Track Listing: 75%
In 1978, Black Sabbath released “Never Say Die.” This record is decent, but some of the songs lack intensity and energy after the opening track “Never Say Die.” The synths are a little overbearing on some spots of this record, but musically, you hear Black Sabbath standardizing their sound as they move into the 1980’s.
The song structures are based heavily on Jazz influences and less than heavy rock. There are some areas where the song structures based around a faster than normal tempo. But the heaviest song on this record by far is “Never Say Die.” There’s a lot of moderate tempo songs that gives this record the feeling as if this was part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. This record has a more polished sound that to me is more Pop than Hard Rock. This record does seem to have more energy and has a bit more intensity. “Shockwave” is considered as Doom Rock/Metal. I do like the heavy progressiveness of the instrumental song “Breakout.” This song here pretty much wraps up Black Sabbath’s influences all in one. It’s Progressive Rock and Jazzy. It’s a slow and heavy song.
Musicianship, I think you can tell that Black Sabbath is ready for a change and this is the last Ozzy record until the reunion days later one. His vocals sound good. Iommi still produces some killer riffs and solos. Butler’s bass work seems more complex on this record than their 1976 release “Technical Ecstasy.” Ward’s drumming is still on top of the world. He is throwing out there some great beats, tempos, and rolls. Bill Ward sings lead vocals on “Swinging the Chain.” This song is a pure heavy Blues song that ends the record.
Is this record a bad record? Well that depends on the listener. To me, this is an average Black Sabbath record that shows the band moving into all sorts of directions in which change is coming. It’s not the best Black Sabbath record and it’s not worse one either. What you have hear is a basic average Black Sabbath record.
1. “Never Say Die” 3:50
2. “Johnny Blade” 6:28
3. “Junior’s Eyes” 6:42
4. “A Hard Road” 6:04
5. “Shock Wave” 5:15
6. “Air Dance” 5:17
7. “Over to You” 5:22
8. “Breakout” (Instrumental) 2:35
9. “Swinging the Chain” 4:06