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Review: Black Sabbath - Never Say Die!
Black Sabbath
Never Say Die!

Label: Warner Bros. Records
Year released: 1978
Duration: 45:29
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 2.5/5

Review online: September 6, 2011
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Never Say Die!

Rated 3.27/5 (65.45%) (33 Votes)

1978 saw the release of Black Sabbath's eight studio album, Never Say Die!, and it marked the end of Ozzy Osbourne's career as the studio vocalist for the band. And what an ignominious end it was. Never Say Die! is barely better than the awful Technical Ecstasy, released two years earlier. All trace of Doom Metal is gone, replaced by 70's Hard Rock/Heavy Metal. The subject matter is almost exclusively upbeat and it was clear the band had completely run out of songwriting ideas.

Opener "Never Say Die!" is the only decent track, with its speedy, "Paranoid"-like riff. Ozzy even whipped this one out on his Speak of the Devil live album. After that, the album is all down hill. "Johnny Blade" has a decent science-fiction theme (along the lines of "Iron Man") but Ozzy starts channeling David Bowie during the chorus, and the song veers off into Prog Rock. "Over to You" has the most promising Doom vibe, but the uplifting lyrics dispel any atmosphere the guitar and bass attempt to create. The rest of the songs are dull throwaways. How fitting that the last recorded Black Sabbath album with Ozzy Osbourne ends with a song, "Swinging the Chain," that is sung by drummer Bill Ward.

While both Ozzy and Black Sabbath would regroup in 1980 with far superior albums (Blizzard of Ozz and Heaven and Hell, respectively), Never Say Die! remains a sad coda for the original lineup of one of the most influential Heavy Metal bands ever.

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