I was just listening to those two now actually, I could give a little ramble:
I'm actually enjoying most of Technical Ecstasy; it rather lives up to its name with lots of synths and stuff, and is also rather more straightforward and mainstream in style, so in terms of the times, it probably didn't really offer so much different from other bands back then, hence the backlash…but I'm really enjoying most of the riffs on it, they sound pretty cool, and even if not quite so imaginative, the songs as a whole are still pretty "good". The riff from "You won't Change Me" is even still pretty similar to their previous stuff. I'm much less keen on the two ballads on it though, but the first has grown on me a little.
But it is comparatively much lighter and more lacklustre than their previous efforts. They sound like they're just following here, rather than wallowing in their crazy minds, even if at this stage they still sound pretty confident in performing the stuff.
I too find that song pretty awesome, it could almost be a power metal song (though I probably say that about any song I find cool like that~), but yeah, Ozzy's kind of out of his element here, I think. Or maybe it's just the drugs. But anyway, the rest of it; the next four songs I also really enjoy as with Technical Esctasy; heavy and uplifting, even if stylistically they're still more "following". The last four songs however, I don't know what happened at all, I think they finally ran out of creative juices and just fiddled about with random instruments for the next 20 minutes. I thought I was listening to metal, or at least just rock at this stage, not improvised jazz. Don't like those ones at all. The last song doesn't even have Ozzy singing; it's a completely different band.
The Dio stuff…yeah, it's nothing like their original stuff, but indeed, they gain their gusto and imagination back, and considering the time period it was dropped in (1980), I personally feel that those two albums are to blame for them staying in such a forefront of our cultural conscience: they were never going to be the same band again, and instead they moved with the times, producing high-paced, more standard heavy metal along the lines of Judas Priest and co., making them relevant in the context of the NWOBHM movement as well as
their original heritage as "the first heavy metal band" back in the 70s. And I have a good number of even modern heavy/power metal bands who've covered songs of this era like Neon Knights and Die Young. Iommi can write a riff indeed, and Dio's renowned for his vocal delivery.
Mind if I ask what you don't like so much about the style Dio's usually associated with, though? I'd have imagined you'd at least appreciate a band like Rainbow for instance, but maybe your tastes just don't go in that direction~ (Incidentally, they're another band on my "soon" list. My dad likes them a lot too, and they're also a big influence on a lot of the bands I enjoy, hehe).
I was reading all that too. Their sudden fame and fortune gave them more money than they would ever have been able to know what to do with, and just lived out the stereotypical superstar lifestyle, in all its excesses. It lead to some great songs and ended up with some great albums, but of course that was the beginning of the downfall of the original band.
And incidentally, I think Gentle Giant are another band my dad is into. Might look them up sometime too.