CD Review: Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne
Blizzard of Ozz
Diary of a Madman
Epic/Legacy
By David Chiu

Any concern whether Ozzy Osbourne can make it on his own after leaving Black Sabbath became an afterthought with his 1980 solo debut Blizzard of Ozz, a record that kind of ushered in an accessible but still heavier form of metal for the ‘80s. Blizzard is a classic thanks to rockers such as the immortally popular “Crazy Train, “Steal Away (The Night),” “I Don’t Know.” Certainly at that time Ozzy hasn’t lost the macabre elements of his work with Sabbath as in the case of “Mr. Crowley” while also showing both a balladeer side in “Goodbye to Romance” and a sense of humor in the porn-inspired “No Bone Movies.” Blizzard is an essential own for those who have yet been seduced by the master’s solo works. The follow-up, Diary of a Madman (1981), may be just a tad notch below Blizzard as far as memorable songs but nevertheless it carries the bone-crunching rock blueprint of its predecessor such as in songs “Flying High Again” and “Over the Mountain.” The power ballad “Tonight” is the stadium lighter moment of the record and the orchestral-laden title track closes the album on a haunting, Gothic note. The one thing that is so pronounced on both those albums is the important contributions from the late Randy Rhoads, whose electrifying, lightning-speed guitar work set the musical template for ‘80s metal and inspired endless imitators; Rhoads was the perfect foil to Ozzy’s doomy and manic pronouncements– thus those two records remain a living tribute to his legacy, no doubt evoked in the instrumental “R.R.”, one of the bonus tracks on the Blizzard reissue. The Legacy edition of Madman also contains a disc of live performances from the Blizzard of Ozz tour; in addition to a set list dominated by Blizzard songs, the concert also features Ozzy doing a few old Sabbath numbers, including “Paranoid” and “Iron Man.”

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