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Misunderstood and underappreciated metal. - 95%

Satanwolf, May 14th, 2007

Technical Ecstacy," Black Sabbath's seventh studio album, is a very misunderstood and underappreciated album. Released at the height of the punk movement and just as disco was beginning it's ascent to popularity, the album was very much out-of-style and commercially was less successful than previous albums.

Sad, because there is much heaviness to enjoy here. Side one (of the cassette copy, at least; the CD starts with "Back Street Kids.") begins with "All Moving Parts(Stand Still), a futuristic, Orwellian-themed track and a fine example of the crushing heavy metal sound Sabbath is known for. Featuring some excellent bass playing from Geezer Butler and scorching lead guitar playing from Tony Iommi, the song is a fine example of the "technical" style found herein. "Rock and Roll Doctor" also lives up to it's name, a grooving, almost boogie-style number.

Next is "She's Gone," which, although a ballad, is the most depressing song ever written! And as such it fits perfectly with Sabbath's doom metal style. "Dirty Women" returns to the heavy direction, a tale of Osbourne's late-night search for female companionship. "Dirty Women" is another live favorite, featuring at the end of the song an amazing extended guitar solo from Tony. 'Back Street Kids" is another solid metal song about rebellion and the rock lifestyle. "You Won't Change Me" begins with one of Iommi's doomiest riffes ever before mellowing a bit, another fine number and a great vocal performance from Ozzy.

"It's Alright" is drummer Bill Ward's debut as lead vocalist, another ballad which may be atypical of Sabbath's style but is a fine song nonetheless. The album ends with "Gypsy," featuring Ward's best drum work on the album and Ozzy's account of a mysterious, fortune-teiing female.

Critics of this album need to listen to the music, rather than comparing it to whatever music was popular in the mainstream or focusing on deteriorating relationships within the band. "Technical Ecstacy" does not deserve its somewhat bad reputation, for it is a fine album featuring some great heavy metal songs. The album also displays a growing diversity and need to explore new musical styles while remaining in the context of what Black Sabbath is best appreciated for. Simply put, this album jams and I highly recommend it to any Sabbath/metal fan.