Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Black Sabbath

Prog Related

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Black Sabbath Technical Ecstasy album cover
2.80 | 466 ratings | 27 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Back Street Kids (3:46)
2. You Won't Change Me (6:34)
3. It's Alright (3:58)
4. Gypsy (5:10)
5. All Moving Parts (Stand Still) (4:59)
6. Rock 'N' Roll Doctor (3:25)
7. She's Gone (4:51)
8. Dirty Women (7:15)

Total Time 39:58

Line-up / Musicians

- Ozzy Osbourne / vocals
- Tony Iommi / guitars
- Geezer Butler / bass
- Bill Ward / drums, lead vocals (3)

- Gerald "Jezz" Woodroffe / keyboards, arrangements
- Mike Lewis / strings arranger & conductor (7)

Releases information

Artwork: Richard Manning with George Hardie @ Hipgnosis (design)

LP Vertigo ‎- 9102 750 (1976, UK)
LP Warner Bros. - BS-2969 (1976, US)

CD Vertigo ‎- 9102 750 BE (1982, UK)
CD Essential ‎- ESM CD 328 (1996, UK) Remastered by Ray Staff
CD Sanctuary Records ‎- 2716550 (2009, Europe) Remastered by Andy Pearce

Thanks to Terra Australis for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy BLACK SABBATH Technical Ecstasy Music

BLACK SABBATH Technical Ecstasy ratings distribution

(466 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(24%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (22%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

BLACK SABBATH Technical Ecstasy reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars If you are a bit familiar with "Sabbath" 's catalogue (which is not obvious on a prog site), you know that the band usually places one of the best song of an album as an opening track. The least we can hope is that it is not the case with "Technical Ecstasy". Because otherwise, the worst can be expected.

Fortunately, after the poor "Back Street Kids", the band will deliver a brilliant number : "You Won't Change Me". Accordingly because there is nothing to change to this song. Great melody, superb guitar solo and a very powerful and great keyboard work. The highlight here (but we won't get tons like this...). And to listen to another bad song won't take long. The third track, "It's Alright" is just a bad joke. A syrupous ballad, at times rocky but best avoided, believe me. It is hard to believe that this is a "Sabbath" song. Press next.

And next is "Gypsy". More complex than most of "Sabbath" songs. Maybe more accessible for a "normal" human being (which I am not since it is my forteenth commented "Sabbath" review in twenty-four hours or so). It is one of my fave on this album. It is lighter, more dynamic and at the end of the day a good rock piece of music.

The problem of this album resides in the song writting. Average to poor for most of it. IMHHO, this was already noticeable on their previous album but this one was saved by a few great songs. But the miracle won't happened this time. On the contrary, a song like "She's Gone" and its heavy...orchestrations is just a nighmare. Dreadful. I just would have wished that "Sabbath" wouldn' t have recorded such a miserable song. Close to the poorest "BJH" ones (yes, "Barclay James Harvest").

In this torrent of very average songs, the closing number stands out as a highlight. A fabulous guitar break will bring back the listener to life. It is not the first time that Iommi comes at the rescue to save an album. I have already mentioned that he is the glue within "Sabbath" . But he couldn't avoid this album to be one of the poorest of the band. Two stars.

Review by russellk
2 stars Perhaps the biggest disappointment of my musical life, 'Technical Ecstasy' belies its name by eliminating much of the studio wizardry and progressive sophistication in favour of rock 'n' roll.

Fine. Had they gone back and mined the heavy metal motherlode, I would have accepted it. But they chose instead to pursue a lightweight KISS-style pseudo glam rock, their single biggest career mistake. As a result this album is in parts actively unpleasant to listen to. I abandoned SABBATH fandom as a result of this album, as did many others - including OZZY, who left after this album, then returned and stuck it out for one more album after this (the equally lightweight 'Never Say Die') before carting himself off to carve out his own dynasty.

'Back Street Kids', 'It's Alright', 'Rock 'n' Roll Doctor' and 'She's Gone' are simply ill-advised mistakes, poorly written and executed. Cringe-worthy, in fact. Bill, stick to your kit. So that's half the tracks. The other four tracks merit the occasional listen. The songwriting is so poor there's not a single moment here worthy of the BLACK SABBATH canon. Even IOMMI's guitar tone whined and irritated rather than intimidated. The whooshing sound the band members could hear was the sound of other metal bands blowing past them. This album saw the kings of heavy metal abdicate their throne.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Technical Ecstasy" remarked Black Sabbath major shift in music direction. The album adopted some of Iommi's innovations, was another good - but not great - seller, and Osbourne's frustration eventually led to his quitting the band in November 1977. Well, as you might have expected when the struggle started, the band members worked hand in hand to find solution. But when the band reached commercial success and widely known by public, usually tense started to occur. It's typical in any development of a band, isn't it? This album represented the demise of one of pioneers of heavy metal music. Not that the music is bad, but it's more on how the soul of Black Sabbath had "lost" a bit. You will find the opening track "Back Street Kids" (3:46) lacks typical riffs that Iommi usually delivered in previous albums, even though this opening track is not bad at all, actually. The next song "You Won't Change Me" (6:34) tries to present the soul of power chords but with more modern sounds. It works fine for me but not for most of Black Sabbath's fans. The composition had become simpler. Fortunately, Ozzy's voice was still quite unique and made it as Black Sabbath's sound. "It's Alright" (3:58) is definitely NOT the kind of music you would expect Black Sabbath to perform, it's too poppy.

Let met tell you, despite a lot of lackings this album has, one song had become very popular and major hit in my country, i.e. "She's Gone". The music and lyrics are very simple, but most pop listeners in my country love the melody this song has and also how Iommi played his acoustic guitar backed with nice string section.

This is not a good album to start with Black Sabbath.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is where Black Sabbath lost the magic in most respects. That vintage quality sound they consistently put out was virtually non existent on Technical Ectasy. Great concept for an album title and an OK cover did better than the music itself. The songwriting let's everyone down here with none of the epic standout tracks even from the excellent predecessor Sabotage. Could a band shift so dramatically from one album to the next? Black Sabbath certainly did. No major great tunes here other than ' You won't change Me' and ' Gypsy'. Ozzy was on his way soon too which in many ways had to happen as I believe his creative input to the band had ceased after Sabotage. True BS fans have this album or will get it otherwise go for their earlier material.
Review by Sinusoid
2 stars Black Sabbath are typically known as a heavy, doomy, scary rock/metal band. Iommi's guitar alone has the power to send shivers down your spine. Compound that will Bill Ward's booming, factory-like drums, Geezer's wicked bass and Ozzy's haunting vocals and you've got a winning recipe for one of metal's most innovative groups.

Now, imagine a Black Sabbath that still has Osbourne, Iommi, Bulter and Ward playing, yet without all of the descriptive words in the previous paragraph. What if instead of scary, doomy, or angry songs we get some cheerful songs, some melancholy songs and some basic RnR songs? What if the heavy guitar riffs were to make way for a smattering of keyboards and dated orchestrations? What if someone sang lead vocals other than Ozzy? TECHNICAL ECSTASY is the answer to all of those questions, and I cringe at the answer.

Truth be told, I really wanted to pick this album up after hearing that this was a more light-hearted Sabbath. Honestly, I liked it for quite some time, but around the time that I discovered progressive rock was when I realised how cheesy the album sounds. Right off the bat, ''Back Street Kids'' sounds like a very lame attempt at a Black Sabbath song; a wimpy riff compared to earlier material and syrupy lyrics about the ''rock and roll'' lifestyle.

Much of the rest of the album doesn't work for me as well. I'm not a big fan of ballad type material, so I toss songs like ''You Won't Change Me'' and ''She's Gone'' off to the side. Bill Ward gives a nice vocal performance on ''It's Alright'', but it's the only positive I have for that song. Every other song fits into the ''Back Street Kids'' type mould with mixed results. ''Gypsy'' and especially ''Dirty Women'' are the two tracks I consider the best the album has to offer, but neither would have fit well on an earlier album, say SABOTAGE.

If you want a good, powerful Black Sabbath album, I would steer you towards PARANOID, SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH or SABOTAGE. If you want a subpar Sabbath album with none of the great Sabbath perks, then TECHNICAL ECSTASY is for you.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars It's alright!

This is undoubtedly Black Sabbath's least good effort of the 70's and it is certainly a disappointment after the exceptionally strong series of albums that came before it. However, there is some good material here. We must recognize from the start that the musical climate was changing and Black Sabbath was not immune to these changes. Technical Ecstasy is certainly not that heavy an album and the band had really come a long way since their dark and doomy debut released six years earlier. This is more Rock 'N' Roll than Metal. But Black Sabbath were still very much a band in constant progression and still very much interested in trying out new musical ideas.

Technical Ecstasy is more diverse than previous albums and also a little uneven. We find here some good songs as well as some not so good songs. It starts out with Backstreet Kid, a short song with a good riff (but with horrible lyrics!). Also, Rock 'N' Roll Doctor features very bad lyrics and this song is among Black Sabbath's worst ever! Bill Ward sings on one of the albums tracks; It's Alright. This song is a bit out of place on the album and it is at best what its title imply - alright! But no more than that!

There are some nice tunes here too, though, and fans of the band will appreciate at least some of the material here. You Won't Change Me, Gypsy and Dirty Woman are all good songs. Not exceptional, but still good and you can sense that these songs are better produced than some early Black Sabbath albums. There are more keyboards on this album than on the earlier ones and this brings some depth and excitement to the mix. She's Gone is a beautiful, quite symphonic, ballad featuring strings and a great vocal performance from Ozzy.

Overall, this album is very far behind the masterpieces that was Sabotage and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. But as a major fan of the band, I can still appreciate this album.

Good, but non-essential

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Sabbath in decline

While this album from 1976 named Technical ecstasy is far from being realy bad, at least from my side, Sabbath turn the page and adopted almost a compercial sound, it never was the case with previous one Sabotage, among the best Sabbath albums ever. Here the doomy atmosphere of previouses albums is almost gone leaving please to a more direct aproach of hard/heavy music, even the keys and some piano elements are more in front, maybe the most progressive work of them, but not the best i might say. The ideas on this album are not bad, Ozzy's voice is again good, but not excellent, the rest of musicians plays corectly but without any enthusiasm. Anyway some great piece are: Back Street Kids, You Won't Change Me, It's Alright,All Moving Parts (Stand Still), but the decline was nearly at the door, not because the music was realy awful, but due to members disagreement in what way should they go on next album. That hole or maybe better said that diffrents of opinions between them shows on their next album a realy disappointing effort in their career. So Technical ecstacy is a good album to me, not their best, not their worst, still pleasent to listen from time to time, 3 stars for sure.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Technical Ecstasy is the seventh full-length studio album from UK heavy metal act Black Sabbath. For many people this is where it all began to go wrong for the band and by many fans of Black Sabbath this is considered a very disappointing album. Sabotage (1975), which is the predecessor to Technical Ecstasy, did show that the band wanted to explore other territories than their patented dark and doomy heavy metal style, but it was still a very succesful album that holds some of Black Sabbath´s greatest and most heavy songs. Technical Ecstasy were in terms of sales almost as succesful as Sabotage (1975). The album peaked at number 13 on the UK charts and at number 51 on the US charts (Sabotage peaked at number 7 on the UK charts and number 28 on the US chart). In terms of artistic success Technical Ecstasy is a questionable album. Ozzy Osbourne was in fact so dissatisfied with the final result that he left the band in November 1977 ( The other main reason being the growing ego clashes between Ozzy and Tony Iommi). He would return for a last album with the band though (Never Say Die! (1978).

The music is still in heavy metal/ rock style but not as doomy or heavy as on their previous albums. Songs like Back Street Kids, You Won´t Change Me, Gypsy, All Moving Parts (Stand Still), Rock 'N' Roll Doctor and Dirty Women are all heavy metal/ rock songs of pretty high standard but without reaching the hights of previous efforts. In addition to the six heavy metal/ rock tracks there are also two ballads on the album in It's Alright and She's Gone. The former sung by drummer Bill Ward. The latter features orchestration. There´s an extensive use of piano and keyboards on the album compared to the instrumentation on previous albums.

The musicinanship is good and the production is professional and well crafted.

Something is lacking on the album IMO and I agree with the majority of the fanbase that this was the beginning of the end for Black Sabbath. The most annoying thing on the album for me is the piano which is used in some of the songs. That piano takes out all the trademark heaviness which is what I mostly enjoy about Black Sabbath´s music. If this had resulted in the band exploring progressive territories or experimenting with song structures I would have been able to forgive this new feature in the music. This is not the case though and all songs are simple in structure and the keyboard and piano parts are rather trivial to my ears. I wouldn´t call Technical Ecstasy a bad album or a below average album by any means and I will rate it 3 stars. It´s just not an album I listen to very often.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars The first thing that strikes me when hearing this album is how deteriorated Ozzy Osbourne sounds. His vocal capacities were always limited but the collapse from his morbid mastery to a powerless squeal, that had started around Vol4 and SBS, has come to a sad end here. On It's Allright they even put the vocal non-talent of Bill Ward behind the microphone

But the blame is not on Ozzy alone. All that we hear from Iommi is the sound of a man that is hopelessly in search for his secret stash of magic metal riffs that had gone missing after last night's bad cocaine trip. Some songs like You Won't Change Me contain one or two half-good melodies but by lack of better ideas Sabbath resorts to clumsy key modulations. You got to do something in order to get a 40 minute album together. Also Dirty Woman has some potential, but not much, though Ozzy's vocal marks a short improvement here. An uninspired break squeezes all potential out of this 7 minute song that has material for 3 minutes.

I have no idea what made me decide to buy this album 15 years ago. Everybody knew it was horrible. Maybe I got it for free with a can of Pringles, I don't know. Avoid.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This Black Sabbath album is total disaster. Just trying to find something what is good on this album, I found just Ozzy's voice. Not because he sings strongly there, but just it is only thing which could have some value. OK, and endless solo guitar constructions, virtuosic, but totally out of place.

All other material in that album is lower than good Black Sabbath Tribute band level. Songs are totally faceless, music is simplistic straightforward rock, even not heavy enough to fill album's emptiness of musical ideas.

It looks that album was released just because some material should be released. No- one other band's album decrease so low!

Yes, it is still Black Sabbath in it's classic line-up. So for heavy fans it still has some value. For all others - away at any circumstances!

Review by Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Let's talk about "It's Alright".

An important cornerstone of the band's existence, it clearly marks the point where Black Sabbath's members were so completely immersed in cocaine, booze and anything else they could get their hands on, they actually thought that they were in Ambrosia. With Bill Ward finding himself in front of the mike ready to pour his heart out to a passed out groupie (or a passed out Ozzy whom Bill mistook for a groupie), the band gives it their all, channeling ELO's Strange Magic to give them the magic to show the world they were ready for soft rock glory. The band name would have to go sounded a bit frightening next to The Little River Band or Pilot. Maybe they should have changed their name to Black Sabre...friendlier, but with a slight edge. At least they had the album cover and title right, who in their right mind would even think this album was filled with doom and gloom?

To be honest, there is a bit of doom & gloom left in the band here, particularly "You Won't Change Me", which has some haunted castle organ playing and a good 'Sabbathy" aura, it's a pretty heavy track. But that's after "Back Street Kids", which displays the band in 'ruff & tuff' mode while trying and failing to sound rough and tough. "Dirty Women" is another good track, rather seedy and creepy actually with a stoned and confused Ozzy yearning to do nasty things to hookers. Then there's "Rock 'N' Roll Doctor". It's all about that 'N'. This band aint just playing 'round no mo...they givin' us the ROCK N ROLL BABY! In keeping to their sworn accordance to the Hippopotamus Oath, they are giving us the prescription to rock N roll, injecting us with the fuel to keep the rock N rollin' spirit alive. There's a barroom piano in the song too...drug inspired creativity.

"She's Gone" is like the demented twin of Volume 4's "Changes". Ozzy was never much of a crooner, nor a particularly great singer in general, but his sinister delivery works for the heavier doomy tracks. Not so much the ballads and straight rockers though. The song is pretty funny actually.

What makes the album fascinating is it's like an aural depiction of a successful band spiraling out of control like almost no other before. No one had any idea what they were doing in the studio, how they should sound, what the hell they were playing or who they even were. It's actually enjoyable in that sense. Is it good? Not really. In fact it's fairly awful at times. I find myself enjoy this mess looking at the aftermath footage of a tornado strike.

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars In my opinion Black Sabbath has many Prog elements here and there. But they don't belong to Progarchives, like many other bands that are in fact here. Anyway.

Technical Ecstasy (1976) is the Black Sabbath's 7th album and we can see how things were going bad at the time. 2 years later Never Say Die! (1978) was released and it was the last album with the original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne.

In fact, is sad to hear Technical Ecstasy (1976). It's an album with no inspiration, no care in anything and without a proper and good production. But not just that, it's an album that has no good songs, that is the most important thing in an album.

Here, it's just forgettable material all along, I cannot even mention a best track.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Technical Ecstasy' - Black Sabbath (5/10)

Wow. In spite of the poor acclaim and ambivalence I have seen aimed towards "Technical Ecstasy" and her equally unappealing sister "Never Say Die!", I was still a little shocked to hear the great Black Sabbath default on such mediocrity. Although I may have preferred "Paranoid" and "Sabotage" over the rest, there was no denying that the first six albums of this band were something to behold; it was if the band could do no wrong. As would be the case with a little band called Metallica almost three decades later with "St. Anger", the arguments and duress would lead to a decidedly sub-effort from the band. Sabbath have not completely festered here, but considering how great they were before this, there's no way to feel satisfied with this.

It's not often that fans are so united in their disappointment for a band and album. It seems like everyone plus their mothers, mailmen, and neighbourhood general practitioners can agree that "Technical Ecstasy" was a slip-up. In short, the band's style is once again robbed of its metal crunch. Unlike "Volume Four" however- which traded heaviness in exchange for sophistication- "Technical Ecstasy" comes up without any benefit, as were it an old lady whose handbag was stolen by a street vagabond. Sabbath's musical tightness pulls the album through, but at the end of the day, hearing the almighty Black Sabbath resort to generally bland rock music is a tough experience.

All disappoints aside, "Technical Ecstasy" is not necessarily a 'bad' album. In fact, it appears to be a victim of circumstance. Perhaps if listeners had not become used to Sabbath churning out record after record of inspired excellence, this album would not be looked down upon. Regardless, through the sea of mediocrity defined by songs like "Backstreet Kids" and "Rock N Roll Doctor", there are a handful of songs that distinguish themselves, for better or worse. "You Won't Change Me" is a great seven minute track with some great blues soloing from Iommi, and a piano progression reminiscent of The Beatles' "Abbey Road". "She's Gone" is nothing compared to some of the band's earlier ballads, but Ozzy Osbourne's passionate vocal performance and a lush string arrangement makes it stand out from the monotony.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have "It's Alright", sung by drummer Bill Ward. Frankly, it really isn't 'alright', in fact, it's arguably the worst track Sabbath had ever done up to this point. Disregarding Ward's tonedeaf voice, the ballad is saccharine enough to put a child off sugar for life. Considering that this is the band that once rocked our balls off with some of the most influential heavy metal ever made, it's a long ways to fall.

For the most part, "Technical Ecstasy" is fairly harmless. Besides "It's Alright", it's even listenable. The songwriting runs flat, but Black Sabbath retain enough of their progressive elements to give the listener a surprise, if only occasionally. Taken out of context, "Technical Ecstasy" is a run-of-the-mill, albeit inconsistent hard rock album. For those- like me- who are infatuated with the band's six album winning streak, it may be a good idea to save hurt feelings and skip right to "Heaven And Hell".

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars After a couple of impressive albums, with TE, Sabbath hit a lower mark (and no just according to me) and would enter a rather negative slide that would last most of the second half of the 70's. Heavy drugs used by Ozzy and Ward were lessening their health and provoked erratic behaviours on stage and it affected truly the studio album's quality as well. And it sounds like it. Of course, all bands that come up with a few brilliant albums in their early career are bound to come up with lesser works in their next few albums, as their original and innovating ideas reserves dwindles, their inspiration wane or even completely fade as albums continue to pop up. A notable change is the non-black album sleeve, with that strange and slightly sexual escalator Hipgnosis artwork.

Not everything is that dark, though as Iommi (and to a lesser extent Butler) tries to hold the ship afloat with his still-excellent guitar work, and the continued presence of keyboards does provide some (sometimes surprising) variety, like the calmer It's Allright, but it does not automatically mean that it's all that good either. There are even a couple of tracks that are worth the detour (but not the price of admission), such as the almost-brilliant 6-mins+ You Won't Change Me, All Moving Parts or even the almost-delicate She's Gone. But a big part of the album is filled with some heavy unrefined rock tracks, like the opening Backstreet Kids, RnR Doctor, Gypsy and the closing Dirty Women. As the track titles unwittingly demonstrate, you'll easily guess that the lyrics are really not a strength in this album.

To their fans, if albums such as TE and NSD were clearly not as good as their previous efforts, Technical Ecstasy is often relatively unfairly maligned; because the album has a better production (the bass is much more audible than in SBS or 'Tage) and with still a few honest tracks. I'd say that TE suffers from the following lacklustre NSD's chronological proximity.

Review by Tom Ozric
3 stars By 1976, Black Sabbath had seemed to be losing the momentum gained from their steady rise-to-fame from the Earth-shattering debut to the long famous 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' album - even their next album after SBS - 'Sabotage' (1975), has proven to be a mighty effort, although never reaching the heights of the renowned previous album. The new album, 'Technical Ecstasy', presented the world with a somewhat 'generic' version of the pioneering Heavy-Metal genre the band had initially had a hand in creating, the overall production being a frad over-compressed and guitar-heavy, the songwriting being a tad tired and uninspired. Having stated the negative aspects of this album (including a Sci-Fi Robot-Porn escalator-love cover-art), it offers a blend of tracks which do have occasional flashes of colour and diversions from their tried-and-true formula. A point worthy of mention is the fact that drummer Bill Ward has been appointed lead-vocal on a ballad tune called 'It's Alright'. It has a nice mellotron- fuelled interlude of a positive nature, but overall is a weaker tune that nobody would guess was BS. Having mentioned 'mellotron' - Gerald Woodruffe is the man contributing lots of keyboards here, and I find that it's his efforts that really lift some rather bland tunes up to snuff. Most 'standard' tune award goes to 'Rock 'n Roll Doctor' (but it's alright.....ha-ha - pun intended). Highlight would have to be the song 'You Won't Change Me', with superb phased organ and ballsy riffs. The longest cut, closing track 'Dirty Women', shows a strong vocal from Ozzy, and a tight instrumental arrangement (although the closing riff outstays its welcome by a minute or two). Ward gives us some double bass-drum in this section. Recommending this album as a solid 3-star effort is a fair assessment from my P.O.V.
Review by GruvanDahlman
2 stars For an astonishing six years, between 1970 and 1975, Black Sabbath released six albums. Ever progressing from the first blues rock helping of the first and eponymous album to the perfect blend of prog and metal on Sabotage from 1975, they offered a very unique, never really matched set of albums. That is truly a feat. Knowing full well of their excessive use of substances, alcohol and grueling tour schedule, one realise that something had to give. And it did. When Technical Ecstasy was released in 1976 one felt and knew that something had happened and by the looks of it, that wasn't good.

Technical Ecstasy is perhaps the hardest album to warm to of all the albums during the classic years. Repeated listens haven't changed my point of view and the probability is that it never will. The problem lies in the lack of memorability in the material itself. No, this is not a stinker of an album. The songs are not awful. They are simply not that "catchy" as they used to be, on previous albums. There are songs that are great. "Back street kids" is a good opener. High spirited but gloomy. The disco type stuff represented on "All moving parts stand still" is equally good and that may be, funnily enough, my favorite. "Dirty women" is not half bad either. But when the album has spun, what remains? Not much, really. It is one of those albums you sort of enjoy when spinning but you can't really remember what you've just been through. Apart from a couple of tracks. "Rock'n'roll doctor" is terrible.

I believe in judging any and all albums for what they are, not in comparison to others. If you do I think you miss the point. On basis of that, I look at this album as an individual, not bothering about what came before or even after. Still, little can save it from my judgement. Compared to other albums during the 70's this one is the weakest and the most lacklustre, bleak and gloomy of the lot. Not that Sabbath ever was a joyous band but there was always a vibrant, lively tone to it all. This is not the worst album ever made and it is really not you typical bad one either. It is a downfall due to obvious reasons. As far as I am concerned they bounced back on the next album, Never say die which is one of my favorites. It is, however, less spirited and involved.

I would not say that Technical Ecstasy is purely for collectors but it is not really a three star album. While not being essential it is not something to shy away from either. It is part of the Sabbath history and as such it is an interesting piece of history. Take a listen with an open mind but do not expect it to be anything like Paranoid or Vol.4. Because it is not.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Recorded around a blur of drugs, alcohol, spiralling ego, gruelling touring schedules and draining legal battles, Black Sabbath's seventh album `Technical Ecstasy' from 1976 is not the complete dud it's often reputed to be, although it's undoubtedly the poorest release from the classic Ozzy Osbourne-fronted line-up of the defining heavy rock group. It does have an admirable eclectic and diverse approach with ambitions of offering something a little more than just the usual sludgy heavy-metal riffs and doomy lyrics as well as a more sophisticated production, but it sadly doesn't deliver too much in the way of quality material, even if it still offers a few gems here and there.

Opener `Back Street Kids' is a reliably brash heavy chugger with Tony Iommi's galloping riffs, Geezer Butler's pumping dirty bass and a screeching Ozzy vocal that also throws in a few whirring synths courtesy of Gerald Woodroffe and Bill Ward's busy drumming. But it's the longer and dramatic `You Won't Change Me' that proves to be a real Sabbath classic - a defiant and blunt vocal from Ozzy delivering a confronting lyric that holds traces of the dark romance and despairing hope that permeates so many great Sabbath songs, backed to snarling evil riffs over gloomy synths and frantic guitar soloing from Iommi, all topped off with a cracking chorus. The much despised `It's Alright', sung by Ward, is a softer piano tune with traces of a Beatles-esque sound is fairly forgettable, but repeated listens reveals a harmless time-passer at worst. After quite an upbeat intro of skittering drums and buzzsaw guitars `Gypsy' tears through a multi-sectioned range of moods and ideas, but despite it not being the most memorable song, the slick studio production really goes to town to make it at least sound interesting and dense.

Side two's misogynist-blasting `All Moving Parts (Stand Still)' is a funky bluesy romp that still remains just a little bit dull, and despite a shrieking vocal and stomping drumbeat, the throwaway `Rock 'N' Roll Doctor' seems lethargic and can't even offer a punchy memorable chorus. Downbeat ballad `She's Gone' is strangely elegant and melancholic with its gloomy orchestration and reflective acoustic guitars behind another tortured romantic lyric and genuinely passionate vocal from Ozzy, and closer `Dirty Women' is one of the more overtly `proggy' moments due to its lengthy instrumental runs with constant organ, melodic reaching guitar strains (and Tony's solo in the climax seems to go on forever!) but still finds time for a roaring vocal and plenty of ballsy chugging riffs.

Along with the band feeling the pressure of the emerging punk bands of the time and the pressure to remain relevant and vital, `Technical Ecstasy' found Black Sabbath in something of a no-win situation - deliver a more typical heavy-metal album and be accused of merely repeating themselves, or experiment with their formula and annoy the metal purists by shifting too far from their signature sound. Time and perspective actually reveals a perfectly OK album that sadly especially suffers when being compared to the classic run of the first six Sabbath albums that stretched from the self-titled debut in 1970 through to '75's `Sabotage', but seriously, what wouldn't?

Three stars.

Review by The Crow
2 stars And suddenly, all the magic was gone!

The drugs and internal problems that the band achieved to manage in previous albums finally appeared in Technical Ecstasy, a record full with mediocre songs with just a few acceptable moments like the energetic Back Street Kids, which also contains some fine keyboards, and the good stoner riffs of The Gypsy. The rest is just boring and forgettable.

The production is fine and the band plays acceptably, but that was not enough to save this bunch of uninspired and irrelevant hard rock songs, with a style far for the heaviness and spectacular riffs of milestones like Paranoid, Master of Reality and the far superior Sabotage.

Conclusion: Technical Ecstasy is, along with Never Say Die!, the worst album of the first Ozzy era. A bland attempt to make their music more accessible, commercial and easy for the ears, but fails in every one of these goals.

For fans only!

My Rating: **

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Up until 1977, Black Sabbath came across as a band that had control over their sound. They had been inspiring bands since their beginning and would eventually inspire a whole new genre called heavy metal and its many sub-genres. So what happened that turned many of it's fans against them in September of 1976? The answer to that is more than a simple single reason.

The band's 7th album was ill fated from the beginning. Black Sabbath had put out 6 amazing studio albums before that, and it looked as if they could not make a mistake. Their music was not only loud and dark, but it was also better than the norm with many progressive elements. Most of their tracks had multiple melodies and themes. The band was not afraid to change and experiment with their established sound and that made their music exciting and innovative. Sure, they had that reputation of creating the music of the devil, but to them, that was just an aspect of a few of their songs that dealt with dark subject matter, drug use, war, and mental health just to name a few subjects. In order to prove that they were not just a one-trick-pony, they even wrote songs dealing with spiritual matters and more positive subjects as proven in the album "Master of Reality", but the fans loved the dark and heavy sound, so that was almost always retained. But in those heavy tracks, the band explored the softer side of music too, and did it very well.

It seemed all was going well for this band. But then, their 7th album was released. "Technical Ecstasy" was a surprise to everyone, and most people didn't take it very well. People still wonder why there was such a sudden change in their music and the quality of it. First of all, the band had just gone through several legal battles that seemed to plague the album "Sabotage", and they were quite tense about that. Of course, there were drug problems galore. The world was also changing their music tastes with punk music, pop music, disco and new age with heavy use of electronics and synthesizers. Tony Iommi started to think that maybe the band was becoming outdated, that their music wasn't relevant anymore, and he thought a change in style was in order. Strangely enough, back then you couldn't just put out a heavy metal album like you can now and know that people would but it, as Iommi has stated. Also, around this time, Ozzy was considering leaving the band, and actually did during the tour of this album, though he came back to record their next album. The band recruited vocalist Dave Walker from "Savoy Brown" to take Ozzy's place during the tour and they actually wrote some songs with Walker.

Iommi's biggest concern during this time was the sound of the band and trying to make them not sound out of date. He thought the band needed to sound more like "Foreigner" with their more commercial sound. He could also see that albums like "Hotel California" by the Eagles and "Rumours" by Fleetwood Mac were selling like crazy. He was also affected by The Eagles who were recording "Hotel California" in the same studio (who, incidentally, had to postpone recording sessions because Black Sabbath's recording sessions were too loud and they couldn't hear themselves). Anyway, this all led to Black Sabbath experimenting with new sounds which they weren't necessarily equipped to play well.

The album cover took many by surprise too. This looked so different from anything else the band had put out. It had that cartoon-y look and was colorful, not dark like past album art. The designer, George Hardie, said that he was trying to make something that reflected the title, so he used the technical part of the title to be represented by robots. The Ecstasy part had to have something to do with love, so he made a female and male robot, passing each other on opposite escalators and squirting mechanical fluid at each other, as robots would probably do if they fell for each other.

The band consisted of their original line up of Ozzy Osbourne on lead vocals, Tony Iommi on guitar, Geezer Butler on bass and Bill Ward on drums. Joining them was Gerald Woodroffe playing keyboards who also played on "Sabotage". He also went with them on tour, but performed offstage.

The album started with "Back Street Kids" which was still guitar heavy, but more commercial sounding, sounding a lot like other heavy bands at the time, using repetitive melodies with pop-like sensibilities. Half-way through, there is a distinct synth sound which sounded totally out of place in their music. The song itself was quite forgettable and the guitar hook was too bright. It still had a nice guitar solo, but it was accompanied by a distracting, high-pitched synth. "You Won't Change Me" gave some hope as it had that darker sound with a heavy riff and a thick organ sound. The rhythm was slow and dense which reflected back to their trademark sound from the past. I can imagine the fans were a bit disappointed with the opening track, but had some hope when this track started.

"It's Alright" was written solely by Bill Ward. The band wanted him to also sing this track, but he didn't want to offend Ozzy. However, Ozzy was all for it, so he did. The song was also released as a single and Iommi wanted to use it because he wanted the public to see that everything about the band had changed. The song is a ballad and sounds very much unlike anything the band had done before, mostly led by piano. Even on this album, it sounds completely out of place in the entire Black Sabbath catalog, especially placed after the previous song. "Gypsy" begins with a very upbeat and almost danceable drum pattern and an organ that sounds more like a "Deep Purple" track. Even though it has a repetitive guitar riff, it feels so much lighter than most of the band's songs, and definitely has a pop feel to it. You can also hear a definite "Foreigner" style with the repeated piano chords pushing it all along, it almost copies the "Cold as Ice" riff in its stripped down form. At least there was a good guitar solo in there.

"All Moving Parts (Stand Still)" is about a transvestite that is elected as president of the United States. This is really bad, and sounds like the beginning of hair metal than anything else. It still has the guitars, but they are lightened up quite a bit and the synth parts don't fit in well. The best part is the funky bass line, but nothing else works on this track. As one critic said at the time, "Rock 'n' Roll Doctor" sounds like the band trying to imitate "Kiss" even down to the cow bell. There is a bad honky-tonk style piano in there too. The guitar riff is also very cliché. It's bad!

"She's Gone" is another ballad. It is thick with orchestral effects. It probably would have worked as a nice ballad on one of their earlier albums, but on this album, it just gets forgotten mixed in with sub-par material. All alone and taken out of context, however, it is a lovely piece, but it lacks a bit of depth that previous ballads by the band had. The last track is the longest on the album. "Dirty Women", according to Iommi, is about the many hookers that Butler had seen around Florida. The song is ruined by the bad synth that backs up the chorus. It's probably the 2nd best track on the album, after "You Won't Change Me" and has some excellent guitar work, but it still lacks depth in it's melody and themes. The instrumental melodies are also a bit repetitive, and even though it has a sudden change in tempo towards the middle, it's not enough to save the album. At least it ends on an okay note with this song, but by now it's all a lost cause. It doesn't help that Ozzy's vocals sound brassy in the last half of the song.

Yes, the album is as bad as they say, especially since the band had set the bar so high on previous albums. If this was any other band, it still would have been a 2 or 3 star album. That's how bad it is. The band's signature sound and attitude was missing here, and it definitely was missed by the fans. It was going to be hard for the band to return to it's glory days after this mess. It's true that Iommi had quite a dilemma in trying to make the band relevant, and if only he could have seen the future, he wouldn't have bothered trying to fit in with the current sound. This probably would have been a completely different review. There just isn't that much on this album that will keep you coming back.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Black Sabbath's "Technical Ecstasy" is probably the most underrated prog-metal creation ever. With this album the founders of progressive metal move into a faster and heavier direction and, for the first time, 'in company' with incredible polyphonic keyboards, playing here not a supporting role at a ... (read more)

Report this review (#1504995) | Posted by Progresearcher | Tuesday, December 29, 2015 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album was a disappointment to me after the brilliant "Sabotage" album - I expected another rung up the ladder from them as opposed to this. Perhaps that is why this album is so "disliked" by their fan base. The heaviness had gone here in favor of a more commercially flavored form of hard ... (read more)

Report this review (#939531) | Posted by sukmytoe | Friday, April 5, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars After quite a few materpieces...we get this. It's the same formula we've heard before, but so slugglish and poorly performed that it's almost unlistenable. Black Sabbath, now, were growing steadily into a decline, as drugs and alcohol derived most of the musical talent that used to be in the ... (read more)

Report this review (#329132) | Posted by Jazzywoman | Sunday, November 21, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Well, well... The reasons I'm doing this review are particular ones. Neither BS in general nor Technical Ecstasy can be related to prog rock as much as any other 70's western pop music act, such as Sex Pistols, Bob Marley or Three Dog Night. I believe I made my point clear in my few bits in the f ... (read more)

Report this review (#287630) | Posted by moodyxadi | Sunday, June 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Technically, it is a picture of robot sex. Mmm, and thus Black Sabbath begin their descent into being The World's # 1 Black Sabbath tribute band. Or is that second best? Either way, we have a solid hard rock opener, with synths that should have stayed home. Sabbath have never been a band to uti ... (read more)

Report this review (#212982) | Posted by Alitare | Wednesday, April 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars So here we are, with 7th Sabs studio LP. I must admit, that so far that was the poorest musical achievment delivered from this Birmingham's band. All arrangements became more consisting (orchestration, violin, and those keyboards...) but the sound hasn't got its power. Album started with Back str ... (read more)

Report this review (#198977) | Posted by imnotfashioned | Wednesday, January 14, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 doo ... (read more)

Report this review (#160243) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Wednesday, January 30, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I don't see what people dislikes so much about this album. Sure, it's not as good as their debut or "Paranoid", but it's just a natural progression. Or well... It was because of their hectic touring & intense drug&alcohol problems that they just couldn't keep up the great music anymore. Still not b ... (read more)

Report this review (#144254) | Posted by Abstrakt | Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of BLACK SABBATH "Technical Ecstasy"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.