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Black Sabbath - Technical Ecstasy CD (album) cover


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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 bad, since there are at least 2 great songs here. The first one, is "All moving parts stand still". It's a funky mid-70's rock tune with lyrics that for some reason reminds me of Alice Cooper (which is also good, but far from sabbath). The next one is probably the most popular and well-known song from this album, Dirty Women! It's almost epic, with several diffrent riffs, tempo & mood changes. It has a bit dirty lyrics (and on some concerts women used to take their tops of during this number), but that doesn't drag it down. I still love it! A good effort from sabbath, considering what they were going through at the time. 3/5!
Report this review (#144254)
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#144353)
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#144379)
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
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

Report this review (#146199)
Posted Sunday, October 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Chris S
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.
Report this review (#149561)
Posted Thursday, November 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#160243)
Posted Wednesday, January 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#171032)
Posted Wednesday, May 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
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

Report this review (#177922)
Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
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 street kids - fast opener, with typicall Iommi's riff, a little bit motorial. Next, You won't change me - another good work from Iommi (stunding solo), Osbourne sang about...woman (suprise!) and her influence on a man. Third track, it's a typicall ?!, (since Changes from BS IV) ballad - nothing special. Then we go to the one of the best - Gypsy - crazy lyrics, electrify musical section with leading role of keyboards - which sound like typicall american band in the second part of 70' - and the best guitar work in this album from Tony Iommi (that sobbing and and discontinuous guitar is unbeliveable!). Further,nothing happening. Tracks are boring, with no leading idea. Rock and roll doctor - casual rock, but we hear that doctor is needed.... She's gone brings us ...violin - what a creapy stuff, too indistinct! Dirty woman, beside Gypsy the best track. I started to hear bass guitar and percussion. Interesting melody, tempo changes - this sopund nearly as an old Sabbath. Not particurarly a good album, but after I remembered Tony Martin's era I give it 3:)
Report this review (#198977)
Posted Wednesday, January 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#200647)
Posted Monday, January 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#202366)
Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
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 utilize that "slick studio production", but this is something else. Back Street Kids features a worse recording and production than even the worst parts of Sabotage. This is a mediocre rocker at best. Not Sabbath at all, save for Ozzy's poor-as-usual vocal delivery.

Those keyboard moments are excellent! Did they get Wakeman, again? Hardly. These things are a complete and abject failure. You Won't Change me is alright, I suppose. And this feels like a solid, but second rate doom-laden rocker. Nothing more. Moving on...

Ozzy must have taken singing lessons from a metronome. He never seems to change tone, no matter how many times I listen. At least the guitar solo is pretty good. Not anything we haven't seen, before, but quite fierce. It's alright has Black Sabbath doing another of their so glorious hook filled ballads. This is a power ballad, hands down. And if you take the equation Black Sabbath + running out of ideas + Power Ballad + Ozzy, do you still have something that entices you? Oh, they use cheesy strings, too. Those "oooh's" are a bit painful.

Gypsy seems even more arena rock oriented. Those opening power chords are so mundane. This music has no creativity, at all. It feels so overdone and Black Sabbath are better than this, they really are. At least All Moving Parts has some funky rocking. Black Sabbath get ALIVE, with that grooving rock. Too bad the lyrics are bad. Speaking of awful lyrics...

Rock'n'Roll Doctor follows. Doesn't that name just make you leap for joy? Under-produced hard rock is more to the eloquent tune of things. They kind of sound like Foreigner or Motley Crue, though. Is that a good thing? You decide. I will decide to move onto the next song. Hey, more Keyboard work! Too bad it is uninspired and gimmicky. Oh how those strings have dated. Another power ballad? Yes. Black Sabbath have become a hair band. Well, if I judge them as a hair band, I might get to add another star or so. That might be pushing it. But this song is so absolutely terrible. And fake as hell. She's Gone is possibly the worst song here. Mainly because it lacks most of what makes a song I don't even think Ozzy's voice is real, anymore. They just took old clips of him talking and stitched them together.

Well, at least the last song has a decent melody. Not that it is very progressive. No, those days are behind the boys in black. And at least it rocks a bit. Not that I think it should, and those melody lines are a bit stale. The production is still pedestrian, and the lyrics seem to get worse over time, but nothing on the album offends, at least. Take this album for what it is. The best Black Sabbath demos album this side of what comes next...

Best Song - All Moving Parts or You Won't Change me, both are pretty bad.

Worst Song - All of it is equally filler, and most of it is not good filler. Pick your generic poison.

*1/2 stars.

Report this review (#212982)
Posted Wednesday, April 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
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.

Report this review (#255131)
Posted Wednesday, December 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
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!

Report this review (#255979)
Posted Monday, December 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
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 forum and this is a rare point where I agree with Ivan Melgar.

This album is radically different from the classic Sabbath sound. Although their trademark music was changing since Volume IV here we have a band that sometimes sounds more hard rock than heavy metal. The curious thing is that this alum isn't bad or at least not as bad as I thought it'd be before listening to it.

The low points first: the completely dispensable ballad "It's alright" and the [&*!#]ty "All moving parts (Stand still)". They are disasters in any criteria, not only in Sabbath ones: boring, poor and totally lackluster songs. But the rest of the album is very good, what makes it a solid 4 star album in rock terms.

The opener "Backstreet Kids" has a good riff and performance by Ozzy, giving to the listener a different impression of the band, but not a bad one. "You won't change me" and its mellotrons keep the quality high but it's "Gypsy" that knocks me out. A song rarely played alive (I have it only in the bootleg "Killing yourself to die", from the TE tour), its tempo and mood changes can lead the avid prog listener to believe that it's a prog song by BS, what it's a mistake IMO. The heaviness and Ozzy's maniac vocals just makes you realize that you're listening to a BS piece, a different one, but a heavy rock song in the end. It's the first great moment of this album.

Side two is better than the first, with only "R'n'R doctor" giving a impression of a certain laziness of the group in the songwriting department. The awful "All moving parts", the opener of this side has the power to make the unadventurer to give up this album, what it'd be a pitty, because in "She's gone" we have a very sad and melancolic song, full of mellotrons very well aplied, and after it the great "Dirty women" with all it's raw power. The second great track from this album, that was ressurected in the live set after the Reunion. God thanks the gentleman that put it in the set list, because it was by listening to its live version that I came to this album.

Like I've said before, this is a good case of 4 out of five in rock terms (and the albums that preceded it are all 5 in my book). In prog rock aspects, only 3 stars. But I can't understand why this albums is so bashed because it's a larger departure from the classic Sabbath sound than it was made in the previous three albums.

Report this review (#287630)
Posted Sunday, June 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
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 band. Awkward, boring and sloppy are the best ways to describe one hell of a bad album. Robots having sex, a little bit wierd?

1.Back Street Kids - At first signs, we are getting a gream album. Awesome and rocking album opener. The signature style is here, but there is some hard rocking energy that was not seen on this cut. Not great lyrics, as they are nothing really mystic or fantasy based as it's more about the life of a kid on the streets. Ozzy Osbourne gets a great vocal melody,as Geezer Butler and Bill Ward play with intensity. Tony Iommi's riffage throughout the track is excellent and the synth sounds are great. A classic Sabbath opener. (9/10)

2.You Won't Change Me - A turely symponic track, and a pretty good one at that. The only reason to mark this track down is because of the energy level. It's almost gone, but the music is still being played. Average lyrics to go with, but the instrumentation is so good, it just seems a bit too rehearsed for me. (8.5/10)

3.It's Alright - I am not going to hold back, this is possibly the worst track off the album....or any Sabbath album for that matter. The Bill Ward sung track is totally not Sabbath and is one of the many reasons for the Ozzy departure. Musically, the cut has piano and acoustic guitar. Not much else besides a steady beat and some terrible vocals and horribly hazy and drugged out lyrics. (2.5/10)

4.Gypsy - Not really much better than the track before it, I have never been fond of the opening drum solo the dominates the track. Disjointed guitar chords and some half-assed vocal melodies from Osbourne are the standard for the track. Some decent basslines throughout, as you can faintly hear Butler rocking to whatever the hell is left of the suckish track, but not enough to make the song better than nothing great. (4/10)

5.All Moving Parts (Stand Still) - One of the better tracks off the album, as some energy is left within this hollow thing called Black Sabbath. Musically, it's one of the best, but vocally, it's one of the weakest performances from Osbourne. Thank god the music is great, as the Iommi led track is heavy and rocking. Slightly progressive in the changes and the radiation verses, it's almost classic. (8/10)

6.Rock 'n' Roll Doctor - Another low cut at a try for a hit. Some non-existent energy and totally un-Sabbath music. Almost a Blues Metal track, but it fails in profficiency, as the track is a complete bore. Ozzy's vocals are actually very good, but with some terrible drumming and boring guitar parts augmented by heavy synths, it goes nowhere. (3.5/10)

7.She's Gone - Some great strings, but a very un-gothic topic for such a used to be Gothic type of band. Acoustic guitar dominates the track, along with the string section, but it dosen't save the lyrics from total cheese and some below average vocal melodies, as this is the weakest of the albums tracks in his voice. (5.5/10)

8.Dirty Women - The longest track on the album is actually very good, but, overall, it's too little too late. The music is pretty good, but lacking some drive and force, as it's almost subdued because of the lazy playing. Ozzy's vocals are fairly good, but the lyrics he is singing are some of the worst on the album, as they are too much female oriented, and a total lose for the great music. Heavy synth's and organs also play a big role, which adds a slightly more sophistocated sound. (8/10)

Some absolutly great tracks and some aboslutly horrible trakcs. There has never been such an inconsistent album is Sabbath history, even Volume 4 has much more consistancy and flow! A 2 stars for something turely average that only fans will actually appreciate, but some songs are considered for a progger and rocker.

Report this review (#329132)
Posted Sunday, November 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Sothoth
Prog Metal Team
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.

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Posted Tuesday, June 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
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.

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Posted Monday, May 7, 2012 | Review Permalink
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".

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Posted Friday, June 1, 2012 | Review Permalink
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 rock/metal. "Black Sabbath for the masses" is what I feel happened to the direction of the band. This is by no means a bad album in its own right but it isn't what I expected or what I wanted from them. The standout track on this album for me is "Dirty Women", the rest is just standard, if good, hard rock fare. Had this album been released by a band other than Black Sabbath it would have been better recieved by the public than it was. For those who enjoyed the "pop" music, Collins side of Genesis's later releases I would suggest give this Sabbath album a try. To those who enjoyed the "bite" of the older Sabbath albums I would say give it a miss. Three stars from me due to the fact that it isn't by any means a bad album, it isn't the Sabbath album that I wanted to follow their previous releases but their are still sparks of the old Sabbath that do come through the mist here at times.
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Posted Friday, April 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
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.

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Posted Saturday, December 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
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.
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Posted Saturday, December 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
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.

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Posted Wednesday, October 15, 2014 | Review Permalink
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 all. Unlike "Never Say Die" ('Hard Road'), there are no fillers here, and even the most conventional composition, 'It's Alright', contains some fine prog-tinged arrangements. 'She's Gone' remains up to now one of the most magical prog ballads, having a glaring progressive feel throughout. The level of complexity on tracks like 'Dirty Women', 'You Won't Change Me' and 'Gypsy' is quite comparabale to many songs from the works of Genesis, Yes, Van Der Graaf, etc, released at the same time. The 'problem' is: nobody is able to appreciate "Technical Ecstasy" at its true value upon the first spin. Repeated listenings are required... That being said, "Technical Ecstasy" left a very pleasant taste in my consciousness, and Black Sabbath is one of my all-time favorites - along with Genesis, Pink Floyd, Yes, King Crimson, Van Der Graaf Generator, Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant and ELP! Do you really think I have a bad taste? :-)
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Posted Tuesday, December 29, 2015 | Review Permalink
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
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.

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Posted Tuesday, April 18, 2017 | Review Permalink

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