‘Never Say Die!,’ the eighth and final Black Sabbath album fronted by Ozzy Osbourne (until 2013’s reunion record ’13’), was almost the first Black Sabbath album fronted by former Savoy Brown singer Dave Walker, who actually worked on new songs and made a BBC appearance with the band before Osbourne stepped back in.

But it doesn't matter much. The title track sounds promising at first, with its rousing and direct hard-rock attack. But repeated listens reveal how thin the song really is. Same goes for ‘A Hard Road,’ which starts at a determined pace but eventually goes nowhere. Then there's Don Airey’s fluid piano tickling on ‘Air Dance’ -- lovely, sure, but it's not exactly what fans want in a Black Sabbath record.

The band’s latest batch of keyboard-riddled head-bangers (like ‘Junior’s Eyes’ and ‘Over to You’) stands out only because they play alongside positively horrid misfires like the lethargic ‘Johnny Blade,’ the funky-horn filler ‘Breakout’ and ‘Swinging the Chain,’ another album-closing calamity warbled by Bill Ward, filling in for the drug-paralyzed Osbourne.

In other words, 1978's ‘Never Say Die!’ is even worse than 1976's ‘Technical Ecstasy,’ and in no condition to salvage metal’s old iron horse from an inevitable date with rock's eternal scrap heap.