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As stated before, “Never Say Die” was essentially the last mutterings of an elderly genius before slipping away into the peaceful sleep of death. It is somewhat ironic that the band put forth two of their most optimistic songs as promotional singles to their last LP as the original incarnation of Sabbath, mostly because the end result was an absolute disaster. But even in those final moments of delirious rambling, some sense can be made, and was as far as the title track of this album is concerned.
“Never Say Die” is one of the most happy and upbeat songs every to come out of Sabbath, perhaps even more so than their infamous Christian rock hit “After Forever”. The principle guitar riff sounds like a lighter take on Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town”, though naturally lacking the dueling lead guitar assault. Ozzy’s vocals largely resemble what they would be throughout the 80s, moderated yet still fairly powerful.
The choice in b-side here is a bit strange, but perhaps that is to be expected giving the analogy that I used before. “She’s Gone” is a half-way decent ballad, though it doesn’t really serve Ozzy well as he tends to suffer when his voice is really exposed. Instead of a really sappy piano line, this song has a fairly decent though somewhat cliché guitar line that is accompanied by a better sounding orchestral mix. The song just sort of comes and goes, but never offends the ears in any way.
The rapid Sabbath completist will probably hunger for the original vinyl version of this, but due to scarcity and the high price that would likely break most peoples’ personal banks, that sort is recommended to seek out the year 2000 Sabbath singles compilation, which carries every single in this review series in CD form. It’s a fairly solid retrospective on the band that comes with lots of interesting album art, but not an essential purchase as these were put together in the days before b-sides were unique, non-album tracks.