long (he was replaced by former ELO drummer Bev Bevan for the Born Again tour.

Now lets look at the music. This album as one might expect is very different to any Sabbath album before or since due to the influence of Ian Gillan. Ian provides all the lyrics for this album and does in my opinion a excellent job. Generally the standard of song writing here is very high with `Trashed', `Zero the Hero', `Disturbing the Priest' and `Born Again'. The latter of which being particularly of note as it can be seen as Sabbath attempting a 'Power Ballad' of sorts, although they pull it off with aplomb and its not nearly as American sounding as `No Stranger to Love' from the `Seventh Star' album or the sub-Aerosmith `Feels Good to Me' from `Tyr'. In my opinion this album features Gillan's last truly great vocal performance, some say its over the top and cheesy (probably the same `fans' who didn't like Dio), but to me Gillan is perfect on this album. As always Iommi provides skull crushingly heavy riffs (see `Zero the Hero' now that's Heavy!) and some beautiful melodic solo's as well as face melters. Geezer as per usual plays excellently through out, with his thunderous bass playing. Sadly I can't really tell how well Bill's doing as the production gives poor old Bill that horrendous 80's drum sound completely removing all of Bill's wonderful feel, it's no fault of Bill's. So it's only the production that lets this magnificent metal album down. Also of note is the horrendous/ brilliant cover art work which was apparently given to Mr Iommi as a joke but he loved it!

So in conclusion don't believe the bad reputation and the `Deep Sabbath' rubbish (were they the same people who called the Dio era `Black Rainbow'? Ozzy fan boys perhaps?) this is a top quality metal album. Not to say that it's comparable to early Ozzy or Dio classics because there is nothing quite like this album. A solid 8.7 out of 10, which rounds up to 5 stars.
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on 6 January 2015
Once you get past the awful cover, and into the music, what you have here is a master class in heavy rock. This is at a time when NWOBHM was at it's peak. Gillan had some solo success,Rainbow had just about fizzled out, Purple were in transition, and Dio was yet to be unleashed. Tho' not an obvious choice, Gillan fronting Black Sabbath was a worthy successor to the mighty RJD. This is not the Sabbath juggernaut with Ozzy and neither is it the RJD behemoth. This is a very good collection of songs that deserve to be heard without prejudice. All are on excellent form throughout. The second disc from the Reading Festival shows what a good live proposition they were. Only the version of "Smoke" hints at train wreck this project could have been but wasn't.
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on 5 October 2009
I first heard this album on a old cassette on its release and i was convinced the awful sound was due to the primitive bootlegging involved. 26 years later with a new CD on the player it sounds just as bad... Which is a crying shame as there are some great songs on this record like Zero the Hero and Born again, and some of the arrangments are pure Sabbath. The only element that isnt distorted by the production are Gillans vocals which howl ,scream, yelp and croon like a man quite enjoying his time with one of the iconic bands of the seventies. I saw them at Reading in 1983 playing "Smoke on the water" and Geezer Butler was loving it, as did i !
Maybe one day Tony will pull out the tapes and remix it.
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on 1 December 2010
Ozzy had left but Sabbath brushed off their shoulders and began again with Ronnie Dio to wild acclaim and newfound enthusiasm from the metal and music world. They were back on top of their game with a new (ish) sound and revived verve and power. Then Ronnie left and Ian Gillan from Deep Purple joined. Interesting. Then they made a new album. Coming after the 2 behemoths that were Heaven & Hell and Mob Rules, Born Again was just not up to it. It sounded like a tired, desperate band trying to crawl from obscurity by making a tired, desperate attempt at a super-album by melding 2 super-groups. It failed. But that is not to say that there was nothing of interest that came out of it. As a part of musical/metal/rock/Sabbath history, it is flimsy and unnotable. But as an album it wasn't that bad.

Opener, 'Trashed' is a really great song. From the outset it was clear that this was a dirty album and was attempting to return to the band's roots. 'Trashed' was fun, catchy and on the button. 'Stonehenge' is a great, moody intermission connecting the opener with 'Disturbing The Priest' - a truly heroic track title. It's not a classic, but it is recognisably Sabbath and is sufficiently evil and mischevious, as well as being grimey but not by any means perfect. 'The Dark' is as 'Stonehenge' was only shorter and really should have been just part of 'Zero the Hero'. Which is as 'Disturbing...' was. It's a good, long Sabbath song that doesn't quite cut the mustard but is fun and has a decent chorus.

'Digital Bitch' is fine. It's shorter than most of the other tracks and is a straight up rocker with less of a chorus than is needed. The title track is a moody, slow number that creeps and twists and chugs along. It's good, but not great. 'Hotline' is pretty forgettable and a bit like 'Digital Bitch' only not as good. 'Keep it Warm' was surprising. This and the opening track are the best songs here. It's almost like a Dinosaur Jr song, however weird that may sound. It's grungey, bluesy and has a swagger that's almost folk. Very good.

As a whole it's a good stop-gap between the Dio albums and the Tony Martin era. It's never going to revered as classic, and rightly so, but it's far better than the tedium that came next...
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VINE VOICEon 8 March 2004
So there's no Ozzie but Ian Gillan is in front. Forget pre-conceptions, ignore the names, stuff the pretensions....... This album is heavy magic. Riffs or what! Hot line, Disturbing the Priest where do you stop. So it's Gillan who cares. If you like the music and not the stupid preposterous posing by some people buy this album now. It's in my top 10 of all time.
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on 21 August 2009
Born Again is a disturbing cd. Firstly there is the revolting cover. This is not the normal graceful or arty stuff of Sabbath albums previous to this one - it's a bright red newborn baby with horns and fanged teeth, grimacing in pain - nice. Then there are Deep Purple's Gillan's vocals. Possibly relishing his appearance with the darker Sabbath he shrieks, cackles and wails demonically throughout the album, like an evil witch being burned alive at the stake. This can get quite tiring in places, believe me. The production is also disturbing, in that it is so markedly bad. The drums fill the mix, resounding unmusically like rapid machine gun fire, whilst the guitar solos scream, buzz and whine as if they are an angle grinder cutting through the leaden, impossibly miserable, drone of the thundering bass. Finally you have the songs, the most disturbing of has to be (of course) 'Disturbing the Priest'.

And yet parts of this are oddly appealing. The aforementioned 'Disturbing The Priest' is a truly awesome track, worthy of the Sabbath brand - thumping bass, clanging bells, horror film keyboard effects, stabbing, jarring guitar riff and a chorus and vocal that will be forever be repeated in your head. Zero The Hero is similarly, beautifully, miserable but the better for it - overly long, drifting atmospheric guitar solo and memorable chorus. CD fast opener Trashed is possibly the most obvious Purple/Sabbath crossover, aping Highway Star or Speed king and works quite well as a result, followed closely by Digital Bitch, which is a throw away meaningless romp with a relatively weak and hurried chorus. The last two tracks are so awful and embarrassing that I can't even recall their titles after 20 odd years (I do remember the endless screeching and cackling from Gillan, to the point that you'd wish somebody would put him out of his misery, and the fact that the album's closing track sounds likes its being played literally backwards). However, in contrast, the title track is a surprisingly effective doomy and mournful classic, reminiscent of the moodier style of `The Seventh Star', Iommi's follow up album. The two infill instrumentals add atmosphere to the whole opus (Stonehenge giving birth to the now mythical stage set) and glue together perfectly the cds best two moments; Disturbing the Priest and Zero The Hero.

So all in all a disturbingly odd and short cd (side 1 had effectively only 3 tracks), which effectively cross breeds Purple and Sabbath styles to conceive a sound that is represented metaphorically by the revolting born again demon baby gracing the cover of the cd.
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on 4 May 2012
According to Tony Iommi the reason the original mix on this is so bad is because they did not know the tweeters were blown in the speakers they used for making the mix. The second question is why did they not remix it? According to sanctuary the original multiple track is missing leaving just the two track master to work with.
The studio album disc dose not sound great but this is a good record and at least you don't have to pay a fortune to get it anymore!
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on 17 June 2015
A very pleasant surprise this one. I was not at all sure how Ian Gillan would work on lead vocals. It's a fantastic metal album and right up there as one of Black Sabbaths best albums. Some great tracks - my favourites are Hot Line, Stonehenge and Digital Bitch. But no weak tracks on the album. A clear 5 stars.
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on 13 January 2013
i like it, not as much as the previous classics, but it is good and underrated one.
Gillan is a great vocalist and done very good job here.
Top tracks are: 'Disturbing the Priest', 'Digital Bitch' and 'Trashed'.
An album you nust have if you are a Black Sabbath fan, even if it not classic it still deserve the purchase.
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on 8 June 2015
Bought it as Ian Gillan does the vocals, but it ends up being a Deep Purple sound without the keyboards, ok for some but not for me, there newer stuff like 13 is much better, proof that things can inprove with age!
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