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There comes a time when you find yourself in a situation where no matter what you do someone is going to be complaining loudly about the choice you make, so why not just do the most outlandish thing possible and turn a few heads in the process. That’s not only how “Born Again” and the resulting alter ego of Black Sabbath dubbed “Deep Sabbath” can be summed up, but particularly how this riot of a song can be summed up. Putting Ian Gillian at the helm was sure to turn a few heads given that Sabbath and Deep Purple were in a rivalry during the early 70s and that the latter had little if anything to do with the former image wise or musically.
“Trashed” is definitely an odd cookie, even when accounting for all the various evolutionary jumps that Iommi took later on under the Sabbath name. It essentially merges the heavy down tuned guitar tone heard on “Master Of Reality” with the up tempo and happy feel of “Turn Up The Night”, and throws in good old Gillian with his vocal gymnastics and almost completely out of place lyrics about drinking oneself into an utter state of stupor. But the highly original outcome that occurs has a charm all its own, and is definitely a grower once time is given for the shock at Gillian and Sabbath on the same album together wears off.
The b-side to this very unusual endeavor “Zero The Hero” gets even stranger still, as the style of song has shifted completely away from anything remotely similar to Deep Purple, and Gillian is taking on a somewhat more serious role as lyricist. The main riff that drives the verses of this song was borrowed by Guns N’ Roses for their hit song “Paradise City” and given a very different spin. For those familiar with said song, down tune that riff, give it the most evil distortion you can muster without going completely into sludge territory, and put some creepy dissonant drones with a heavily reverb powered clean guitar track and you’ll begin to get the idea of where this song is coming from. It’s basically the heaviest song ever put out by the band after Ozzy left, and the second creepiest behind “Disturbing The Priest”.
The final truth and ultimate charm about the combination that is humorously dubbed Deep Sabbath and their lone studio offering “Born Again” is that it has absolutely no accounting for nuance of subtlety. It’s an album that takes every aspect of Sabbath to its ultimate extreme musically, and contains songs that rival such Ozzy era classics as “Black Sabbath”, “Symptom Of The Universe”, “Children Of The Grave” and all of the other dark and heavy efforts that scared the pants off of everyone in the 70s. Given that the envelope was being pushed further in the 80s by bands such as Venom, the fact that there were songs on this that still could creep people out says something about this band, with or without Ozzy.