Oh wow, sorry for the slow times around here. Work and being sick and blah blah blah… Black Sabbath!
There’s been a lot of talk and pontification going on about Sabbath recently as the band has called it quits (again) and played their last show last week or the week before. There’s been a lot of discussion about their influence, members, drama, etc. and a lot of ranking of their best albums and one that keeps popping up is the non-Ozzy, non-Dio album, Born Again.
Now I’m not much of a Sabbath fan. The only Ozzy album I like is the first self-titled album because that album sounds so fucking evil and they’ve never recaptured that darkness again. I gravitate much more to the Dio era albums which I think are fucking superb beyond belief. Even the Dehumanizer album and technically the Heaven and Hell album. That’s when they reached that righteous epic territory and Dio’s vocals are so fucking on point on those albums, particularly those first two.
After Dio departed for the first time the following album Born Again saw Ian Gillan of Deep Purple fame step in to do vocals. Now I’m not very familiar with Deep Purple aside from what, Smoke on the fucking Water, and this doesn’t sound anything like that to me. Initially this sounds like a continuation of the Dio era style but with Ian’s more straight forward rock vocals. But the more it played out it become more of a straight ahead harder edged rock n’ roll album. Like if you stripped all of the grandeur out of the Dio albums and focussed entirely on the rock parts. Ian’s voice is excellent and fits this balls to the wall rocking out sort of album that is going on here. There’s some more experimental, or overly dramatic pieces. I’m think of “Disturbing the Priest” here or the title track, but songs like “Trashed” or “Zero the Hero” are just fucking awesome ragers.
Ian Gillan only appeared on this album and then Sabbath was off to their “dark” years as history would have you believe. I don’t even know much about that time and wouldn’t even know how to talk about it so my Sabbath knowledge ends here and that’s fine with me because this album is truly an under-appreciated entry in their vast career. It’s no Dio but to me it might be the second best singer they’ve had. What?