Black Sabbath - Technical Ecstasy review
01. Back Street Kids
02. You Won't Change Me
03. It's Alright
05. All Moving Parts (Stand Still)
06. Rock 'n' Roll Doctor
07. She's Gone
08. Dirty Women
Technical Ecstasy is a decent album wedged in between a good album (Sabotage) and a rather unfortunate one (Never Say Die). At its best moments it mirrors the former; at its worst the latter. You can almost pinpoint precisely when the Ozzy lineup ran out of steam, it's right around "All Moving Parts (Stand Still)".
One of the main problems with Technical Ecstasy is that it continues an unwelcome trend in Black Sabbath's musical progression; it seems that from Paranoid forward to Never Say Die, Sabbath was becoming less and less heavy. This was fine when they were writing songs like "Snowblind," "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath," and "Hole In The Sky," but when their output became "Back Street Kids" and "You Won't Change Me," a little bit of that classic, thunderous, murder-blues sound was the only thing that could have made Technical Ecstasy an overall enjoyable album. The aforementioned songs are fairly good, and are not all that dissimilar to the weaker material from Sabotage, but they do suffer from sounding basically like an incredibly standard, Ozzy-fronted rock and roll band.
Perhaps it is not fair that Technical Ecstasy is so easily dismissed, shunted to the back of Black Sabbath's catalogue alongside Never Say Die. After all, minus a couple of lame tracks, it is a solid album. "She's Gone" and "Gypsy," I would even venture to say, are excellent songs. However, there is nothing here that really deserves a spot on a "Black Sabbath's Greatest Hits" sort of thing. We have the first six albums, all of which are much better without the need for mulling over and rationalizing. Besides, there is a distinct lack of Black Sabbath on this album. That could be anyone playing guitar, bass, and drums behind Ozzy; Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward do not sound anywhere near as magical or inspired as they once did.
The sound of this album irks me to the point that I usually find myself unwilling to brave it just for the sake of a couple of songs that, at best, stand out amongst the second half of Black Sabbath's Ozzy-era discography. For a similar style but with better results, just go listen to Sabotage. If you really hate your ears, go for Never Say Die. Unless you absolutely must satisfy your curiosity, you can safely leave Technical Ecstasy where it is and just bring it up at parties every now and then.
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