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Black Sabbath - Technical Ecstasy CD (album) cover


Black Sabbath


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2.78 | 370 ratings

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3 stars Along with Black Sabbath`s subsequent album, 1978s Never Say Die, Technical Ecstasy has come under scrutiny for various reasons mostly because it had little in common with their previous work, veering in a more rock n`roll direction and failing to live up to their reputation as the masters of doom & gloom. Other illusions critics created were that internal band problems with drugs, management and legal issues were doing the band in. But all these were unfair assumptions and anyone who wrote off the album certainly didn`t listen to it with a careful ear. The cover itself from Hipgnosis depicting two sexy robots getting it on certainly must have given audiences some indication that this one was going to be a little different.

The album does have two or three weak tracks which contribute to the negative reactions, namely two ballads, one of which featured the vocals of drummer Bill Ward. Well, if the drummer is starting to sing then all must not be right and the band must be losing it. In fact, Ward`s track, It`s Alright, was a collective band effort and was supported by vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. Even if it does sound like some campy KISS ballad at times, this is really as far as the cheesines goes as far as the record as a whole is concerned. And it`s not even all that cheesed out featuring some melodic acoustic guitar from Tony Iommi which always went down well on any Sabbath track. The rest of the album sounds like anything but a band going down the toilet, but rather a band going for another angle.

Omnipresent keyboard textures with the addition of a full time keyboard player ( Gerald Woodruffe ) definitely gave the band a new dimension here and is used to great effect, particularily on on Rock N`Roll Doctor where the piano adds to the song`s traditional rock n`roll feel contrasting with Iommi`s heavy guitar riffing. If the plodding All Moving Parts(Stand Still) which seems to be about corrupt, cross dressing, alcoholic politicians who are into sado masochism appeared on any earlier Sabbath album it would have been recieved with accolades just the same way the Hole In The Sky or War Pigs were. The lyrics remind one of subject material Alice Cooper would prefer but it still has dark conotations of earlier Sabbath compositions. At the same time Back Street Kids sounds like an attempt at creating some sort of anthem for kids to identify with much the same way they did with songs from the first two Black Sabbath albums, and if listened to carefully one will discover where Heart might have got the main riff for their hit Barracuda off their 1977 Little Queen album. The catchiest track on the album, Gypsy, continues on with traditional Sabbath doom & gloom doctrine with references to a bleak future and features some real headbanging riffing from Iommi and some nice orchestrations and has to be one of the most overlooked Sabbath songs ever. Dirty Women sums up the sentiments within the band using the metaphor of ladies of the night to reflect their need for unconditional escapes from the demands and rigours of their chosen proffession as Rock n`Roll stars. It contains all the heaviness Sabbath was all about and it must have meant something at least to the band themselves as they played long versions of it throughout their reunion tour in `99.

By far not Black Sabbath at the top of their game but Technical Ecstasy must be approached cautiously, bearing in mind that this was a band at a stage where fame and fortune and changing trends were having effects on them as they would on any band. Some artists and bands never even made it to the stage the Sabs did in 1976 considering the adversities and evils of the music business was dishing out at the time. Technical Ecstasy, without a doubt contains some very memorable Sabbath material and the imperfections which occur can be easily overlooked when one takes a closer look at this classic from the Sabs which also features two of the sexiest robots that ever graced the cover of a rock album.

Vibrationbaby | 3/5 |


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