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Revisiting Black Sabbath's "Technical Ecstasy" Album

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

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An Experimental Album for Black Sabbath

Release Date: September 25, 1976

Genre: heavy metal and hard rock with a bit of a more technical sound to it

Technical Ecstasy is the 1976 and 7th studio album by British hard rock and heavy metal band Black Sabbath and it may sound really funny referring to this legendary British band as a heard rock band but Technical Ecstasy is the album that is a total departure from their earlier darker, more doom metal based albums. Listening to this album on this day for the very first time (November 13, 2021), this album sounds a lot heavier than 1976 equipment and technology would have made it sound.

A view of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom.

A view of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom.

One Significant Factor About the Album Technical Ecstasy

Even if some of us may dislike Ozzy Osbourne because of his personality, Black Sabbath even at this time period was a strong band musically. Technical Ecstasy was released at a time when punk music was a really popular brand of music. In his autobiography called I Am Ozzy Ozzy admitted that he had begun to consider leaving the band at this time. Looking back, Ozzy being fired from Black Sabbath was much better for their career.

This Album Was Created During a Time of Turmoil for Black Sabbath

Even though the band members were all having addiction issues, Osbourne’s weird personality and behaviors would have killed the band’s creative chances and ambition, leaving them in a mess. Ozzy staying in the band for the long term may have even led the members to drifting even further apart as they would have clashed musically. Even Iommi wanted Black Sabbath to sound a certain way and Ozzy would not have been comfortable with the changes. These frustrations can even be detected in the songs such as “Rock ‘n’ Roll Doctor” which is a humorous attempt to describe getting “blown away” by a doctor that can cure rock ‘n’ roll blues.

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"She's Gone"

The Kind of Album That Technical Ecstasy Really Is

Seven albums in, they had pretty much a consistent lineup of members but that would obviously change after 1978. You can look at Technical Ecstasy as an experimental kind of album and it certainly is, but this was an album that was released that allowed Black Sabbath to grow as a band and they would eventually really get even better in 1980 and 1981. “Back Street Kids” is the song that begins this album and it sounds like something Judas Priest wrote around this time only significantly heavier and listening to this, you can tell that it is heavier than what a typical rock song would have sounded like back then. I’m not the biggest Ozzy Osbourne fan but he was able to become famous and establish himself because of the rise of Black Sabbath. Sometimes we think and imagine what if Ozzy had left Black Sabbath earlier instead of being eventually fired? Ronnie James Dio may have joined them earlier perhaps and we may have had more albums released with Dio. Regardless of what-if scenarios, the guitar play by Tony Iommi in this album is still good enough even for him as this album was just a warm-up musically for him. Technical Ecstasy also features a lead vocal performance by drummer Bill Ward in the song “It’s Alright.” It gave Ozzy a temporary sort of break from doing the lead vocals and also Ozzy isn’t by any means an elite vocalist.

A Better Album Than Some May Give It Credit For

Technical Ecstasy is an album that should not be that heavily criticized because it is not that bad of an album. However, it does not have the strong songwriting and riffs that we heard even five years prior in 1971 with songs such as “Children of the Grave.” There are memorable moments in this album such as the ballad song “She’s Gone” which lyrically tells the story of a heartbroken man who misses the woman that he really wants to be with.

© 2021 Ara Vahanian

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