Gostava da partilhar aqui uma passadela a pano sobre o sétimo álbum de Black Sabbath. Technical Ecstasy. Um álbum que, por não seguir a linha pesada dos seus antecessores, é alvo de fortes criticas negativas no panorama do Heavy Metal e que por essas razões é geralmente esquecido. É ainda acusado de ser o "culpado" do futuro desmembramento da banda original, sendo que as drogas, o problema de sempre, tomou conta da orientação do estilo da banda, mas principalmente da desorientação do Ozzy que levou ao seu afastamento.
Bem, mas eu não partilho da mesma opinião, sendo que admito a falta do habitual poder da trevas… Mas o álbum está excelente, porque uma banda como esta não faz coisas más. Faz diferente. Faz parte da evolução natural e sentido experimentador que grandes músicos têm a necessidade de seguir. As pessoas é que não estão preparadas para isto.
Este álbum é a minha droga… o meu Ecstasy!
Retirei daqui a "review", que me parece justa e ajustada também àquilo que penso:
411’s Dan Marsicano is looking at one of the most underappreciated albums in Black Sabbath’s catalog, 1976’s Technical Ecstasy. What happened to the band who turned out classic album after classic album? Is Technical Ecstasy as bad as Black Sabbath fans think it is?
Welcome, all my followers, to the 16th edition of What The Hell
Happened To. Yep, I’m still keeping count. Not only am I keeping count
of the editions, but I’m also counting down the days until my official
one year anniversary at 411mania. For those wondering, its 37 days away!
I got some good responses on last week’s column, so I’m hoping for
the same, or even more, this time. Actually, I can basically guarantee
this edition will get people talking, as I am going to discuss Black
Sabbath’s 1976 album Technical Ecstasy.
After the success of 1975’s Sabotage, the band went back in the
studio a year later to start recording a new album. This album would be
radically different from their previous albums, with drugs and too much
experimentation with their music starting to become a hindrance.
Technical Ecstasy would turn out to be a commercial and critical
failure, with many fans not liking the band with a more hard rock sound
to it. After the release of Technical Ecstasy, Black Sabbath slowly
fell apart until lead singer Ozzy Osbourne left in 1979.
So, why all the hate on Black Sabbath’s seventh studio album? Is it
really as bad as people think it is? It’s time to ask the question:
What The Hell Happened To Technical Ecstasy?
Geezer Butler-Bass Guitar
Bill Ward-Drums, Lead Vocals on "It’s Alright"
The Track Listing
1. Back Street Kids-3:47
2. You Won’t Change Me-6:42
3. It’s Alright-4:04
5. All Moving Parts (Stand Still)-5:07
6. Rock N’ Roll Doctor-3:30
7. She’s Gone-4:58
8. Dirty Women-7:13
Black Sabbath was formed from the remains of two separate bands. The
original line up for the band had Ozzy, Tony, Bill, and Geezer together
alongside slide guitarist Jimmy Phillips and saxophonist Alan "Aker"
Clarke. The band’s name was first The Polka Tulk Blues Company before
the band shortened it to Earth.
Earth played a lot of cover songs and was more into the lengthy
blues jams that dominated the late 60’s. Eventually, the band decided
to change their name to Black Sabbath, named after a Boris Karloff
movie that was playing in the theater across the street from the band’s
With the name change came the evolution of the band’s sound. The
lyrics and music were much darker than before, mixing crushing riffs
with lyrics on the occult and evil demons. Their self titled debut,
released on February 13th, 1970, would go on to sell over a million
copies in the US alone and would later be named one of the greatest
debut albums of all time.
band wasn’t satisfied with just touring for a year or so off of the
debut album. Black Sabbath quickly went back into the studio in June of
1970 to work on the sophomore album Paranoid. I think we all know about
the great success of this album. While critics did pan it at the time,
Paranoid is now considered a highly influential album.
The band would begin down a drug-influenced stage, where
experimentation would reign supreme. After the successful 1971 Master
of Reality and 1972’s Black Sabbath Vol. 4, the band began to feel the
effects of the constant drug taking. The drugs would not only have an
effect on the band’s sound, but the chemistry they originally had.
1973’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath saw a greater increase of keyboards,
orchestration, and even synthesizer driven songs ("Who Are You?").
1975’s Sabotage is my personal favorite Black Sabbath album, as it
shows the band at its heaviest ("Symptom of the Universe") and their
most melodic ("Megalomania"). The band toured successfully under this
album, and a year later, the band would return to the studio to record
their most diverse album yet.
The influence that Black Sabbath had on metal music can’t be
underestimated. Without Black Sabbath, there wouldn’t be many of the
bands we have today. Like every band, Black Sabbath had its ups and
downs throughout its almost 40 year career. To me, the late 70’s was an
interesting period for Black Sabbath.
You had a band that could basically do no wrong. A band that was on
a thin line when it came to controlling their drug and alcohol
problems, while trying to experiment with their sound without offending
their long time fans. With Technical Ecstasy, Black Sabbath crossed
that line and never looked back. Too bad the fans didn’t follow them,
as this album and 1978’s Never Say Die would be considered the worst
albums the band has done with Ozzy as the lead singer. Technical
Ecstasy is the beginning of the end for the original line up of Black
Sabbath, but there are some decent ideas behind the internal struggles
the band was going through.
"Back Street Kids" is the first sign that the band’s sound has
dramatically changed. The song is very upbeat and sounds like it should
belong on a UFO album. Iommi’s guitar work is still great, but the song
turns out to be only decent. A weird keyboard section in the middle of
the song reminds me of early Rush. I was waiting for Geddy Lee to wail
"BACK STREET KIDS."
Won’t Change Me" is the only song on the entire album that harkens back
to Black Sabbath’s doom metal roots. The song is slow, plodding, and
dark as hell. The keyboards heighten the mood immensely and add to the
song. I wish the album had more songs like this, as I think this would
have been a fine balance of their classic sound with some
experimentation. A special notice has to be made to Tony Iommi again,
as his solo at the end is a personal favorite of mine.
After the solid doom metal song, the album takes a weird turn. "It’s
Alright" is Black Sabbath trying to be the Beatles. I looked at the
credits to make sure that Paul McCartney or John Lennon didn’t write
it. "It’s Alright" also features drummer Bill Ward on lead vocals. Ward
does a decent job, but I’m glad he didn’t quit his real job in the
band. The acoustic solo at the end is very tasteful and helps to save
the song from mediocrity.
"Gypsy" starts out with a Ward solo before the song goes through the
motions for five minutes. Of course, the guitar work is awesome, but
nothing really stood out from the song. "All Moving Parts (Stand
Still)" is one of the better tracks on Technical Ecstasy, with the band
adding a little blues to the hard rock. Geezer Butler can finally be
heard on this song, as his bass seems to stay in the background for
most of the tracks on Technical Ecstasy. The blues sound works for
Black Sabbath and Bill Ward gets in his best performance of the album
in the fast middle section, where his fills are frequent and
"Rock N’ Roll Doctor" is Black Sabbath trying to sound like Styx or
Blue Oyster Cult. That’s not a bad thing, mind you; I enjoy this song a
lot. I don’t know why I like it though. It might be the catchiness of
the song, the subtle piano work in the background, or the fact that
it’s just so radically different from anything Black Sabbath has ever
"She’s Gone" is the other ballad on the album and is much better
than "It’s Alright." The song uses a full piece orchestra and a heavy
use of acoustic guitars. The song is very dark, arguable the darkest
ballad the band has ever done. Ozzy’s voice holds up and he actually
sounds decent on here. At least he sounds better than he did in
"Dirty Women" is the longest song on Technical Ecstasy and is the
song that sounds like Black Sabbath the most. The song has an epic feel
to it and the band seems to get all this energy and motivation
basically out of nowhere. "Dirty Women" is Tony Iommi’s song. What do I
mean? While he has some great solos throughout Technical Ecstasy, I
never felt as if he was the dominant force on the album, with outside
elements getting in the way (keyboards, orchestration, piano, drummer
singing, etc.). With "Dirty Women," it’s just Iommi doing what he does
best; play some crushing riffs and solo his ass off, especially the two
and a half minute solo that ends the song.
Ozzy Osbourne doesn’t sing as well as he did on Sabotage, but his
voice still has some power behind it. Technical Ecstasy would be the
decline of his vocals though, as drugs would take their toll on his
What else can be said about Tony Iommi that hasn’t already been
said? Even on a lesser Black Sabbath album, Iommi still kicks the crap
out of most guitarists. His riffs are still fresh and his solos are
still great. Geezer Butler seems to get pushed to the background, which
is a shame, considering his high level of skill. Finally, Bill Ward
does a decent job on the drums. It isn’t his best performance, but it
is far from his worst. I would have liked to see more creativity with
his drumming, as he doesn’t do anything too fancy other than the middle
section of "All Moving Parts (Stand Still)."
Technical Ecstasy is much better than most people perceive it to be.
I enjoyed this album a lot when I first heard it and I still do to this
day. There is no way that Technical Ecstasy can compare to their past
catalog, but it is actually much better than some of their later output
(Forbidden and Never Say Die are just a few examples). It’s a shame
that the pressures of substance abuse and record labels got to the
band, as I believe that Technical Ecstasy could have been a much better
album with more effect and a little motivation. For now, Technical
Ecstasy will always be known as the album that began the downfall of
the original line up of Black Sabbath.