Sound — 8
Ah, Black Sabbath: a band full of heavy metal legends. Now, think for a second. Take away the demonic undertones in their music, the sludgy relentless guitar riffing, and factor in an occasional vocal performance from drummer, Bill Ward, and what do you get? 1976's Black Sabbath offering, "Technical Ecstasy." In a traditional sense, it's a curveball when compared to their previous six studio albums, but do not let that turn you away. It's a fairly decent album, especially given that the mid-1970s were the rockiest point in Black Sabbath's career. Riddled with spacey synthesizers and keyboards, Sabbath strayed away from their dark and glooming songcraft and, in the process, created some synthy gems, such as "She's Gone." In some spots, you can definitely spot some progressive influence, given the amount of experimentation that was exhausted on this album. Furthermore, it showcases the true flexibility of Tony Iommi's guitar work. Overall, the sound is nothing short of spectacular. Some high points can be found in "Rock N' Roll Doctor" and the seven minute epic, "Dirty Women." It's hard to disappoint.
Lyrics — 8
Lyrics were definitely something different from Ozzy. I guess, at some point, he realized he couldn't write any more songs about pure evil. However, the brunt of the lyrical content supplied on Technical Ecstasy does entail rather tabboo subject matter such as: prostitution, transvestites, and narcotics dealers. I think it works favorably on this album, because the music accompanying it isn't sludgy and droning as it was in years prior. Another shock is the aforementioned cameo from Bill Ward on vocals in the song "It's Alright." And coincidentally, my thought of his vocals were: "it's alright." It's a decent and sound effort from Ozzy and the gang here.
Overall Impression — 8
I'll be honest. This album does not hold water to the first five Sabbath records, but it is something different and different is good. This album does not contain any strikingly familiar Sabbath songs, so I would not recommend picking this album up until you've listened to its predecessors. It's a rough spot in the Sabbath discography, but it does signify two crucial facts: Black Sabbath can successfully take on the progressive rock genre and that it is, in fact, possible to create a stellar work of music when everyone in the band is hating each other. Don't buy this record if you're expecting Paranoid era sludge. But, I implore you, buy this record if you want to hear a pretty cool side of some of the world's most beloved musicians. You won't regret it.