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on 30 August 2012
Never Say Die is the only Black Sabbath album i was denied a full seated attentive listen! And the reason was i was always met with a tirade (ZZZzzzz) of people who slagged it and said it doesn't hold up to their others namely Paranoid, Master Of Reality, Heaven And Hell and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, so i never bothered until now. Ok, i have all those records on vinyl and i agree they are undeniable classics that show the band at the peak of their powers, but hey, give NSD a chance and you will be surprised!

From opener title track they blast away with punk like speed and deliver their second hit single and another appearance on TOTP, and its a catchy tune played with heartfelt conviction. Even Ozzy's voice is splendid throughout although he has bitter memories of this period. Reading Bill Ward and Tony Iommi's sleeve notes and you will hear the full story and even Bill concedes there were magical moments on this album that was unique, particularly the brilliant Junior's Eyes.

My faves are Air Dance and Breakout where they really experimented with jazz phrasings and incorporated them into their metal. Don Airey of Rainbow fame does an amazing job and his classy flurries across the ivory really lift this album along with the barmy brass sections here. Elsewhere there's classic metal like Over To You which is just so sublime with Geezers bass coming to the fore as Ozzy sings his heart out here. Hard Road also is another total metal track with its bouncy riff and catchy singalong mid section. They also made TOTP with this single.

Some bloody amazing drumming from Ward too adds to the intensity.
Johnny Blade is another total heavy metal belter and some lovely tidy solos from maestro Toni Iommi, sprinkled throughout the record.
It comes in a tidy gatefold with an illustrated booklet and band notes. The remastered sound is superb, i played it on both my nano and HIFI. Get it and listen to what you been missing.
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on 31 May 2013
Ozzy has described this album as a 'disgrace' - i think thats a bit strong. This is the final album from this great bands history, and like all others before it, it took on its own identity. Every sabbath album was different and this is no exception. The main culprits here are iommis guitar sound and the production. Iommi has a terribly thin sound on this album, perhaps his weakest ever, whilst the production is equally thin and passionless. Nevertheless there are a few great tracks here. In particular the title track itself and 'johnny blade' both of which sit well alongside anything else the band have recorded. 'Hard road' is another potentially good song spoilt by the production and sound. Of the remainder 'shock wave' and 'over to you' are sabbath at their weakest in terms of songwriting. Very ordinary. 'Air dance' is an ambitious move into jazzy experimentation that loses itself and 'swinging the chain', whilst interesting in having bill ward singing, is equally strange - sounding more like blodwyn pig than sabbath! 'juniors eyes' is an ok number but again, the sound and production renders it pretty impotent

The band were in a bad place personally at the time with ozzy on the brink of leaving and all members fighting drug addiction and various personal problems. And thats an exact reflection of how the album sounds - like a band on a downward spiral not knowing the way out. Without the title track and johnny blade it would have been a total disaster but those two great songs pull it through
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on 15 October 2012
Hmm... Upbeat Black Sabbath. I must say I really am not sure about this, the Doomy atmosphere is gone, replaced by a highly polished operating room feel. Sure there are some nice bits going on here and there but it just feels so sterile that you will need to be wearing a space suit, that means that you can't touch and feel what is going on all you can do is watch with a slight sadness.

If there is a comparison I can make it is with Blue Oyster Cult, I think I heard that the two sounded similar and I myself could never understand the comparisons and why it was made, having heard this phase of Black Sabbath I now fully understand.

I think that underneath it all the songs aren't too bad but it is just so hard to separate it from their earlier stuff, you have to try though if you want to get anything out of this album because it compares so badly to their previous stuff. If only they had changed their name; called themselves Slack Babbath or something, anything. I must make it clear that I have nothing against bands developing and changing, it is healthy and should be applauded, it's just that here Black Sabbath didn't seem to carry over the magic when they changed style. It is a shame.
So let's pretend that this album is by somebody different then; there are some nice tunes and its solid stuff but it just isn't to my taste, unfortunately.

Track List:
Never Say Die
Johnny Blade
Junior's Eyes
A Hard Road
Shock Wave
Air Dance
Over To You
Swinging the Chain
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on 12 January 2011
Well from the reviews on Amazon only one or two dismiss this album all together; even so I am here to counterbalance that negativity, for me it is the greatest Sabbath album of them all, yes that's what I said..the greatest of them all! It also has quite possibly my favourite artwork of any album ever. It brushes aside the cliched and boring satan stuff (yawn) and takes the music somewhere new yet still manages to be essentially Black Sabbath in much the same way as Van Halen's Diver Down managed too. This is the only Sabbath album that fully stands the test of time and the one I still play regulaly. Don't get me wrong I am not anti the other early albums I just think this had the most maturity and freshness of all of them . Even though Ozzy didn't like it he did a wonderful job on the vocals and no one could ever replace Ozzy's fab voice for me in the group . I'm sad they didn't stick together and progress musically as on this album.

I didn't like Technical Ecstacy however which was poor and I only liked its artwork and name which unfortunately isn't enough! Fortunately we all have different opinions and I know a someone who thinks exactly the opposite to me regarding these two albums ...oh well c'est la vie!
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on 23 August 2009
I had given up on sabbath at this time.
I enjoyed technical ecstacy as my mum liked "It's Alright" which meant I could play balck sabbath in the car.

So at a party a year on someone said listen to this.

I did not know what the album was or who by.

I loved the Jazz, Rock, Metal, well everything really, It took me 20 years to understand sandinista by the clash but this album blew me away straight away because it just tried everything and mostly worked.

Is it better than black sabbath, masters of reality, paranoid, IV ( how could it be)? BUT if this was a fresh album you had heard in the days when you could only hear a new band live as a support band they would still kick arse.

The most experimental sabbath album, if they could have kept it together the music would have evolved into the wonderful world the clash reached by accepting other musical forms and moulding it to suit them. I really believe Sabbath tried fusing musical styles & would have become the most innovative band ever, Technical Ecstacy & never say die are as close as we'll get.

These two albums should really be looked upon as seperate to the sabbath ( doom metal ) series as heaven & hell & mob rules Were just sabbath getting back to sabbath, Extremely well as it happens but a shame no one ever followed Metal mixed with Jazz, and any other style you could mention to this day and a band who did not get on produced these 2 out of place albums Which I believe may outlive the classics ( who knows)
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on 5 December 2016
Finally bought this CD after all these years, to replace the first vinyl Sabbath album I ever bought.

Is it Sabbath's best album ever? no. You can tell it's an album recorded during this line up death throws.

However tracks like "Never Say Die", "Johnny Blade" and "Junior's Eyes" are great and underrated Sabbath tracks, but by the time you get to "Breakout" and "Swinging The Chain" you can tell they are just fillers to make up the album.

I've always thought this album as well as being the end of the classic Sabbath lineup, was a pointer to where Ozzy's solo career would go. So in the history of hard rock I think it's quite an important album.

It's Sabbath and as an album that ended the bands first era, a must for Sabbath fans.
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on 10 December 2010
Well, well. A surprise favourite of mine. After years of dismissing this after many bad reviews I finally managed to swallow my pride and give it a go. It's not the Black Sabbath everyone knows, or even the Sabbath they eventually turned into but it's an interesting 'inbetween' sounding Sabbath. It's almost a jazz album.

The title track is a great single. Again, very removed from the doom riffery of old and quite upbeat. A great little toe-tapper. 'Johnny Blade' is a strange one. It's very good but not immediately so. There's a definite lean towards the more glam rock stylings of the era with the fuzzy guitar distortion and use of keyboards but it works surprisingly well. As does 'Junior's Eyes' which is slowly becoming a favourite track of mine. Very catchy chorus that doesn't become so until after the 3rd listen. 'Hard Road' is another catchy number that kind of meanders and owes more to easy listening and, starngely, Country & Western than heavy metal. Again, it works.

'Shock Wave' is the only track I don't really get. It's ok but after many listens it still hasn't gelled. 'Air Dance' is fantastic. Piano and thoughtful lyrics - very mellow and NOT very Black Sabbathy. But great. 'Over To you' is a bit like 'Hard Road' as it's basically a song that revolves around the chorus. It's another winner. 'Break Out' is a jazzy instrumental with saxophone and everything. Odd but good. 'Swinging the Chair' is not great but it's ok, just a shame that the album ends with a much less interesting track, although it is upbeat.

A very worthy album but it is not immediately so. Give it at least 4 spins and the music will speak for itself.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 July 2010
Housed in what was possibly the bands most sinister album sleeve Sabbath's final album with Ozzy is generally underappreciated and like its predeccesor Technical Ecstacy is often overlooked.

Again not the greatest production,similar to 'Ecstacy the guitars are more metallic and the rythmn section further back in the mix for the most part.

Side 1 of the original vinyl was where all the action was ,thundering title track which became their first hit single since 'Paranoid,then 2 lost classics the vicious sly 'Johhny Blade' with its eerie synths followed by the equally tortuoed soul of 'Juniors Eyes propelled along some cool bass line from Butler before stuttering slightly with 'Hard Road',its a great song but cant live with the three it follows,possibly if the class of 'Shock wave.which originally opened side 2,had replace it ,side 1 might have been unbeatable.

The remaining tracks present a challenge,if you cant see past Paranoid,War Pigs etc and cant accept change,progression,then you will be disapointed,
'Air Dance' features some sublime piano playin(Don Airey) while 'Breakout' with its manic saxaphone comes across like a heavy metal Steely Dan.Only 'Over To You and particularly 'Swinging The Chain' fail to do it for me and as such a star is duly docked.

What is quite interesting about this album,its generally stated that that Sabbath were tired,burned out,a relic from the 70's to be discarded by Punk(i think not),listen to the lyrics contained in the likes of 'Never Say Die','Johnny Blade',Juniors Eyes' & 'Over To You',the dis-satisfaction with life,the future,education,the dont let the bast***s grind you down mentality,every bit as relevant as what the Punks were trying(and generally failing) to say.

Its not the best Sabbath album but its not the worst another which should be reappraised.
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on 14 February 2006
This is possibly the most under-rated of all Sabbath albums. It was made at a painful time for the band, Ozzy split with the group half way through the album but came back to complete it.
The product of all this angst is a diverse album unified only but the distinctively metallic sound of Iommi’s guitar (you’ll have to listen to the album to see what I mean). Sabbath still rocked, with tracks like Never Say Die, Johnny Blade and Shock Wave about as full-on any in the early catalogue. Running alongside this are what can best be described as metal fusion (only about 14 years before the then-ground breaking Images and Words, by Dream Theater.) There are some amazing funk bass riffs in Junior’s Eyes; some blues influence in Swinging the Chain; progressive leanings in Hard Road, and some I-don’t-know-what big band experimentation in the aptly named Breakout. All this with no perceptible depreciation in quality – in fact this is probably the most consistently good of all the early albums (I can’t really think of a dud besides Shock Wave).
My personal favourite though has to be Johnny Blade: pure 24 carat 70s hard rock. Opening with some wonderful interplay between synth, drums and guitar, it then rocks into all out metal. When you add to this some cold yet haunting lyrics from a mature song writer and a, frankly, unbettered guitar solo finale from Tony Iommi you’ve got something pretty special. It’s never off my Sabbath playlist.
This album really needs to be rediscovered by Sabbath fans.
This is the last album of the Ozzy era. Just over a year later, Sabbath would release a new album, Heaven and Hell, fronted by the diminutive (in height only) Ronnie James Dio.
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on 3 October 2007
Bought this when it was released about 30 years ago. Having disposed of my record collection a few years ago, and not having listened to Never Say Die for many years, on a whim decided to get it on cd to complete my Sabbath collection.
Oh dear, all I can say it is one for the completists only.....I still don't like it! If it had been a seven track album it may have been acceptable, the last two 'Breakout' and 'Swinging the lead' are dire.
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