Released: 2011, Sanctuary/Universal UK
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Continuing the run of excellent, expanded, deluxe editions is the remastered 2-CD reissue of Black Sabbath’s 1983 classic, BORN AGAIN. While the album itself tends to divide Sabbath fans into either “love it” or “hate it” camps, there’s no denying that this is edition of BORN AGAIN is a worthy addition to the collection of any self-respecting Sabbath fan. I’m going to forgo a review of the album’s original 9 tracks, since I’m going to assume if you’re reading this, you’re already familiar with it. If by some stretch of the imagination you’re not, go buy the album and you’re welcome. Nor am I going to debate the merits of the album within the Sabbath lexicon, because again, like most of the post-Ozzy/Dio material, either you love it or you don’t. Rather, let’s talk about why this edition of the album is worthy of your hard earned coin.
1) It sounds phenomenal. The audio has been touched up just enough to give the songs some much needed “oomph,” but it makes a tremendous difference. The overall sound of the album is brighter and crisper, and the mix sounds cleaner than I’ve ever known it. The guitars are fuller, the effects sound wider, and Ian Gillan is louder (fine by me).
2) A monster second disc of bonus tracks. There are two studio extras here, the previously unreleased “The Fallen” and an extended version of “Stonehenge.” Both of these have been available on various bootlegs for years, but bootlegs tend to sound like bootlegs, which they do not here. Disc 2 is rounded out by 9 live tracks from the ’83 Reading Festival. Going back to the subject of bootlegs for a second, there’s no shortage of Gillan-era live bootlegs on the market, but the sound quality of the 9 tracks here puts anything you’ve heard previously to shame. Though it’s not the complete Reading concert, the included tracks showcases a good blend of the BORN AGAIN material performed live, as well as a few Sabbath standards (I would’ve loved to have had the title track included here though).
What else needs to be said? BORN AGAIN is a misunderstood gem of an album, and a monument to one of Sabbath’s brightest and shortest lived eras. Did you know that when it was released, BORN AGAIN was Sabbath’s highest charting album in the UK since SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH? Find out why when you pick up your copy of this 2-CD expanded deluxe edition, which just so happens to be available now.