Born Again is Black Sabbath‘s highly underrated album from 1983. Having suffered the loss of their second singer and drummer in five years when Ronnie James Dio and Vinnie Appice left to form Dio, many folks had written Black Sabbath off as a going concern. But guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler roared back with a new “supergroup” lineup and a killer lineup of new tunes. Legendary Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan came aboard as front man and newly sober Sabbath founding drummer Bill Ward was back behind the kit. By the time the album was released, Ward was drinking again and unable to tour while he sought treatment. Legendary drummer Bev Bevan, who had been in both The Move and Electric Light Orchestra filled in for the tour.
The album proved to be very polarizing among critics and fans alike and its album cover is widely considered to be one of the very worst in the history of metal, but the music contained therein possesses an immediacy uncommon to Sabbath and lyrical content very atypical of the band. It is a very unique album in the band’s pantheon and a cult classic among metal fans. The album’s one and only single “Trashed” helped push the album into the charts on both sides of the Atlantic and the video for the song provides a brief glimpse into this short-lived but storied period in the Black Sabbath’s history.
Deep Purple‘s red hot sonic piece of meteorite, the rock your socks off live album, Made In Japan, is now available on MP3 format from Amazon this month for only $5.
Originally available for purchase way back in 1973, this album crystallizes and encapsulates all the hard rocking fervor that is the British group Deep Purple. The band has gone (and continues to go) through many personnel changes throughout its 45-year-plus career. But on this live album, recorded during their Machine Head tour – which arguably stands as their most well known and successful record – with the lineup of guitar tunesmith Richie Blackmore, the neo-classical and fast-fingered posturing of the late Jon Lord on keyboards, the rhythm section cannonball through your chest of Roger Glover on bass and Ian Paice on drums, and of course the wailing, notes sometimes sung so high only a cocker spaniel can hear it warbling of lead singer Ian Gillan, the band is like a rocket ship out of control. Amped up versions of well known Purple tracks “Highway Star,” “Child in Time,” the smoldering electric bluesy “Lazy,” the pounding riff into the earth “Space Truckin’,” and of course the seminal played on radio and by cover bands coast to coast incessantly “Smoke on the Water” get the live treatment. Most of these songs are elongated and spontaneously performed, much unlike their studio versions, and the result ultimately whips the crowd up into a frenzy. This deluxe edition also includes some songs that were not on the original release, “Black Night” (which for my money, is the best track on the record) and the macho, pumped-up balls-out rocker, “Speed King.” Made In Japan is money well spent for a collection such as this, for a live record that showcases a band at their absolute peak and power and yet still remains criminally, headshakingly underrated, in the world of hard rock and roll.
Coming this May to the UK will be a new 2-CD Deluxe Edition of Black Sabbath‘s 1983 album Born Again, the only album they recorded with Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan. The upcoming release, which will be a remastered expanded edition, will contain the original album, along with a second disc containing 2 bonus tracks, including “The Fallen,” a previously unreleased studio outtake recorded during the original album session. The album will also have 9 tracks from the BBC Friday Rock Show broadcast of Sabbath’s August 1983 appearance at the Reading Rock Festival where they performed Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water.” See full track listing here below.
Unfortunately, the 2-DC Deluxe Edition will only be released in the UK, not in the United States (the original album has never been released on CD in the U.S., though it is available on mp3). The release is set for May 30, 2011 and is available now for pre-order for Â£13.42 through Amazon UK. For those of us in the States, we can get an import copy through Amazon.com for the hefty price of $39.89.