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01.13.22 Black Sabbath - Never Say Ecstasy01.09.22 Ministry Ranked

Black Sabbath - Never Say Ecstasy

There’s probably no one in this world who thinks that the last two Sabbath records with Ozzy can hold a candle to their mind blowing run they had before. And while both „Technical Ecstasy“ and „Never Say Die“ had some mind numbingly boring or awfully misguided songs, they were not without their highlights. Combine the best halfs of those two and you get a damn solid album that would have made a good closer of this era. So let’s take a quick look at the songs that wouldn’t make the cut for me: - Backstreet Kids – A lot of people like this a lot for it’s uncompromising energy, but I just can’t stand the lazy non-chorus, the messy overdubs and that misplaced synthpart in the middle. - Gypsy – Has some interesting parts but it’s way too unfocused and begs for a more motivated and less limited vocalist than Ozzy. - Rock N‘ Roll Doctor – This is awful. Stiff Boogierock with one oft he worst choruses ever. Spinal Tap would reject this. - She’s Gone – I like „Changes“ more than I should, but boy does this break up ballad sound contrived. - A Hard Road – Drags on for too long, lacks energy and I can’t stand those „I used to be poor, now I’m a rockstar LOOK AT ME NOW“-lyrics. - Shock Wave – Meanders from one unnecessary part tot he next and I didn‘t realize that the chorus was the Chorus until it was repeated for the first time. A clear sign that Sabbath were losing it. What a waste of a great opening riff. - Over to you – not really aballad, not really a rock song, they didn’t care anymore at this point. - Breakout – Unintentionally funny with its messy horns and monotone riff, but hardly a song at all. - Swinging the Chain – Unfinished to say the least, Bill sounds like a tumbling alcoholic, guitar sounds even more terrible than on the other NSD tracks. Let’s also imagine that all of the following songs that made the cut had the production value of „Technical Ecstasy“ because „Never Say Die“ sounded like it was recorded in a laundry basement.
1Black Sabbath
Never Say Die

It has to be this one, a little lightweight for a Sabbath tune, but it‘s catchy, fun, optimistic and doesn’t waste anyone’s time with unnessecary lenghts. The most accomplished song from both albums.
2All Moving Parts (Stand Still))

This track got a little lost in the mess hat was Technical Ecstasy, but it’s funky bassline can not be denied, the lyrics are a funny mockery of bigotry and the faster middle part mixes it up just enough. The guitar should have been a lot louder though.
3You Won't Change Me

One oft he few songs on these albums where Sabbath’s doomy nature shines through even if it’s watered down a little by the attempt at accessible melodies. The song title is a little ironic though, because on „Ecstasy“ the band, you know…changed. A Lot. But this track should satisfy any of the diehards. And Iommi’s ridiculously overblown solo never fails to entertain me.
4Junior's Eyes

The lack of emotionally compelling lyrics was a big problem on those two records because Geezer ran out of song topics. Not on this touching song about the death of Ozzy’s father though. Driven by a great bassline and Iommi’s weird wah wahs, you just want to give poor Ozzy a long hug after this heartbreaker.
5Johnny Blade

Opening side two, Johnny Blade kicks off with some odd and funny synth sounds making this sound like supervillain's theme song. Goddamn, I swear this song would’ve been a fan favourite i fit was produced properly. The odd arrangement is very compelling, the way it moves from a semi thrash song to a catchy midtempo groover with a nice singalong chorus and ending with an energetic jam…what a waste of potential.
6Air Dance

Starting with a solid hardrock groove, „Air Dance“ suddenly transforms into a loungy jazz song with some lovely and dreamy piano touches and stays that way for ist whole duration. Another weird but unique and beautiful oddity in Sabbath’s catalogue. The lyrics about some washed up star are unintentionally ironic, to put it mildly, another sign that those guys' self awareness went completely out of the window and up their noses.
7Dirty Women

The only song from these albums that survived the 70‘s in Sabbath’s liveset. Yeah, it’s another example of the band disappearing in their rockstar bubble, which they used to be so good at avoiding on their first 6 albums. A song about groupies. Yeah. But damn, what a catchy organ line, what a heavy middle part, and what a fittingly cocaine fueled closing solo!
8It's Alright

An odd choice, because even in their most out-there-moments, at least Ozzy’s voice reminded you of what you’re listening to. Not here, because Bill Ward took over vocal duties on a song that could’ve easily been written by no less than Paul McCartney. Understandibly it was bashed by fans for moving as far away from their roots as possible but if we think of my incarnation of this album as the last one with Ozzy until „13“, I can’t imagine a more fitting closer than this bittersweet farewell. It’s the moment where the credits start to roll and that my friends is the end of two subpar records condensed into a good one.
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