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.
Watch the video for “Trashed” here, below.
Gillan wrote the lyrics to the song after returning from a pub one evening and crashing a car while racing around a go cart track on the grounds of the manor where the album was being recorded. The car burned up and Gillan narrowly escaped but memorialized the event in what has become one of Sabbath’s most iconic songs from the 80’s. The Born Again lineup would splinter after the tour concluded but the album stands up as a very solid offering to this day.
When I was growing up in rural Indiana in the early ’80s, there was very limited access to heavy music. These were the days before MTV blew up with the whole hair metal, Headbangers Ball phenomenon. But on Sunday nights, there was a two-hour radio show that came from WOXY, the radio station of Miami University of Ohio, just across the state line in Oxford, Ohio. It was called Massive Metal for the Masses and I would wait all week for it to air. It was through this show that I was introduced to bands like Venom, Bathory, WASP, Michael Schenker Group, Slayer, and countless others. This Monday weekly column is my tip of the hat to that show. I call it Massive Metal Monday. Every week, I will pay tribute to defining moments by the artists that laid the groundwork for heavy metal to become the worldwide cultural bond for all of us metal heads.