For his first solo album, Chilean vocalist Ronnie Romero took the easy route and put together a covers album. To be fair, it’s not like he had anything to prove; in the year before its recording, he’d already recorded well-received albums with both Lords of Black and The Ferrymen. He wasn’t about to spend much time coasting along recycling other peoples’ classic rock works either, since he then released an album with his other band Sunstorm, which hit the shelves barely four months later.
Of all of Black Sabbath’s Ozzy era albums, ‘Technical Ecstasy’ is arguably the LP that splits fan opinion the most. It doesn’t contain any hits. It doesn’t even feature anything that could be considered classic. It often gets overlooked, sandwiched between 1976’s ‘Sabotage’ – a release with some very vocal champions – and 1979’s ‘Never Say Die’, an inventive work that really saw the band beginning to stretch out.
‘Technical Ecstasy’ has always deserved a place in the world purely for the brilliant ‘Back Street Kids’ and the live favourite ‘Dirty Women’ (or as Ozzy was heard to say on the ‘Reunion’ live disc, “Doooorty Wimmin”!). It’s an album that’s overdue a reappraisal.
As any metal fan knows, the first four Black Sabbath albums defined an entire musical genre. Four slabs of vinyl with monolithic riffs that inspired future generations; riffs which many emulated, but few matched – especially in terms of superb tone. From 1973 onward, Sabbath continued to make good music, but it didn’t always match the impact of their earliest work.