Special Features: 180 gram.
- Back Street Kids
- You Won't Change Me
- It's Alright
- All Moving Parts (Stand Still)
- Rock 'n' Roll Doctor
- She's Gone
- Dirty Women
Release Date: 2013
Label: Warner Bros. Records
The year was 1976 and after a shockingly good streak of excellent album releases, Black Sabbath finally released 'Technical Ecstasy'; an album that isn't as consistently good as the previous ones. I say finally, as if it's a good thing, but I'm sure many people were wondering if the band could do any wrong, and 'Technical Ecstasy' proves us that Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward and Ozzy Osbourne weren't gods but rather demi-gods. So, not completely flawless, but pretty much divine anyway, so who gives a fuck, eh?!
You really need to listen to this record in the correct mindset, because this is not so similar to the Black Sabbath albums that were released before this one. If you're aware of what direction the band was going (not necessarily down, but experimenting with "softer tunes"), then 'Technical Ecstasy' should at least bring you some pleasure. It took me a while to get used to this album. The first time I listened to it, I wrote it off as an abomination and left it to collect dust for a very long time. That would change, when I had listened to Black Sabbath's so-called classics to death. That would be all the albums released before this one, and then the likes of 'Heaven and Hell', 'Born Again' and 'Dehumanizer'.
So, after all, I gave 'Technical Ecstasy' a second chance, and I'm glad I did, because I found things I almost instantly appreciated after initially abandoning this misunderstood piece of work. The tracks that I instantly fell in love with were "You Won't Change Me" and "Dirty Women"; the former one opening up in a very doomy fashion, but then breaks into a somewhat bittersweet-sounding hard rock ballad that could be comparable to something that Deep Purple has done; mainly because of the good use of keys. "You Won't Change Me" is just a very good song, in my opinion. It is, however, bested by "Dirty Women". "Dirty Women" is a longer track that can be broken into three sections. The first one being the co-operation between the guitar and keys driving the song (with Ozzy's vocals on top, of course), then there's a fairly long section where Iommi plays a solo type with the continued backing of the keyboard before the song breaks into a more heavy and intense bit with Ozzy howling epically, and finally there's an almost sing-along type of outro. It's a great song; a Sabbath classic, in my honest opinion.
Like I said, initially, these two songs were the only two songs I instantly liked after giving 'Technical Ecstasy' a second chance, but fun rocker "Back Street Kids" soon followed, as well as the beautiful and sad "She's Gone"; a song with keys matching the importance and greatness they had on 'Sabotage'.
"It's Alright" is a ballad with drummer Bill Ward on vocals. It's not an amazing song by any stretch of imagination, but it's a pleasant listen; certainly not a typical Sabbath song, but I like it. This was a track that I didn't like at all to start with, but getting to know the band and its direction more greatly helped me appreciate it and eventually like it more.
The same can be said about 'Technical Ecstasy' as a whole. I shunned it to start with, because it was so not like the Black Sabbath I knew, but in the end, that's what Black Sabbath is and has always been all about. Experimenting with music. They never released the same album twice and this is just another one among them all. Another thing is that 'Technical Ecstasy' wasn't really meant to be a heavy/doom metal album in any way or shape. I really doubt that the band got together and planned exactly what their next album should sound like. And if you listen to the albums released before 'Technical Ecstasy' and notice where the band is going with their music, this album makes a lot of sense. It was meant to be a softer Sabbath. It was meant to be different.
That's a risk the band had taken on every record and executed perfectly. 'Technical Ecstasy' wasn't as impressive and successful like experimentation done on albums such as 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' and 'Sabotage'. 1976 was a troublesome time for Black Sabbath and whether that had an impact on the quality on some of the tracks on here or not, is debatable. But it seems like Black Sabbath had taken their experimentation on some of the songs here too far, and thus they ended up sounding mediocre in comparison to the band's stronger offerings.
"Gypsy", "All Moving Parts (Stand Still)" and "Rock 'n' Roll Doctor" are all average songs. Sure, they have their moments like Iommi's impressive lead-guitar on "All Moving Parts (Stand Still)", but ultimately, these songs are just filler, and if they had been trimmed off the album and 'Technical Ecstasy' was an EP instead, it would be a very good one.
All in all, 'Technical Ecstasy' is as overlooked as it is misunderstood, so if you decide to listen to this album with the wrong mindset (that is, if you expect it to sound much like the albums released between 1970-1975), then you'll be disappointed. It took me a good while to learn to like this album, and once there, I found it to be an overall decent album. Flawed, but it certainly has good tunes, too, with the highlights being "You Won't Change Me" and "Dirty Women". - Doominance (Metal-Archives.com January 26, 2015)