Black Sabbath Revisit 'Technical Ecstasy' in New Box Set

'Technical Ecstasy: Super Deluxe Edition'
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Rhino Records

The Black Sabbath reissue train keeps rolling! The band announced this week the creation of a new box set edition of Technical Ecstasy, their seventh studio album.

As the follow-up to 1975's Sabotage, Technical Ecstasy marked the beginning of a new chapter from the band, who sought to diversify their heavy metal sound amid a musical sea change in Europe and abroad. Hard rockers like Queen and Foreigner were starting to garner attention, as was the rising tide of punk rock. Lead singer Ozzy Osbourne also began to entertain thoughts of embarking on a solo career. But Sabbath held it together, producing the album themselves in a more relaxing venue: Criteria Studios in Miami. (The sessions took place at the same time as the Eagles' Hotel California in the same studio; the West Coast rockers would complain about Sabbath's volume, while Sabbath would scrape the Eagles' excess cocaine from the mixing boards so they could be used properly.)

Technical Ecstasy divided critics - one biographer compared the new sonic direction to "trying to put lamb's wool on a suit of armour" - and the album missed the Top 50 in America. Nonetheless, it featured fan favorites like "Dirty Women" and "It's Alright," featuring a rare vocal from drummer Bill Ward. And it would be the penultimate studio release featuring the classic line-up: Osbourne indeed left after 1978's Never Say Die, and the classic quartet wouldn't reunite for nearly two decades.

READ MORE: Tony Iommi Shares Black Sabbath Secrets on Rhino Podcast

The new deluxe version of the album, available Oct. 1, features four CDs or five vinyl LPs featuring the original classic album and a host of rare and unreleased material. Engineer Steven Wilson has created a brand new mix of the album as part of the box, and eight alternative mixes and outtakes will be released for the first time herein. Finally, 10 unreleased live recordings from the band's 1976-1977 tour include songs from Technical Ecstasy as well as classics like "Snowblind," "War Pigs" and "Symptom of the Universe."

Technical Ecstasy: Super Deluxe Edition follows a stunning whirlwind of reissues in 2021 that include box set versions of Vol. 4 and Sabotage and 2CD expansions of Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules, two '80s studio albums with the late Ronnie James Dio on lead vocals.

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