on March 23, 2004
It always facinates me to hear the guys in Sabbath say they didn't care for albums like Sabatoge and Never Say Die. I think they remember the events surrounding the albums more than the actual music. Never Say Die is a fantastic album no matter what anyone says. You really won't find the classic sludge of Master of Reality on Never Say Die but you will find Sabbath acting like a real group and expanding on different styles in the same manner Zeppelin did. If Sabbath released a new album you can bet it would be a bit more 'by the numbers' and that would be fine since we all want a new Sabbath album anyway. But this is probably the most diverse album Sabbath ever did. Does this mean this is the quinissential Sabbath album? Of course not. But it does mean it's a great album to really hear what Sabbath was capable of, regardless if you dig their ideas at the time. Once Ozzy was gone, Sabbath took a step in the new metal sound of the time and an album like Never Say Die would never be a possibility following this. Buy this album and dig it.
on January 3, 2000
Apparently, most Sabbath fans hate Never Say Die, and in fact Technical Ecstasy as well. I couldn't disagree more. These last two albums (for after Ozzy left, it wasn't really Sabbath anymore, was it?) let show the troubles the band was having, but that doesn't stop them from being great music. "Johnny Blade", "Air Dance", "Junior's Eyes", and "Shock Wave" top my list of great songs from this record. Maybe it's that some listeners pigeonhole Sabbath after hearing stuff from Paranoid, Masters of Reality, et cetera, and don't take the time to consider all 8 albums as a whole. If you sat down and listened carefully to all 8 in a row, you could hear the progression from one to the next. Their self-titled debut is similar to Paranoid, which is similar to Master of Reality, which is similar to Volume 4, but the first LP and Vol4 are not similar AT ALL. Black Sabbath experienced a very complex musical progression, and it deserves to be considered as a whole. And when considered thus, Never Say Die makes a fitting ending.
on December 26, 2000
I bought the Castle Remaster Edition (Cstle; ASIN: B000005RFN) and was very impressed with the packaging and sound quality. Lots of great colour and black/white photos along with complete lyrics and all artwork from the original album. In addition, each album has a unique fact-laden essay about the band during the circumstances surrounding each album.
The remastering is very crisp and clean as I've given this album the headphones test and it passed with flying colours. The songs have a dynamic sound as opposed to the Warner Brothers edition where everything sounds flat.
As for the music, Sabbath no longer plods along with heavy riffs that pummel their listeners into submission... a fact that turned many listeners off to this album as well as its predecessor, Technical Ecstasy. Instead, Sabbath turned the speed up a notch and used more blues oriented riffs and somber melodies. Even so, at times the music sounds lost and dark, like in a drugged haze. The album rocks, but at a slightly faster pace than their older albums. And yes, that's Bill Ward singing on the last track!
Never Say Die is not perfect (in Sabbath's sense) but it's better than the best of those influenced by Sabbath.
I would HIGHLY recommend the Castle edition for all the Sabbath albums as the sound quality is superior, the artwork is great and the extra photos and lyrics are everything you could wish for!
on November 19, 2000
If there ever was an album that was just killed before it came out this album would be it. The album had no chance cause a stupid fans getting all mad about Ozzy and the Sabbath they knew changing. Well This album was a great album and if you still don't see it maybe yor not a music fan, but a blind Ozzy fan. 1. Never Say Die -Great starter! This song builds the tone of the album. 85%2. Johnny Blade -The heavy side of sabbath shows up here and this track sounds like a better Iron Man. Very movig too! 90% 3. Junior's Eyes -A ballod that lost me. Didn't like it as well as the next track but showed the feelings of Ozzy during his time of loss. 75% 4. A Hard Road -The best ballod of this album and the second best ballod of Black Sabbath ever. It's the song that may have lead to the new sound of Sabbah after Ozzy leaving. 95%5. Shock Wave -Spooky track with a nice sound to it. Good enough to listen to anyways. 85% 6. Air Dance -This one is plain different for "Black Sabbath?!". It's a track that has basicly a piano a singer and drums. Very different! 80% 7. Over To You -More about life and polatics. 80%8. Breakout- This song I agree did not go well on here. But was at least interesting.(No singer in this one) 65%9. Swinging The Chain- The Track with Bill Ward singing. Heavyer track. 85%If you like this album, try out some of the following: Blizzard of Ozz(Ozzy Osbourne), Heaven and Hell(Black Sabbath), Techical Ecstasy(Black Sabbath),and Ozzmosis(Ozzy Osbourne)
on July 18, 2012
First of all, if you are expecting a band to play the same exact same sounding album and then realease it 7 times in a row then you don't understand the evolution that takes place in the mind of a true musician.
This album DID have a "Black Sabbath Standard" for all of the long time fans which was, of course, the Title track itself "Never Say Die". However, they had as individuals, experienced so much turmoil in their private lives that they couldn't help but express it in the bitter-sweet sorrow of the Jazz-Rooted endeavors like "Airdance", Junior's Eyes" and "Breakout", not to mention the painstakingloy sung "Swinging The Chain".
You will see what I mean when you experience this album for the first time with a clear perspective.
In knowing all of Black Sabbath's history from it's inception, to it's abortion, to it's rebirth, I see this album as a must-have for ANY Balck Sabbath fan.
This album stands apart from the first 7 releases insofar as it reflects the throws of agony of a band facing it's final release and knowing it, yet still refusing to quit...Hence the name of the album.
I for one find solace in knowing that even to this day, Black Sabbath will NEVER...SAY...DIE !!
XXX ROCK ON XXX
on May 9, 2005
"Never Say Die"(1978) is an album many people claim to dislike, but few have actually heard. While it is true that "Never Say Die" is quite different from the first four Sabbath albums, for those into "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath", "Sabotage", and "Technical Ecstacy", "Never Say Die" is an ABSOLUTE MUST!!! The album displays the versatility and quality song writing so many critics under-estimated during the 70's. The production is FLAWLESS and rivaled only by the production on "Sabotage". Just check out Iommi's AMAZING wah-pedal guitar tone in 'Junior's Eyes'!!! WOW!!! "Never Say Die" also features Ozzy's last truly GREAT vocal performance(until maybe "Ozzmosis" many years later). Like "Sabotage", "Never Say Die" is meant to be listened to as a whole. The songs run into one another making the album nearly like an acid trip. The album varies from exuberance('Never Say Die')-melancholy('Junior's Eyes')-intospection('Hard Road')-jazz('Air Dance')-heavy and spaced out('Johnny Blade' and 'Shock Wave'), making "Never Say Die" a dynamic listening experience. It is true that if you are simply looking for a rehash of 'War Pigs' or 'Paranoid' you WILL NOT find it on NSD. But for those of you who are TRUE Black Sabbath fanatics, "Never Say Die" is an album that the stoner gods FORBID you to pass up. So shell out a few bucks, get the lighting right, get the weed fired up(or if your really adventurous find some good blotter acid), crank your stereo up, sit back and enjoy an often-forgotten masterpiece from the band which epitomized the term 'buzz-worthy'. Check it out!!!!
on January 25, 2005
When I was buying Black Sabbath albums, catching up to what had happened before I found out about them (pre-Dio/Heaven & Hell), so around 1978, I bought everything, except Never Say Die!
I think what made me stop at Technical Ecstasy (1976) was that it wasn't Sabotage (1975). I took one listen to Sabotage and thought these guys aren't just about Iron Man and War Pigs. There's so much more here, and it made Black Sabbath simply one of the most important bands I ever listened to. If you were to mention The Big 3, I would say ''Led Zep'' -- ehh Bonham & Jones are cool. ''Deep Purple'' -- I thought Glenn Hughes era was terrific, but . . . ''Black Sabbath'' --- aahhh now you're talking. They just nailed it as far as I was concerned, and from Master of Reality to Sabotage they were just hitting benchmark after benchmark.
And then I bought Technical Ecstasy, loved the cover, wasn't knocked out by the songs, except for 'Dirty Women' and 'All Moving Parts<Stand Still>'. So I never bought Never Say Die! because I read critical and fan reaction to it as not worth it, so I just avoided it.
Then in 1991 I had a friend who lent me the album, and he was shocked that I hadn't heard it and me saying I was a 'Black Sabbath Fan'. Never Say Die! blows Technical Ecstasy away easily. I mean, get Technical Ecstasy, I don't want you to stay away from it, but Never Say Die! surprised me as to how good it actually was. It became my 'second favourite' Black Sabbath album after Sabotage, it really is that good.
I guess it depends on what you're looking for. If you want ''Iron Man'', well its not here, but I didn't find Iron Man on Sabotage either, which is I guess why Technical Ecstasy was such a 'bring-down' for lack of a better term. Sabotage was an altogether different album, and when you start going in that direction, it's hard to top it. Never Say Die! is a very good attempt at getting back on creative track, and I can't think of a song I do not like on this album. In fact, I play the title track much less than the others! To me, it was the ''safest'' song on there because you get songs like 'Johnny Blade'' which is simply one of the best Ozzy/era Black Sabbath songs out there. My favourite track from this album, and it made me wonder why I waited nearly 12 years to actually buy this album. I missed 12 years of enjoying 'Johnny Blade'.
I see a lot of complaints about 'Breakout/Swinging The Chain' but honestly I thought this was just such a surprising style for Black Sabbath to be doing. I had this one on REPEAT> for quite some time, never quite figuring out if it actually was Ozzy singing it. Now I know it wasn't, but it was fun figuring it out!B/STC has to be for me 2 standouts of Never Say Die!
This whole album really is something you just have to hear, forgetting what your expectations from their other albums says they should be doing, or what you'll expect to hear next. It's varied, creative, interesting, and it is in no way a poor effort on their part. I don't get any feeling of 'if they had stuck with Ozzy where would they have gone next . . . '' because I'm quite happy he went to form his own band. And when that all went down, I went in his direction, buying Blizzard Of Ozz albums like I had bought Black Sabbath albums. I was familiar with Ronnie James Dio from Rainbow days, and to be honest, I was very much on the Ozzy side of the argument :). Never Say Die! is a great way to end the Ozzy era, on an inventive peak, taking chances, and writing some great songs.
I'm very surprised 'A Hard Road' isn't a staple of American radio, its got all the signature hooks of those 'classic' songs that get played endlessly on FM stations. It's almost the Sabbath anthem by default. When I first heard it, I wondered why I hadn't heard it at least once before. But it seems like the mainstream totally avoids this album, when really it deserves to be heard. ''Over To You'' and ''Junior's Eyes' just don't disappoint what is overall a strong album.
I was glad I heard Never Say Die! finally, and put any doubt to rest about its worthiness. It's no. 2 on my Top Black Sabbath albums.
on March 5, 2002
Why 'little'? Well, because of 'Vol 4', 'Sabotage', and so on... It doesn't mean anything, though; in fact, 'little' is an understatement. This album is refreshing! Still sounds great after all these years! And it even captured a younger audience. Underrated, unjustly put down, this is a glorious conclusion of the classic and unrepeated Osbourne era. I must say, I listen to this wonder on a daily basis and still can't get enough of it... It is the music, of course, the maturity of the band, a solid Ozzy performance, a unique feeling and some amazing sounds. Experimentation, synthesizers, improvisational grand piano, saxophones... Where else can you hear an instrumental like 'Breakout'?. Not musical taste, the critics said. Well, there is a powerful taste here, which goes all the way back to the grand-band jazz! Listen to this piece carefully, with the volume turned high: Only then you can capture its meaning... And the rest of the songs? Sheer delight, I wouldn't know where to start: The title track is a great kick-off song, fast, powerful and captivating. 'Junior's Eyes' totally captured my heart, when my best friend died in a motorcycle accident in Europe many years ago... 'Johnny Blade', the portrait of a street-fighter, is so powerful and convincing that makes you wonder why this album received so many bad reviews. As I mentioned in my review of 'Technical Ecstasy' the social references of NSD are quite prominent, however, this CD is also spirituality at its best. This spirituality is beautifully expressed in 'Air dance', the mystical masterpiece of the album. Nice piano work, haunting, acoustic/electric combinations, followed by a delightful boogie conclusion.
As I hinted above, a comparison with some of the previous classic Sabbath albums would be unfair. This is not exactly heavy metal. Experimental hard rock may be the best description of NSD. A new musical direction, perhaps. The Sabbath have always been pioneers of the genre. And what genre? Practically their own...
'Shock Wave': Pleasant, strong, changes themes a few times. 'Over to You': Starts upbeat, turns to melancholic, with the haunting piano of 'Air Dance' continuing here... A nice song. 'Swinging the Chain' and 'A Hard Road' are generally considered the 'lowest' moments of the CD. I won't argue with the statement, I still like, though, the beat and raw sound of the closing 'Swinging the Chain', Ward's vocals and the harmonica that hasn't played since 'The Wizard'. What else is there to say? Only this: Don't miss this album for anything, or you'll be missing one of the most innovative and trully amazing Sabbath albums ever and also, one of the best hard rock originals ever created. Enjoy!
on December 14, 2013
I had read that this was the only album that Ozzy regretted making. I have to admit, it is an unusual one, but it was 1978 and I think the band (and the genre) was looking for a direction to go into. Maybe that is why I like this album so much because it goes in different directions. They try a new singer. They use piano, saxophone. Some of it is very pop-oriented, almost like a pop-metal. You can almost feel the band's conflict in the music. I believe this was their last before the break up. To be honest, I never heard any of these songs until I recently picked up this album and I have been a Sabbath fan since right about 78'. At first, I wasn't sure what to think, but I liked it because it was SO DIFFERENT. I gradually realized what a special album this really is. Put it on for your Metalhead friends and they will go WHA TF, and then LOVE IT. Party Hardy and Ozzy Rules. Long live METAL!!!
Out of all the Sabbath albums with Ozzy, Never Say Die receives the heaviest criticism, generally for the ambitious experimentation and lack of straight-forward heavy metal/heavy rock songs. Long ago, I had mixed feelings about it because even though I liked the album, it didn't seem to measure up to their first few releases. Then I'd read about the band's turmoil during the songwriting and recording process, and that fed into the perception that this was a lesser album than the others. In the last decade or so, I've changed my opinion completely about Never Say Die.
I realized over time that the eight Sabbath albums with Ozzy should be split into two groups. The first four releases fit together comfortably; heavy sludge, early metal, some bluesy rock influences from their Earth days. Then things changed with Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, most notably the increased prominence of keyboards, piano, and orchestral arrangements. From this standpoint, the four albums starting with SBS and ending with Never Say Die fit together stylistically in a similar fashion to the first four. So where does Never Say Die rank among that second group?
In my opinion, at the top. I know, fans of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, which seems to be the most popular of the last four records with Ozzy, will dismiss the notion that Never Say Die is a better album, or that it even comes close. I say judge by the strength of the individual songs and the overall feel of the albums, and they come out pretty close. Never Say Die features five or six songs that are among my favorites in their catalog; the title track, Johnny Blade, Junior's Eyes, Shock Wave, and Swinging the Chain (with Bill Ward on vocals, sounding to me a bit like early 70's Ozzy). The other songs, A Hard Road, Air Dance, Over to You, and the instrumental Breakout, keep me thoroughly interested, if not enthralled, with every second of the album.
I love SBS, Sabotage, and Technical Ecstasy, but, to me anyway, all three of those albums have moments that lag, and I very occasionally find myself a little bored (parts of Sabbra Cadabra, Looking for Today, Supertzar, Am I Going Insane, It's Alright). As I can listen to Never Say Die and not experience any such moments, I feel like that is enough to put it slightly ahead, in terms of an overall album, of the three other Sabbath releases that are similar in style. It might not have an individual classic as strong as the SBS title track or Symptom of the Universe, but I prefer overall quality to two or three "greatest hits" (although I do think that Johnny Blade, Junior's Eyes, and Shock Wave should be included in that category). To be clear, I don't think any of these albums are far apart at all, and I'm only giving a slight advantage to Never Say Die, but that slight advantage gives it far more credit than many other Sabbath fans, and music critics in general, think it deserves. Hopefully time will see it gain more popularity.