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Dead On Arrival - 50%

TheHumanChair, February 22nd, 2020

Sabbath's ironically titled "Never Say Die" ended up being the last for the Ozzy era's initial run. Sabbath had been on life support for several years at this point, and this album was the end of it. Where "Technical Ecstasy" was an album that was plagued by hot and cold extremes of decent material and utter trash, even "Never Say Die's" best moments are mediocre. There are little tiny moments of brilliance across this album that help it end up better than "Sabotage" was, but there was just not enough decent songwriting to connect the dots and flesh this record out. In fact, maybe the best part of this entire album ends up being Don Airey, who ends up adding his masterful keyboard work throughout.

For instance, the biggest song on this album that I WISH I could like, and comes so close to being a solid Sabbath track is "Air Dance." It's easily the best track on the record, though. Iommi starts the track out with an AMAZING riff that's so catchy and heavy. There are tons of times I just loop the first 30 seconds of this song to get my fill of this riff, because it's never to return after the intro. What follows is a solid almost jazzy piece that's calm and soothing in a way. Don Airey's majestic piano work is what makes the track, and that piano gives the song's title meaning. The piano parts just give an instant feeling of a waltz through the air. The quicker ending portion of the song feels like lounge music in a fancy club, which is a different and refreshing take for Sabbath. Iommi's solo is really cool here. Unfortunately, though, this song just lacks something of a punch to make it a fully quality listen. I can't really put my finger on exactly what's missing, but there's just not enough for me to hang my hat on. Maybe bringing back that brilliant intro riff and giving another small heavier section could have done it. The following track "Over to You" is another track that Don Airey really makes. Now, "Over to You" is a VERY bad song, but his fluttering, dancing piano work that shoots in occasionally is the only good thing about it. Beyond that piano work, you've got a pretty terrible, uninspired Iommi riff, and a song that absolutely goes nowhere. None of the original Sabbath members are doing much of anything on this track besides the bare minimum to bring the album's run time up. It's not an offensive track, but it's absolutely one of the most boring the band would ever offer. I beg for it to end every time I listen to it.

Other than "Air Dance," "A Hard Road" is the only other track on the album that I get even the smallest bit of joy from listening to. It's still far from a great Sabbath song, and still, no one is really doing anything special on it, but it gets points from me for its sheer and utter catchiness. This is a song where, the moment I start to listen to Ozzy era Sabbath, or see the cover of this album, that chorus pops into my head, and gets stuck there for a while. The only other noteworthy thing about this song is that it's the only time all four Sabbath members sing. Damn is that chorus catchy, though. Speaking of the other Sabbath member's singing, Bill Ward takes lead vocals on "Swinging the Chain." This is another pretty okay track from the album. Iommi's riff, while too grainy and distorted for my taste, is very, very heavy and powerful. Bill Ward's voice is very good on this song, and it almost makes me think he should have been the lead singer all along. The chorus is much weaker than the verses, though. While, again, this track is far from outstanding, it gets a pass from me. I do want to note that I find it very fitting that the harmonica returns on this track, which I don't believe had been utilized by Sabbath since "The Wizard" on the debut. Even though Ozzy isn't playing it this time around, it definitely makes it feel like Sabbath knew this was the end of this lineup. This track's intro instrumental "Breakout" is also pretty fun with its horn section boosting the band.

The title track and "Shock Wave" are where this album suffers the most, though. The title track is so awful. My one note is that Geezer drops a really cool bassline on this track. One of his only standout moments on the album besides "Junior's Eyes." Iommi is, again, barely doing much of anything on this song, and for my money, this is one of the least 'Black Sabbath-y' tracks by Black Sabbath. This song sounds like it could have come from any pop rock band that was around at the time. Not Black Sabbath. Ozzy's voice is AWFUL on this song. He tries to exhibit a high range on the verses, but you can physically hear him straining and struggling to hit the notes, and stay in tune. The chorus is also pathetic, so there's really not one element that salvages this song. "Shock Wave" is just incredibly boring and predictable, much like "Over to You" was. Iommi has an okay riff to start it off, and a nice solo later, but the song has pretty much no progression at all. It really just flounders around without any kind of progress until it ends. This is another track that I struggle not to zone out during when I listen to this album.

"Never Say Die" ends up being an incredibly dull and tired release that has very little to add to Black Sabbath's catalog. Honestly, though, I think we can all agree that both Sabbath and Ozzy needed a break at this point. If this split hadn't happened, I doubt they'd have done anything other than put out release after mediocre release. At least with the split, Ozzy could go on to do a solo career where his wife would use her marketing genius to swindle people into thinking he has any kind of real talent at all. More importantly, though, the musical geniuses Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler could finally get a singer on par with their own talent: Ronnie James Dio.

Unworthy of the Triforce - 52%

TrooperEd, July 31st, 2018
Written based on this version: 1988, CD, Warner Bros. Records

I always owned Never Say Die, but aside from one or two tracks given lip service, I never really gave it a thorough listen. I know you aren't supposed to let dodgy reputations keep one from listening to/enjoying an album, but that oblong album cover, combined with the fact that none of this stuff was ever played live after its mother tour didn't make Never Say Die very inviting.

Martin Popoff has claimed that Never Say Die was "more of a work of art than Heaven & Hell" because it was the perfect picture of a band completely falling apart. A snapshot of an unmitigated disaster so perfectly realized that it needs to be displayed for all to see. A "so bad it's good" album if you will. Sorry Marty, but reality TV, The Room, and those fucking shark movies sucked then and they suck now, and I don't care what the meta-text of an album is, if its bad, its bad.

I will say that the circumstances that brought this album to light to bring up some interesting straw-man killing fires. In the spirit of "Why couldn't Bon Scott sing on Back In Black," I'm sure Ozzy purists have whinged for a generation why it wasn't he who could have sung Children of the Sea and Heaven & Hell. But unlike Bonny being dead before ringing Hells Bells, the answer is a very simple: because Ozzy refused to sing them. Sabbath had written a large chunk of material while Ozzy pursued a solo career before being officially shit-canned, and in a strange diva-esque moment refused to sing any of what they had written. Matter of fact the band was simply so unable to re-write the album that some of those tracks just ended up on the album without Ozzy. Now, you know why Bill has lead vocals on Swinging the Chain (as opposed to certain looneys thinking he had a breakout performance with "It's Alright"). As for vice-versa, well Dio couldn't handle Sweet Leaf for very long on the Heaven & Hell tour (and standard opener Symptom of the Universe wasn't even touched), so I'm doubtful of his attempt to tackle notes that I'm sure Ozzy himself knows he won't be hitting for much longer.

I guess how bad Never Say Die is depends on what you're expectations are going in. If you are looking for a 1978 hard rock album, it still falls short of Van Halen, Stained Class, Hemispheres, Powerage and Long Live Rock & Roll, but you know what, it still rocks. There are plenty of solid songs and great riffs that if they were written by any other band, a hessian would find them perfectly acceptable. Status Quo fans in particular would swear A Hard Road escaped Shawshank Redemption style from the If You Can't Stand The Heat sessions. If you are looking for the dark, menacing outfit that brought you the wicked tales from the crypt such as War Pigs, Black Sabbath, Children of The Grave and Megalomania, you are up Rick James creek without neither crack pipe nor Charlie Murphy.

Still, I'd be lying if I said this album didn't have it's moments (that Hard Road riff being one of them), most of them being in the first half of the album. I was rather shocked how well Johnny Blade held up when I revisited the album in full. If there's any song that could have gone on any of the classic Sabbath albums, it's this one. With a rolling snare drum rhythm as its backbone (Bill Ward is a diamond on this song), and a strange keyboard roll for atmosphere, Johnny Blade is a harrowing, if slightly cliched peek into gang culture. If this was on Technical Ecstasy, it would have been an improvement. Hell, this probably could have made Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath without too much of an issue. By the way, anyone who thinks this song has anything to do with glam metal is a damn fool. Glam metal is 4/4 hard rock with way too much swing, pop and femininity. This is nothing of the sort. I remember in one of those "Sabbath invented every genre of metal" articles someone tried to make the claim they invented hair metal with Dirty Women. Granted they were wrong there too, but at least they were close there with lyrical similarities.

The general sound of Never Say Die is clear enough regarding individual instruments. Sensibly, Black Sabbath albums live and die on Iommi's guitar tone but unfortunately we're still stuck in this strange, sterile 70s sound that hampered Technical Ecstasy (and Heaven & Hell for that matter). This is Ozzy's voice is also starting to deteriorate, showing shades of the almost whiny wail we're used to on the first few Ozzy solo albums. Bill, in spite of the band collapsing all around him, sounds the most inspired he's been in years, dolling out swings, rolls and fills to envy (see the aforementioned Johnny Blade and Junior's Eyes for the standout performances).

Now, how bad does the album get? Again, it depends on your expectations. Some listeners might think Sabbath was already down the shitter when they tuned the guitars back up to standard after a four album downtuned grand slam. So maybe the first notes of the title track signal the ear AIDS. But the tracks that are just post Thanksgiving chores after to get through are Breakout and Air Dance. Breakout is a dull instrumental based around an even duller riff with a saxophone soloing aimlessly over it. Yes, a saxophone, and the whole thing sounds like an 80's sitcom theme. I don't care where you are on the rock spectrum, no self-respecting band should be sounding like a sitcom (for an example of the saxophone done right in metal, go look up Necromantia's Scarlet Evil Witching Black). Air Dance starts like a throwaway track before descending into some really bizarre lounge sweet. You know how everyone tells you Fear Is The Key is a terrible song, then you listen to it anyway for curiosity, hear that awesome riff and wonder what the hell is wrong with everyone, only to be blindsided by that beyond dumb "lies and lies and lies" bridge? That's what Air Dance is, without the awesome riff at the beginning. Then there are just stupid little moments throughout the album that were thrown in out of desperation at Luke's Wall in the hopes they would stick, but end up sabotaging the song. The flourishing piano licks in Over To You; the ooo ooos in Shock Wave; the pathetically sung "don't you ever say die" in the bridge of the title track. Even the "why make a hard road, why can't we be friends" backing vocals in A Hard Road keeps me from giving that one full marks. There's also the overall feeling that this has just all been done before, and not in the fun "so what, let's do it again" Motorhead way.

Never Say Die was where something had to give. Fortunately it was Ozzy, and we got two great bands instead of one tired band. Everyone could agree and enjoy Blizzard of Ozz and Heaven & Hell with equal admiration and respect, with no bickering or line-drawing for decades to come. Approach with extreme caution. Or don't, and best let popular consensus think it was Shigeru Miyamoto who invented that iconic triangle design.

Blues and hard rock swansongs - 77%

kluseba, July 12th, 2017

Black Sabbath's Never Say Die! is a quite underrated record and at the same time the end of an era since it's the band's last output with the original line-up. Some records that followed this one were great and even better than this release but I don't really consider them Black Sabbath albums. Call me closed-minded in this particular case but Black Sabbath's unique, typical and revolutionary sound is what makes the band's first eight albums so special. Even though Never Say Die! is far from the band's best output, it's still a great and important release in the history of heavy rock and heavy metal that anyone interested in the roots of these genres should know and own.

Many people criticize the record for its lack of heaviness and its sound that is overall closer to hard rock than to heavy metal but this slight change of style gives this album an own identity without denying its roots. Ozzy Osbourne's psychedelic vocals are still imperfectly perfect, Tony Iommi's riffs are as gripping and heavy as they always used to be, Geezer Butler's bass guitar work doesn't simply follow the lead guitar but has its own shining moments and shows a musician who developed his own style with each album and Bill Ward's drumming runs like clockwork and sounds much more focused than on earlier records. Especially the rhythm section delivers an outstanding job on this release while guitarist and singer are on a constant high level.

There are a few weaker cuts in the second half of the record for sure but the album has a series of highlights in the first half that make you forget about the record's downsides. The opening title song is catchy, refreshing and uplifting and surprises positively as a vivid rocker with a positive vibe that shows that the band was trying out new things on this output. ''Johnny Blade'' is a slightly more complex and epic rocker that tells one of the most intriguing stories Black Sabbath has ever told. The melancholic ''A Hard Road'' with its multiple backing vocals is a successful collaborative effort in a time when the band was already about to fall apart. My personal highlight is though ''Junior's Eyes'' which is one of the very best Black Sabbath songs ever written and an incredibly underrated gem. The song unites the strengths from the band's earliest releases and the last two albums of the original line-up. On one side, the song has gloomy lyrics and sinister bass guitar sounds but on the other side, the track is much more playful and vivid like several songs from the last two albums of the seventies with a mid-tempo guitar work and powerful and tight drumming. Other bands would have dreamed to have such a song in their repertoire but Black Sabbath didn't even play this song live as far as I'm informed. It's quite impressive that the band was able to pull off such a track despite the tension in the band and the heavy drug use beyond creative inspiration.

Even some of the odder tracks in the second half have their charm. I somehow like the plodding closer ''Swinging the Chain'' where drummer Bill Ward performed vocals because Ozzy Osbourne refused to sing this song. To my surprise, Bill Ward does a solid job and would make a great singer in a blues rock band. Heavy metal purists might dislike the track just as most parts of this album but if you take this release as a hard rock or blues rock release, one has to say that it's above average and has numerous highlights despite a more vapid middle section.

In the end, there are two approaches to this album. Those who believe that Black Sabbath must play gloomy heavy or doom metal and try to compare this release to the band's first six records or anything released after the split of the original line-up, might find this record lackluster. However, if you are open to accept that the band experimented here and there and adopted a sound inspired by blues and hard rock, then you will enjoy this release. The previous record Technical Ecstasy had a similar approach but was overall very hit-and-miss. Never Say Die! sounds more experienced, focused and fresh and includes an absolute band highlight with ''Junior's Eyes'' as well as several other average to very good songs. A true stinker is nowhere to be found. I like this album for what it is and even though it isn't the perfect swansong for the original line-up, it presents a charismatic band open to experiment and break genre boundaries which has always distinguished Black Sabbath. From that point of view, Never Say Die! is a typical Black Sabbath album that might not reach the quality of some of the band's earlier works but which easily beats its predecessor.

Much Better Album Than it's Reputation Suggests... - 90%

rbright1674, February 12th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1978, 12" vinyl, Warner Bros. Records

1978's "Never Say Die!" has the unfortunate connotation (along with 1995's "Forbidden") of being "The worst Black Sabbath album ever". It's easy to see why it gets tagged as such - 1978 was not a great year for Ozzy, Tony, Geezer and Bill, and to say that they were not functional as a band would be a massive understatement. Drugs and booze and apathy had slowly disintegrated them into a flailing morass of a unit, and the musical peaks and artistic integrity they'd achieved with "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" and "Sabotage" seemed like a dream from another life, rather than just a few short years in the rear view mirror. It seemed as if it was a completely different band, and in some regards, that's probably not far removed from the truth. Ozzy had briefly left the band in 1977 and flirted with the idea of fronting a different project, and even when he returned, it was clear his heart wasn't in it anymore. Tony Iommi had all but become supreme deity in the band due to the fact that somebody needed to steer the ship and nobody else had the capacity to manage it.

"Never Say Die!" has an end result of being a Sabbath album that's far more reliant on jazz and moderate rock than on the crushing heaviness and scary imagery that Black Sabbath had been known for previously. But Sabbath excelled as musicians no matter what imagery the album may or may not have had and with that understanding, it's not unpleasant.

What actually elevates it up from the dung heap is that Tony, Geezer and Bill were (and are to this day) fantastic musicians who excel at pretty much anything they do - so much so that, even when it's bad, it's still rather good. Nobody can argue that "Never Say Die!" lacks the intensity of previous efforts, and is musically a huge departure from the norm, but taken for what it is and not what it should be, it's a remarkably solid album full of consistent, easily listenable and enjoyable performances. Of course, one can also argue that Black Sabbath were never a band above experimenting with different musical styles from "Vol. 4" and beyond, and to that end, "Never Say Die!" certainly follows suit in that fashion.

Lyrically, the band offers a lot of different themes here - from looking to the horizon hopefully ("A Hard Road"), cryogenic nightmares ("Shock Wave"), the perspective of an aging dancer ("Air Dance", which features some amazing keyboard work by Don Airey), and a referential song about Ozzy and his at the time recently deceased father ("Junior's Eyes"), there's not a lot of evil themes to be found anywhere. The final tracks, "Breakout" and "Swinging the Chain", are full on jazz themed rockers and a surprising amount of fun to listen to!

Understanding that "Never Say Die!" is an appropriate record depicting where Sabbath's mindset was at that time is the first key to enjoying it. Most of the negativity that surrounds the album is maybe understandable to fans who would have liked more along the lines of a "Master of Reality" theme, but the vitriol that gets heaped on this particular outing infers that the musicianship and songwriting is sub-par, when that's certainly not the case. It's actually a step up from "Technical Ecstasy", even if it does follow the same direction as that album.

It's an interesting anomaly in the Black Sabbath discography, but it's definitely a benchmark album depicting what was to become a very critical time in their history and it's definitely worth the listen, provided you can take your goggles off. It's of course nowhere near what their first six albums were regarding quality, but it's also nowhere near as awful as some other reviews might lead you to think.

Never Say Die? - 75%

enshrinedtemple, November 15th, 2015

Never Say Die? Well to many Sabbath purists, this was the end of the band as Ozzy would sing his last tunes with Sabbath. Truly each musician carried on and Ozzy did his solo band but for decades this was the original Sabbath's swan song. A vast departure from the doom and gloom they had previously conquered.

Everyone who knows anything about metal knows this band and knows what the stood for. They are the metal genre but at the same time they are so much more. Ultra heavy riffs that crush your soul were just part of their arsenal. While Sabbath will always be more popular for that style, they were really a Swiss Army knife when it came to genre hopping and musical styles. Constantly evolving and changing. Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die are often put at the bottom of the pecking order when it comes to top Sabbath albums. It is easy to say that they don't sound like the band, but I see it as a metamorphosis or a change.

Never Say Die is far from a perfect album or even a classic album. It has its moments of brilliance and a great number of shock value when listening to it for the first time. Sabbath play a lot of jazz and they experiment with a lot of different sounds. This was a turbulent time for the band with Ozzy’s troubles and the entire band with their cocaine. It is surprising that they didn't just go into the studio and cut some typical Sabbath that they were known for. Despite all their problems, they fill the album with essentially what a Sabbath fan would never expect.

That is what is to be loved about this album, its surprise factor. You get jazzy instrumentals, like in Breakout which is so out of left field. Bill Ward sings on a blues track Swinging the Chain. The title track is the albums Paranoid which goes at a breakneck speed. There is a little doom and gloom with Shockwave but the song sounds more upbeat and happy. The album when you break it down is really a train wreck of musical styles but somehow it works. Whether they were trying to fit in with the times or just too drugged up to care, Never Say Die proves to be another unique offering from the four men from Birmingham. I don't think it deserves the panning that it has gotten over the years (I mean Ozzy even hates it!) but I would think only a hardcore Sabbath fan would want to own this. If you understand the phrase Black Sabbath were like the Beatles of heavy metal, then this may be for you!

Technical Ecstasy pt. II - 68%

Doominance, February 19th, 2015

In 1978, Black Sabbath released their final album with Ozzy (for a long time) with 'Never Say Die!'. The band pretty much continued their experimentation with "softer" rock songs, much like on 'Technical Ecstasy', which was released two years prior to 'Never Say Die!'. As we all know, Black Sabbath had always made sure not to release the same album twice, so if you think that 'Sabotage' and 'Technical Ecstasy' were experimental, then think again, because 'Never Say Die!' takes it a step further.

Gone are the doom and gloom that most associate Black Sabbath with, but it's hardly a surprise considering the fact that a number of albums before 'Never Say Die!' were much "merrier" to the listener's ears than the band's creepy and bluesy self-titled debut album, the more traditional heavy metal-orientated 'Paranoid', the fuzzy and stoned groove-fest that was 'Master of Reality', and then of course the more experimental and progressive albums that followed suit.

By the time Black Sabbath released 'Sabotage', which is a brilliant album mind you, the tight-knit chemistry and friendship was beginning to dwindle due to personal issues; mainly caused by a large consumption of alcohol and drugs. 'Technical Ecstasy' can probably be considered a minor bump on the road, when compared to the albums released in prior to it, so how did 'Never Say Die!' fare? Well, pretty much similarly, only tensions within the band climaxed before, during and after the recording and the release of the album.

Critics, and especially fans of the band, weren't pleased with the direction Iommi and co. were heading. That became evident with 'Technical Ecstasy', but it increased with 'Never Say Die!'. And to be honest, Black Sabbath sounded tired.

There is a great deal of experimentation going on here with the band tapping into different genres, and not only within rock and metal, but also jazz. "Air Dance" is the best example of that on 'Never Say Die!'; a song that has a bittersweet sounding guitar and a dreamy piano driving the song. There is a tranquil section in the middle of the song with a spacey atmosphere before it breaks into this jazzy part. It doesn't sound like Black Sabbath at all, if you think of their glory days, but this is certainly not a bad song. In fact, I really like it. It's a very unique song. Furthermore, there is a horn section and a pretty rad saxophone solo on the instrumental track "Breakout", which extends the non-hard rock/metal elements on this record. Take it or leave it.

Like I mentioned earlier, there isn't a whole lot of metal going on on this album. The title-track is a fun rocker with a lot of cheese on it. It's a fun listen for a while, but it quickly becomes somewhat mediocre. Oh, and the main-riff sounds eerily familiar to Thin Lizzy's classic "The Boys Are Back In Town"! This brings me to another point of this record. It seems like riff-lord Iommi has taken a back-seat on 'Never Say Die!'. The music doesn't necessarily revolve around his amazing axe-work. In fact, it seems like Ozzy's voice is the driving-force here with Geezer following-up with some pretty neat basslines. Take for instance the song "Junior's Eyes". It's a great song in my opinion with a psychedelic guitar riff that hovers behind a groovy bassline and Ozzy's vocals. It's got a pretty infectious chorus and a decent guitar-solo from Iommi, but doesn't re-capture what he had done on previous albums. Not even close. Bill Ward isn't left out either. His drumming is always good, and like on 'Technical Ecstasy', he handles the vocals on album closer "Swinging the Chain"; a very bluesy rocker, in which he does pretty well as the vocalist.

There are some more straight-forward rockers present on 'Never Say Die!', too. "Johnny Blade" features a Rainbow-like keyboard/synth and a decent, rocking main-riff, but ultimately it fails to live up to its potential, as the song drags on for a bit too long. The same can be said about "A Hard Road". Totally mediocre. But, "Shock Wave" is better and features perhaps the best guitar-work by Iommi on this album.

To conclude this review, I have to say that 'Never Say Die!' is a decent album. It doesn't deserve the bashing that it gets (much like 'Technical Ecstasy'). It's misunderstood in the sense that it probably wasn't even meant to be a metal album (again, much like 'Technical Ecstasy'), but unfortunately, the relationship between the individuals of the band had hit rock-bottom, so instead of the natural, free-flow type of chemistry, it seems like a lot of the songs, if not all, are somewhat forced. The music didn't come out naturally like before, and it probably felt more like a chore than a fun hobby to record 'Never Say Die!'.

Credit where it's due, though. Black Sabbath wanted to explore further and push boundaries, like they always did, but the combination of faltering friendships, and other bad things caused by drugs and alcohol, the band probably bit more off than they could possibly chew with this record. So, to me, 'Never Say Die!' is basically 'Technical Ecstasy pt. II', only slightly weaker.

Ambivalence and drug excess; a recipe for success! - 40%

ConorFynes, June 4th, 2012

By this point in Black Sabbath's career, the album title seems to be a pretty spot-on indication of the band themselves realizing they were losing it. The band's past work "Technical Ecstasy" wasn't necessarily a bad album, but in the context of following six classics of heavy metal, it could only disappoint. Of course, based on what I had heard from others, I was not expecting much different from "Never Say Die!", the last album Black Sabbath would do before being revived by the vocal talents of the late Ronnie James. Although it's relieving to know that Sabbath would yet release some great material with Dio, "Never Say Die!" is a whimper, arguably even less successful than "Technical Ecstasy". Once again, Black Sabbath may not be total goners here, but they might as well be; the band's eighth studio album is one that should be overlooked.

Stylistically, Black Sabbath developed and tweaked their sound quite a bit within a few years, exploring heavy metal, progressive rock, and everything in between. Although it was no surprise to hear Sabbath doing something new in "Technical Ecstasy", their new, more straightforward hard rock style was void of both the heaviness and sophistication that defined each earlier album. "Never Say Die!" continues this lackluster rock sound, although the music is arguably even worse off. It's no secret that Black Sabbath had been going through some problems over the years leading up to this, and it's evident that the constant arguing and drug excess had gone too far. Although Sabbath still manage to cobble together a functional collection of songs, the performance feels muffled, and the songwriting seemingly done out of obligation rather than inspiration.

"Johnny Blade" is a perfect example of how far Sabbath had fallen. Although it still shares Iommi's thick riffing style and Ozzy's nasal vocals in common with an album like "Paranoid", nothing really stands out as being impressive, or even that much enjoyable. Whether the blame may be pointed towards the muffled production or the paint-by-numbers approach to his rock riffs, Tony Iommi feels like a declawed lion here, his usual genius with the guitar clouded by ambivalence and 'x' number of different drugs they were taking at the time. Even Ozzy's vocals- which had blown me away only years earlier with his delivery on "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" and "Sabotage"- are strained and lifeless.

"Never Say Die!" is not without its merits, of course. In particular, the song "Air Dance" is a refreshing break from the boring hard rock formula, taking in some unique jazz structures in a piece which could have fit into the band's 'prog' era easily. "Break Out" is also an interesting song, taking the jazz approach further with a big band arrangement and brilliant saxophone solo. These moments feel very out-of-place in the context of an album that sounds as if the band had given up on trying to progress their music any further. "Heaven & Hell" would hear the band playing with a revived vigour. "Never Say Die!" is fortunately not the end for Sabbath, but it's a dismal way to end the classic line-up for one of the greatest bands in rock history.

National Ding Bat - 47%

marktheviktor, February 5th, 2012

If you listen to this album, you can tell the band was essentially done. Yeah, you gotta love the irony of the album title. Never Say Die was recorded under awkward circumstances what with Ozzy returning after he had quit and the rest of the band had already started material with a replacement. Every classic band is entitled to a bad album. Everyone knows how abysmal Technical Ecstasy is. I have not heard it nor have the slightest interest in doing so. I will take everyone's word for it. So they got their bad album out of the way with that one. But what about Never Say Die? I repeat: this band was headed for a divorce. It's one of those albums where you listen to the songs and it's clear the group have gone as far as they can go or should have gone. And Black Sabbath-the original- at this point in time did not go out on top, unfortunately. I won't say Sabbath hit rock bottom as far as quality is concerned (we'll save that for the preceding album and Forbidden) but make no mistake: this is a bad record with some interesting moments in the guise of perhaps(under the circumstances) a couple good songs. You could even say it's one of those "interesting" bad albums. And I'll do you one better: there are times when it even stands out for me as a sort of antithesis to Sabotage.

In my review for that album, I praised Sabb-tastic songs such as Symptom of the Universe and Hole In The Sky among a few others but was critical of it for being top heavy; several overwrought tracks put the band's winning streak of great heavy metal albums to rest. But it's still a damn good album. Conversely, Never Say Die is not. But the two or three better tracks on it are preferable to the lackluster songs on Sabotage. It bears mentioning that Black Sabbath is even more rock-ish on this album than was the case for their 1975 album. Much more. And that isn't a good thing this time around. Johnny Blade, Junior's Eyes and Shock Wave to name a few of the songs clearly are proof.

Never Say Die is the highlight song by a long shot and I guess you could say it was the last classic heavy/doom metal track recorded by the most well known lineup. But even this song is very classic rock sounding with an opening riff bearing more than a passing resemblance to Thin Lizzy. I do like the song though. It's a worthy hit and probably deserves a place on the setlist and Sabbath greatest hits releases. It may still count for that classic Sabbath sound and it's one of those upbeat doom-ish songs the band was also known for. It also must be said that it's alot less heavy than even a song like Changes.

It's after that opening track where things get really strange. You will still know you're listening to Black Sabbath in most of these songs. Tony Iommi's droning riffs and Ozzy's vocals in general make sure of that., this album sure likes to pull the string and jerk the listener into a jazz/blues rock direction. I guess when the producer said "Hey guys, sober up, put that acid down, it's time to come back to Earth and record today", he didn't mean go back to playing as Earth!

I thought Over To You would be another pure heavy Sabbath track the way it started out-and it does remind me of Spiral City Architect-until..all that jazz! That's what the boys of Black Sabbath get with too much heroin and not enough LSD:that song. Things get progressively worse with Breakout; an improvisational boogie jazz romp that would make even a Deadhead accuse them of being goddamn hippies.

Swinging The Chain has Bill Ward taking vocals. So what does Bill Ward sound like? Surprisingly, not as bad as I imagined. As a matter of fact, it occurred to me upon hearing this that Wino from Saint Vitus really sounds alot closer to Bill Ward on Swinging The Chain than he does to Ozzy Osbourne. By the way, that band Vitus, recorded a song called Thirsty and Miserable which sounds somewhat like Swinging The Chain (but without the boogie rock chorus) which was a very fun song but better yet, lessened the overall blow of the badness of this one.

If you find yourself tempted to buy this album at the record store, buy it cheap. There are two good songs(the title track and Air Dance) but since Never Say Die crashes and burns, I recommend you get this mostly for the sheer tragicomic value.

Sabbath that almost was... - 99%

mudbog, April 24th, 2009

I can't believe this album is rated lower than Technical Ecstasy! Surely. I thought, people have more brains than to slough off this album as further evidence of Ozzy's decline and Sabbath's as well. I find this album to not only redeem the grotesque mistep of Technical Ecstasy but offers a view into a Sabbath that almost was. The band all play in top form, in ways they never had before, the album sounds livelier and fuller than its predecessor and it's still relegated to metal history's dustbin of record prejudice.

Sabbath doesn't get a lot of credit for being a progressive band. Indeed, held up against the legions of bands that invoke the famous Sabbath sound (the doom/stoner, downtuned guitar style so ubiquitous today) and without radioplay, Black Sabbath's true masterpieces go largely unnoticed. Songs like Fluff and Laguna Sunrise are the polar opposites of doom-and-gloom works like Into The Void or Electric Funeral and show that they were more than just a metal band or "The Godfathers of Doom". Black Sabbath albums progressed from lengthy blues-inspired jams to the infamous doom-sound until we reach Volume 4 and the creative lid is blown open. Here, they reached their peak sound, sort of like Opeth from MAYH through Blackwater Park. These albums saw more orchestration, an increased presence of keyboards and a very much matured sense of songcraft. The right combinations of life experience and drugs, basically.

After Sabotage, came the aforementioned crapfest known as Technical Ecstasy which coupled with the We Sold Out Souls best of, seemed to signal the downfall of the mighty. Ozzy was in and out of reality and Sabbath a lot these days and as the drama surrounding these times is well known, I think Never Say Die gets a bum rap. At first listen, it's a noticably different Sabbath that eschews its trademark stoner/doom sound for a lot of jazz, a little latin and some late 70s hard rock. There is a common theme of buildup and payoff in these songs with good riffs often giving way to great riffs like the breakdown in Johnny Blade or the money riff in Shock Wave. Never Say Die is a nonstop swinging rock song whilst A Hard Road is a blues paced rollicking sing-a-long.

Sabbath came full circle on this album as Never Say Die sports the most jazz influence since the self titled debut. Junior's Eyes' bass and drum fade in sound culled from some live jam, like something you'd here between songs. An earlier version of this song (performed with Dave Walker of Fleetwood Mac on vocals during on of Ozzy's breaks) goes straight into the heavy riffing and features a much more pronounced blues-rock influence. Air Dance is IMO Sabbath's most progressive song since Who Are You but in even more extremity. The first part of the song has a Santana vibe with the only distortion being Tony's latin-jazz inspired licks. The second half, after a quiet interlude breaks into a solo section you'd expect to hear from a fusion group like Return to Forever or Weather Report. Over To You features lush, cascading pianos, both underlying and accenting key sections. Breakout is bold and with the brass arrangement calls to my mind an extended G.E. Smith & the SNL Band jam during commercials.

The only weak moment on the album is Swinging the Chain. Its a good song, yet unremarkable and coupled with the lack of Ozzy, no small wonder it's the last song. Leaving out on a blues-rock jam we say goodbye to one of the greatest bands in music's history. Had they kept it together, there's no telling what Sabbath could have done, expanding on the template they set up on Never Say Die. Instead, we got Randy Rhoads and the long reign of King Ozzy (79-95), while Sabbath shined briefly with Dio and sank into the mire. I love the s/t and I feel that Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath is their masterpiece but this is probably the album I listen to the most.

Ozzy's last stand is a mixed bag - 85%

Satanwolf, May 14th, 2007

"Never Say Die" is Ozzy Osbourne's studio last album with Black Sabbath (not including a couple of studio tracks found on the live album "Reunion"). By the end of the seventies, tensions between band members became so strained that Ozzy would be dismissed from the band after a tour for this album.

The music on "Never Say Die" is a mixed bag, and like underrated predecessor "Technical Ecstacy" finds Sabbath exploring some new musical ground. However unlike "Technical," Sabbath has lost the focus on their classic heavy sound. The album features a couple of ballads and jazz experimentations. This digression from the metal style is evident on several of the tracks. Songs on the lighter side include "Junior's Eyes," "Air Dance," "Over to You," and jazz instrumental "Breakout," which features a horn section.

But just because several of the tracks can't rightly be called heavy metal doesn't mean that the album sucks. All of the aforementioned songs are fine compositions, although "Over to You" may be my least favorite Sabbath song ever. "Beautiful" wouldn't be a word often used to describe Sabbath's music, but "Air Dance" is indeed a beautiful, sad and melancholy track about lost youth and dreams of yesterday.

And there's no lack of heaviness:The opening title track is upbeat and features some great riffing and melodic chordwork from Tony Iommi. "Johnny Blade" is one of the album's heaviest songs, a misanthropic tale of life on the streets, with a menacing keyboard intro from session keyboardist Don Airey (later of Rainbow and Deep Purple). "A Hard Road' is a strong rocker which finishes with a singalong chorus, and the very heavy and doomy "Shockwave" lyrically could be 'Black Sabbath" (the song) part two. The album finishes with "Swinging the Chain," a solid if unspectacular rock song sung by drummer Bill Ward (Ozzy is conspicuous in his absence here).

Sadly, "Never Say Die" has for years been trashed by critics and fans alike. If one approaches the album with an open mind, and enjoys the music rather than focusing on the fact that this is the original lineup's swansong, one will find much variety to enjoy here.

A sad end to the original lineup. - 60%

erickg13, November 29th, 2006

After Ozzy Osbourne briefly left Black Sabbath, it would have been easy to think that Sabbath's original lineup was done. But, alas he reunited with his comrades in the Sab Four, and one more album was made, titled, ironically, "Never Say Die!".

That said, "Never Say Die!" perfectly sums up the band at this point, unfocused, tense, and druggy. Also evident is a complete disinterest of what the band is doing. They seem to no longer be working as a unit, but merely four men waiting to get out of this mess.

But there are a few bright spots. Most notably is the title track, which is catchy, simple and moreover fun, it isn't a signature Sabbath track, but is actually very good. Quite an encouraging start, sadly everything falls from there. Also, "Juniors Eye" is a halfway enjoyable song, besides that there isn't much here.

Why Black Sabbath ever introduced synthesizer's may never be known, but songs like "Johnny Blade" are just kind of boring and are prime examples of where it need not be used.

Also worth noting is "Swinging the Chain", which features drummer Bill Ward on vocals, and it becomes very clear why he became a drummer and not a singer. His singing isn't mediocre, but it's nothing to brag about, and the song just sounds like a Deep Purple b-side.

Overall Black Sabbath's "Never Say Die!" is quite a bland end to the original era of the band. As it would happen Ozzy left the band once again and started his solo career with bang. While the band reformed with vocalist Ronnie James Dio and produced 2 more albums, with the original instrumentalists and some may say their dignity still intact. It must be stressed that this is a bland and generic album, and the only reason to get it is to have all the albums by the original lineup.

Never Had a Prayer - 47%

DawnoftheShred, November 20th, 2006

Never Say Die is the eighth and final full studio album to be recorded by the original Black Sabbath, a title that it will likely never lose given the members’ ages and current relationship. Ozzy Osbourne had already quit the band at this point; Tony Iommi somehow wrangled him back for a final album and tour, which despite what Sabbath’s Number One Fan will tell you, was most notable as the one where the young whipper-snappers in Van Halen upstaged the crud out of the addled doom legends. The accompanying album fared little better: a spent, burnt out Sabbath farting around with watered down art rock arrangements and senseless experimentation, making the Technical Ecstasy record from two years prior seem positively dazzling by association. To date, it is one of only two Sabbath records I can’t bring myself to purchase, which is quite the feat considering my long-time affection for the band. A new album with Ozzy singing should eventually surface, so let us recall this disasterpiece, and how a new Black Sabbath record probably won't be worse than this one. Although then again, things can always somehow get worse, as this album's tracklist so eloquently demonstrates.

The titular track is both opener and centerpiece, being perhaps the only song off the album to remain in the public consciousness since its release. That main chord progression is awfully reminiscent of a certain super-famous Thin Lizzy rocker, but what the heck, it was good enough for Dave Mustaine, so it’s certainly good enough for me. It’s straightforward and energetic and doesn’t rely on Don Airey’s keyboard contributions like so many of the album’s later tracks. Not very heavy metal at the end of the day, but it’s good fun for sure, first in a long line of born winners that Ozzy Osbourne would somehow always manage to be a part of, regardless of how terrible any given album of his might manage to be. A strong start indeed: it is immediately afterward that the album begins to unravel. Iommi and Butler’s performance starts to lean away from the outright forward heaviness that had carried them more or less successfully through seven albums and start to blend into the background, highlighting vocals and playing off the keyboard melodies. This isn’t necessarily a recipe for disaster, but when it’s two of metal’s best riff-crafters pulling punches, it’s a serious no-no.

From “Johnny Blade” onward, the Sabbath boys seem intent on being like Led Zeppelin: not as far as sonic similarities, but as far as trying to adapt themselves to alien genres. Remember how Zeppelin used to hop around in the back half of their career? Breaking out of their hard rock/blues/folk niche into reggae (“D’yer Mak’er”), calypso (“Fool in the Rain”), synth pop (“All of My Love”), rock and roll (“Candy Store Rock,” er... “Rock and Roll”), symphonic rock (“Kashmir”) etc., diversity was strived for, achieved, and often made interesting. This is Sabbath attempting roughly the same thing in a less extravagant manner, the key difference being that it’s not Led Zeppelin doing it, but Black “in the fields the bodies burning” fucking Sabbath, and is imaginably inferior. Not that they haven’t earned the right to try something different, but that they are (were) Black Sabbath and have no reason to do anything drastic like this, as Technical Ecstasy so eloquently proved to us. Anyway, “Johnny Blade” is the first diversion into alternative styles, in this case synth rock. Not quite Europe “Final Countdown” hook depravity, but in the same ballpark. It kind of works, mostly in the slower, regressive bridge, but it requires serious dissociation in the listener’s mind from the Sabbath of old.

Same goes for the rest, but the job gets harder. “Junior’s Eyes” rides a funk-ish bass line for much of its length and features some rather unpleasant attempts by Iommi at psychedelic lead fills. While not yet degrading himself to Heil Talk Box shenanigans, this makes for a rather annoying verse sequence, though even I’ll admit Ozzy’s vocal hook in the chorus is memorable. “A Hard Road” is more conventional, kind of like the blues rock other bands were playing in ’72 while Sabbath was crushing out “Under the Sun.” Unlike that killer, this piece overstays its welcome. “Shock Wave” is a curious one: it’s a limp-wristed lyrical revival of the evil spirits that haunted past Sabbath classics married to cheery Frampton-esque pop rock. And that “woo woo” bit at the end… what’s that sound? Ah yes, here comes the suck train! Whistle’s blowing, all aboard!

As strange as this journey seems to be already, things get stranger still. “Air Dance” is the first of the Jazz Sabbath mini-odysseys, with Don Airey’s piano taking lead here in such a baffling manner that I can’t decide if it’s bollocks or brilliance. It’s like a sampling of the prog rock band they secretly wished to have been. “Over to You” is the second, playing like a slower, non-transcendental “Spiral Architect.” Again, it’s a pretty bizarre, acquired taste sort of thing that seems to inspire either revelry or revulsion depending on the individual. After this, we finally get the nose dive into an empty pool that this album’s been skirting around from track two. “Breakout” is a non-Sabbath jazz/ska diversion that’s mostly a brass solo, while “Swinging the Chain” is, in a rare moment of good taste, the one track so banal that even Ozzy Osbourne refused to sing on it. Bill Ward does a better job vocally here than on “It’s Bullshit Alright” from the last album, but it’s still redundant blues rock that, along with the penultimate track, lines the bottom of Sabbath’s songwriting barrel. It would be many, many years with mostly different members before Sabbath would sink this low again.

Satan, laughing, spreads his wings. Black Sabbath, sucking, spreads theirs and promptly tears themselves apart. For the Sabbath completionist, this album should be near the end of your list, right around Forbidden and Cash-Grab Greatest Hits Volume 15. Just because it probably could’ve been worse doesn’t mean that it’s not still pretty terrible. It can always be worse, after all. Right Ozzy?

Die. - 51%

westknife, August 8th, 2004

Never Say Die! isn’t the same tripe-filled bore fest that Technical Ecstasy is, but it’s not exactly terrific, either. Instead of saving their one standout song until the end, they hit you with it upfront. So basically, instead of leaving you on a positive note, they have you listen through the whole album wondering “when’s the next good song?” until “Swinging the Chain” just leaves you depressed and having to take a shit. But hell, let’s talk about the title track! It is one mighty good song if you ask me, and certainly one of the highlights of the later Ozzy years of Black Sabbath. Its main driving riff is a LITTLE too close for comfort to Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back in Town,” but I can look the other way, due to the awesome nature of the song. A strong melody, a well-grounded structure, and a killer guitar solo at the end – it’s great even when he goes “never say diiiiiieeeee” at the end! I love this freakin’ song.

“Johnny Blade” is a decent song, although not up to the standard set by the title track. It seems that Sabbath has somewhat regained their ability to ride a nice groove, probably due to the easing up of synths on this album in general. This isn’t the greatest thing in the world, but it’s good to see something good come out of this band before they break up (the following year). The lyrics, while not up to the usual Sabbath standard, are at least interesting (about something you can actually understand and follow).

“Junior’s Eyes” is next, not really offering much variation in terms of the flow of the album, but still an enjoyable song. It sounds pretty much like the song before it, which is a definite negative. Also, the riffs can be a little dry at times, and the performance certainly isn’t as spot-on as earlier Sabbath. However, I do enjoy listening to this song, and I would be proud of it if I had written it. It’s just that I tend to hold Black Sabbath to a higher standard than I hold myself.

“A Hard Road” was one of the intended singles of the album (along with the title track), and ironically it starts to drag the album down a little. It starts out quite nicely, with a bluesy guitar riff and a decent melody. There are a few problems with this song, though: first of all, the lyrics are atrocious. They are pure cliché, nothing but tripe. The other major problem is that it is way too repetitive, and by the end you’re just like, “Shut up already!” And also, I could do without Bill Ward’s backing vocals.

“Shock Wave” is another song, pretty much like the others. I feel like I’m repeating myself, but it has everything the other songs have: bad lyrics, decent but flat riffs, and a definite cheesy overtone. By this time, I’m getting a little tired of listening to the album, and I could still do without Bill Ward’s backing vocals.

“Air Dance” is the song that regains my attention after the first few same-y songs. Opening with a delicious dual guitar riff, it quickly turns into a soft, jazzy ballad with piano. The piano here actually complements the song, rather than bogging it down (like EVERY other time they have used piano in the past). And there is some sick power metal shit in the middle there. I’ve got to admit, I wholeheartedly enjoy this song, down to the final synth-filled fadeout. It shows that the band was still trying to branch out and try new creative things, even at this late, tired stage in their career.

“Over to You” - *yaaawwwn* Yep, this song sucks the big one. I don’t know what killed it – Ozzy’s annoying vocals, the blatantly bad guitar riffs, or the incessant overproduction. Whatever it was, the song turned out to be a stinker.

What the hell is “Breakout”??? If they mean to break out of the mold, I guess they succeeded, but it’s still a pretty awful song. I cannot possibly understand the motive behind creating this song. “Let’s make a song with horns in it!” Well fine, that’s a swell idea, but first you have to WRITE A SONG!!! There is really nothing good I can say about this song, except maybe that they tried to make something different. This really is nails on a chalkboard.

…Well folks, if you thought “Breakout” was bad, wait till you hear “Swinging the Chain”! Bill Ward sings this song, poorly. The riffs aren’t *terrible*, but they definitely have a high cheese factor. And those falsetto screams are atrocious. What was he thinking? This song sounds like Deep Purple on crack. No, not on crack – in the hospital with brain cancer. Actually, I’m sorry I even brought Deep Purple into this. When he sings “We’re so sorry that it happened that way,” I feel like he’s apologizing for how bad the song is. Ugh.

Overall, Never Say Die! is a little better than its predecessor Technical Ecstasy, but not by much. “Air Dance” and the title track are truly worthy of the Black Sabbath title, but the rest of the album ranges from mediocre to unlistenable. I would recommend this album only if you really NEED all the Sabbath albums. Otherwise, just download the two songs worth hearing. I hate to endorse illegal activity, but this album fucking deserves it.

An atrocity against man and beast alike - 29%

UltraBoris, March 25th, 2004

Oh man... so this album starts off almost promising. There's a few times where you grate your teeth and think "holy fuck this is cheesy", but you keep hanging on, because you hope that if it maintains this constant level of quality, it will stay okay... except unfortunately, this is like what happens in the cartoons, where Wile E. Coyote gets dropped off a cliff, and it takes him two songs to figure out that he's fucked, no matter what, and from that point on it's complete anguish all the way down.

Well, there's the title track... sorry, but this song is fucking awesome. I have no idea why I like it so much, because the middle part "don't you... ever say die" features Ozzy at his most pathetic, but somehow it just plain works. Then again, I like the "shout it out, we are together now" part in Ram it Down, so maybe I'm just fucking stupid, and what do I know, honestly. Oh yeah, the very end, the pitch-shifted "never say die..." thing sucks, but hey, that's only one second, so it's all good.

Johnny Blade is actually a cool song... then again, I like Aldo Nova, and this sounds similar, so of course I'm expected to like it. It's got some nifty keyboard parts, and the final solo rules. The vocals are totally phoned-in, and the chorus is kinda forced, especially with the total dynamic abuse of turning up EVERYTHING by 9dB in the chorus (brilliantly backwards sound engineering there), but ya know, for a late-70s keyboard rocker, this is okay. Of course, the cheese factor is maximal. Black Sabbath begat heavy metal on their first 6 albums. On this one, they gave rise to the runt of the litter: Bon Jovi. Oh yeah and the song could have two minutes taken out of the middle of it, and it would be a lot better.

The rest of the album... oh Jeebus creeping monkey-scrotum appendage flagellating me repeatedly!!!

I can't quite pinpoint what's wrong with Junior's Eyes, other than the fact that it relies on one bass riff to carry it for over six minutes, and thus ends up being flat out boring. Also, Ozzy cannot pronounce the word "junior" correctly. Heh, heh, he said "wiener". That's right, Beavis.

Hard Road just fucking sucks. Oh, it's a hard road. Isn't that from Little Orphan Annie or something?? Gimme a break.

Shockwave starts out pretty cool, although if you listen to the bass carefully, you can hear Back Street Kids. Then, when it slows down, disaster happens. It's here that you hear that, by this point in his career, Ozzy is no longer "the dude from Black Sabbath that sang on Sabotage" - it's FECES FECEBOURNE!!!

HEEYYY KIDDSS!!! Who do you love????


How much do you love me????


What would I do if I got replaced with Ronnie James Dio????

WE'D KILL OUR... no wait, we would rejoice, motherfucker.

This is the Ozzy that brought down Randy Rhoads's appearances on his first two solo albums... the same Ozzy that flips himself over on a dirtbike in the name of entertainment. This isn't the guy that sang "what is this.... that stands before me??" This is Sharon's manslut.

Yeah, Shockwave sucks, when all is said and done. Hoo hoo. Isn't that that terrible song from Steve Miller that has that "hoo hoo" part in it? Yes, I do believe it is. If you listen carefully, you can pinpoint the exact moment where Tony Iommi decides it absolutely necessary that Dave Walker be brought into the band!

Air Dance takes one really really shitty riff and plays it over and over again for a while, before going into a dumb keyboard-ballad thingey. This is horrendous. This is disastrous. Could it be that it was only 20 minutes ago that I was listening to Johnny Blade and thinking "this could be better if the sound engineer's brain hadn't been replaced with antifreeze"? This is some lounge-music shit, and oh how the mighty have fallen.


Over to You... "so keep on rockin' me, baby..." I forget which song that is, or which band, but it's a classic rock staple, and this song sounds EXACTLY like it, except dumber and having the most annoying human being on the planet at the vocals helm. Then - and I am not making this up - it descends into keyboard-based lounge-music. WHAT, AGAIN?? Elections, Quimby! Elections! Quality increase necessary to maintain credibility!

Speaking of credibility (Insufferable Blows Thereto department) Break Out is Black Sabbath's foray into disco music. I wish I were kidding. I wish "Black Sabbath's foray into disco music" were just a Regurgitated Cow Fetus song title, with absolutely no bearing in physical reality, sorta like "being anally violated with an entire warehouse". This is worse, because this is true. But it kinda feels similar.

Swinging the Chain sounds like a fourth-rate Deep Purple ripoff. It's got Bill Ward on vocals, and it sounds really like someone attempted to try doing Warpig, which is an early-70s band that sounded a bit like Deep Purple, except not nearly as good... and doing Warpig not nearly as well as Warpig did Warpig. Entirely forgettable bullshit, and the random squeaky noises in the background don't help. Oh man, this album really takes a fucking dive.

AVOID AVOID AVOID... you know the drill. This is Black Sabbath's Point of Entry, except it's worse than Judas Priest's Point of Entry.