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BLACK SABBATH Born Again 2-CD Universal(2011)

Black Sabbath

An album that caused a few waves at the time, and was not well received back in 1983 on original release. Shame really, as it is actually a rather good album. Different, but it shows Iommi and Gillan combined and at their best. At least in the studio. No arguments over the cover though, it is as appalling now is it was then.

Gillan may have seemed a strange choice. Although he and the band were already friends, the well trod story of Ian and Tony getting drunk and only realising the decision the day after is more romantic than true; Sabbath had just lost Dio, and Gillan the band had just been dissolved because of financial trouble rather than the singerís throat problems, this marriage suited both parties.

Anyway, appalling sleeve aside, the album opens with the classic 'Trashed', which typifies the album sound well. Itís heavy, but the leaden riffs coming more from the bass, with Iommi actually heading into solo and upbeat riff territory more than usual. Gillanís vocals, mixing screams aplenty, are equally brilliant.

With Bill Ward back in the drum stool, he and bassist Geezer Butler kick up a storm;

'Disturbing The Priest' is another epic, written at the time of recording when the band did actually disturb a local churchís choir practice. Iíve always loved the doom laden 'Zero The Hero' and the blistering guitar on 'Trashed' and 'Digital Bitch'.

A grossly underrated album, even if the tour did inspire Spinal Tap, including the Stonehenge stage show (in Sabbathís case, meters rather than feet and they couldnít take them anywhere).

The second disc features 2 album extras and the much bootlegged Reading Festival performance. Classic stuff - until Sabbath perform Smoke On The Water. Iíll let you make your mind up on that yourselves.

Well packaged and annotated, good stuff.

****½

Review by Joe Geesin

www.joegeesin.com


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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