9 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

As the lone Black Sabbath album to feature Ian Gillan in the role of vocalist, Born Again is an oddity within the band’s career, and because of that it's been unfairly overlooked. In fact, it's one of Sabbath’s most vicious and evil-sounding albums, and Gillan is perhaps the only Englishman who could match the infernal majesty of Ronnie James Dio. The album is particularly powerful from a rhythmic standpoint. The slashing drums sound extra-coarse, and Geezer Butler’s high-throttle bass is turned way up in the mix (a production choice that Gillan and Tony Iommi later disparaged, stating “Geezer went a bit wally”). While these production elements might have sounded erroneous on another Sabbath album, here they contribute to the overall themes of claustrophobia, fury, and sin. Songs like “Trashed” and “Born Again” would have as much influence on goth and underground punk bands like Black Flag as they would metal groups. Guns N' Roses, meanwhile, based the verse of “Paradise City” on the riff from “Zero the Hero,” the eternal churn that is this album’s centerpiece.

EDITORS’ NOTES

As the lone Black Sabbath album to feature Ian Gillan in the role of vocalist, Born Again is an oddity within the band’s career, and because of that it's been unfairly overlooked. In fact, it's one of Sabbath’s most vicious and evil-sounding albums, and Gillan is perhaps the only Englishman who could match the infernal majesty of Ronnie James Dio. The album is particularly powerful from a rhythmic standpoint. The slashing drums sound extra-coarse, and Geezer Butler’s high-throttle bass is turned way up in the mix (a production choice that Gillan and Tony Iommi later disparaged, stating “Geezer went a bit wally”). While these production elements might have sounded erroneous on another Sabbath album, here they contribute to the overall themes of claustrophobia, fury, and sin. Songs like “Trashed” and “Born Again” would have as much influence on goth and underground punk bands like Black Flag as they would metal groups. Guns N' Roses, meanwhile, based the verse of “Paradise City” on the riff from “Zero the Hero,” the eternal churn that is this album’s centerpiece.

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