Friday, May 2, 2014

Black Sabbath - Never Say Die! (1978)

"Never Say Die!" is the title of Black Sabbath's 8th album, which is kinda ironic since this album marked the end for the original line-up since Geezer Butler and Ozzy Osbourne left the band the following year. Well, you could see the end coming pretty easily since Ozzy left the band during a short period between this album and "Technical Ecstasy", but also because of the heavy abuse of alcohol and drugs in the band. But the band gathered some final strength together to create one of the most criticized albums in the band's discography.

Despite the negativity that surrounds the album, it starts off quite fine actually. The title track gets the blood pumping with its simple, yet effective, groove and catchy chorus, while the following song, "Johnny Blade" keeps it going with a fast drum beat and some interesting lyrics. "Johnny Blade" is probably one of the few songs in the latest couple of Sabbath albums that has big resemblances from the earlier records. I also kinda like the groovy "Junior's Eyes", even though it is on the edge of being to light of a song.

The rest however, is a complete train wreck. The remaining 6 songs on "Never Say Die!" is a definite sign of the band's problems. Most of the songs have very little flow to them and it just feels like they were patched up together here and there in under a minute. The whole performance feels contrived and rushed, which ends up in a horrible album with no sense of direction.

There are some really weird decisions through out this album. Like why they made "A Hard Road" so sluggish, or why the keyboard takes over too much in "Over To You", or why they included the horrible big band sound in the instrumental "Breakout". There are bad decisions everywhere in this album, but one of the worst decisions must be the closer of the album, "Swinging The Chain". It is not a horrible song because of the fact that Bill Ward takes the lead here, but because of the horrific harmonica. I don't know who played it, but he should get a slap in the face. Without it (and that scream in the middle of the song), "Swinging The Chain" would be pretty decent, but now it just sits there at the end of "Never Say Die!", being as useless as a appendicitis.

The Ozzy era of Black Sabbath could not have a worse ending than this. "Never Say Die!" is a horrible album that probably every Sabbath fan hate, and I can understand them. Too much keyboard, harmonica and trumpets, and not enough of the band itself. I don't want to count it in as a Black Sabbath album since it doesn't sound like them, but it is, and all I can do about it is to face palm.

Songs worthy of recognition: Johnny Blade, Never Say Die

Rating: 3/10 Shock Waves

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