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There are few artists that have come about that can make a huge portion cringe at just the mention of their name. Ozzy Osbourne, after his departure from the great Black Sabbath, wandered for a year looking for exceptional musicians to work with and make a solo album. Ozzy had met the then unknown Randy Rhoads, a local guitarist that was in the band Quiet Riot, who had released a few albums in Japan, and were rather popular there. A man in Randy Rhoads who was just born to play the guitar. Osbourne had chosen him only after Rhoads tuned up and played some riffs and scales. From then, metal history was made. Blizzard of Ozz is Ozzy Osbourne's debut solo album, and remains a favorite of the metal community to this day, spawning popular songs like Crazy Train and Mr. Crowley, that even people who don't listen to metal or Ozzy's music could recognize after a few measures.
The sound on Blizzard of Ozz is mainly based around Ozzy's rather nasal voice, and Randy Rhoads ultra heavy guitar tone. The bass sound usually seems rather hollow, and the drums provide solid beats without too much flair, and seem to be rather danceable (i.e. Crazy Train's drum beat during the verses). Randy also provides a lot of classical influence, especially in his solos. Although there have been some guitarists to hint at classical in the past, Randy was fixated on classical playing. The solos and fills add great amounts of melody to the songs. A great example of his classical playing is the solo acoustic performance Dee, and fantastic ballad Goodbye to Romance.
Throughout the album, though, Ozzy also hints at themes that were ever-present on Black Sabbath albums. Suicide Solution is a warning of how alcoholism can ruin your life, and can even be a method of suicide. There is a part that people have claimed as subliminal, where it sounds as if he's saying "shoot" or "do it," but it was ruled out of court as a combination of sounds that formed to make those sounds. Yep, that's right, idiots brought this song and band to court! The song itself is vicious in its approach, with a very simple drum beat. It contains no real solo, though. There is also the song Mr. Crowley, which hints at themes of Aleister Crowley, famed satanist amongst other things.. The song also starts off with a very memorable, yet haunting organ part, and contains several mind blowing solos. It is one of the highlights of the album.
Blizzard of Ozz, though, isn't a perfect album at all. Ozzy's voice is extremely nasal at some points, and on Crazy Train, it sounds as if there's a roomful of lambs bleating out constantly. The guitar tone, also, can sometimes be annoying. "No Bone Movies" is an absolutely dreadful song, whether it is about pornography or horrible horror movies. The guitar playing is absolutely boring, with cliched pseudo-blues riffs, except for the great slide solo of course. Over all of that, Ozzy does his "lamb bleating" thing, and it is extremely annoying. Steal Away (The Night) is another bad song, although I can't really put my finger on it. To me, it sounds like a ripoff of Van Halen's Running With the Devil, and the song just sounds too "poppy" and out of place on the album.
Overall, this is a rather great metal album. It is a milestone of 1980, and kickstarted that particular decade with a bang. It contains some of Ozzy's best songs, and some of Randy's best guitar work. It isn't without it's flaws, though, however at the end of the day it should be bought post haste.
By 1979, Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne seemed to have run its course. After a near-decade of legendary landmark albums such as Paranoid, Master of Reality, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, and their eponymous debut, a combination of rampant drug and alcohol abuse, frustration, and apathy led to Osbourne's dismissal by the band. And while the Black Sabbath name would continuously juggle frontmen and musicians in the 1980's, Ozzy would embark on a highly-successful solo career. And while his life and career would become a mix of infamy and controversy, it is with his debut album that he solidified himself as a rock and metal legend. And oh yeah, Randy Rhoads does a pretty good job helping him out.
Ozzy has always made sure he's had a solid guitarist behind him, such as Jake E. Lee and Zakk Wylde. But it was because of Randy Rhoads' involvement with Ozzy's first two albums that he followed the trend of having a solid axeman. Rhoads may not be as memorable a riffer as Tony Iommi, but his technical skill playing and soloing rooted in classical music is what sets him apart from the rest. The end result is not grinding and brooding, but rather, an upbeat and epic rock sound. Even the album's darker moments, such as Mr. Crowley and Revelation (Mother Earth), feature Rhoads' epic style. His solos and riffs alone on Crazy Train, Mr. Crowley, Goodbye to Romance, Suicide Solution, and Steal Away the Night is what designates his status as an all-time great and essential piece to Blizzard's puzzle for success.
Blizzard of Ozz is basically a who's who of immortal metal classics. As often as it's played at every sports game imaginable, Crazy Train remains the sing-along arena staple that it was in 1980, with Ozzy's classic chorus and Randy's speedy solo. Mr. Crowley helped solidify Ozzy's status as a controversial rock icon with its lyrical content but features perhaps the two most celebrated guitar solos in metal history, and with good reason. And while not as memorable as good ol' Iommi, Randy flexes his riffing muscles in album opener I Don't Know, fun and fast-paced Steal Away the Night, and the infamous Suicide Solution, which became the center of a lawsuit against Mr. Osbourne. And while power ballads are often cliched and always tough to pull off successfully, that's exactly what Ozzy manages to do. Goodbye to Romance, Ozzy's farewell ode to Black Sabbath, is emotional and may sound schmaltzy, but it's 100 percent genuine. Dueling guitar and keyboard solos coupled with Ozzy's catchy yet heart-breaking lament of a chorus definitely set the standard of what a power ballad should be. And while Revelation (Mother Earth) may not be as memorable as Goodbye to Romance, it features its own share of experimentation with haunting acoustic and piano melodies and a great Rhoads guitar solo comes swinging out of nowhere. The only songs that could be considered "filler" are No Bone Movies and Dee. No Bone Movies is a mid to fast-paced rocker that seems to be about the dangers of porn addiction, or uses porn as a metaphor or drug addiction, I don't know. Still, it's a solid rocker and does its job. Dee is a 50 second acoustic instrumental piece which, nicely enough is dedicated to Randy's mother Delores. And even though it greatly contrasts with the rest of the album, Randy shows off his classical stylings and hey, it's a song dedicated to his mother, so you can't be too harsh.
One bit of controversy that continues to surround this album (and no, it's not the controversial 2002 reissue) is that Blizzard has more of a mainstream, arena, and (gasp!) "pop" feel than the Black Sabbath Ozzy material. But did Black Sabbath with Dio still sound like Black Sabbath? If they were allowed to reinvent themselves, why not Ozzy? In fact, it's because songs like Crazy Train, Mr. Crowley, and Goodbye to Romance are so catchy and "mainstream" that make them so memorable and beloved. The combination of quality and accessibility is truly a testament to Ozzy's career and music. And while Ozzy would continue to follow up with solid albums such as Diary of a Madman, Bark at the Moon (which is actually more "commercial" than Blizzard), and No Rest for the Wicked, Blizzard of Ozz shows the greatest diversity and technical ability.
To put it in the plainest terms, Blizzard of Ozz is basically the Ozzy and Randy show. Bob and Lee prove to be a solid support team with bass and drums, but it's Randy's guitar and Ozzy's singing which take center stage on the album. The riffs may not be as memorable as Sabbath's, but the solos are mind-blowing and absolutely unbelievable. And while Ozzy has never been heralded for being the most technically skilled vocalist (probably the least-skilled of any Sabbath frontman), he definitely proves to be consistent and reliable. Not bad considering what he'd done and continue to do to his body for the better part of 4 decades. For his debut album, it was make or break for Ozzy and he made the absolute most of it. Without Blizzard of Ozz, I honestly don't think you could say he'd be as big of a star as he is today.
Ozzy's first solo album came out the same year as Sabbath's first post-Ozzy album. Sabbath had their secret weapon in the form of Dio himself; Ozzy, for his part, had his own ace up his sleeve in Randy Rhoads, a prodigiously talented guitarist whose shredding is far and away the most appealing aspect of this album.
Let's face it: as compelling as he was in his prime as a frontman, Ozzy's talent for lyrics has always been hit or miss, and that's never truer than on this album, with dubious rhymes infecting most of the songs and some pieces, like the bizarre anti-porn piece No Bone Movies, descending into incoherence. ("Hungry for bodge", Ozzy? Really?) What Ozzy has always needed is a high-quality musical backing to elevate his wails from drunken rambling to thunderous, almost operatic statements. In Sabbath this was provided by Iommi's doomy riffs; here, it's Rhoads who steps up to the plate with technically flashy soloing that pushes songs such as I Don't Know and Crazy Train from goof-off territory into the staples of Ozzy's act they became.
However, in any review carried out today, the album needs to hold its own not only against Heaven and Hell - which I would argue is a more consistent album, having no song as out of place or limp as the utterly needless ballad Goodbye to Romance that blots the running order here - but also faces stiff competition from Tribute, the double live album documenting the 1981 tour which was released in honour of Randy. Said album includes all the songs from here, plus a wealth of classical guitar material from Randy culled from the recording of the brief interlude Dee on Blizzard, without the sleek studio production job that renders some songs (such as Suicide Solution) rather lifeless on this disc. On balance, Blizzard of Ozz was a listenable and entertaining product that proved that Ozzy could be a viable commercial force without Sabbath, but it's not stood the test of time nearly as well as Heaven and Hell, or Ozzy and Rhoads' own Tribute.
There's no doubting the iconic wave Mr. Osbourne has been riding since his SABBATH days, augmented all the more by his solo work, increasingly-maddening "Ozzfest" debacles and media whoring. It's all in conjecture, and understandably so, but at the end of the day shouldn't the overall product be as sound and meaty as the constant praise? After all, that's what should be the most important...right? Right?
So let's see if his now-legendary beginnings hold true those ideals...
I think I owned this disc for a good month or so before I got rid of it. And with good reason. There is absolutely nothing on this album that should even be remotely considered "legendary", at least, in my book. This wasn't Ozzy attempting some kind of new stylistic beginnings after his fallout with SABBATH. This was Ozzy's attempt at a pop album which ended up heavy as a result of him not seeming to know any better. Seriously...this is one of the most bland and sterile acts of musical banality I've come across this side of all the shitty local demos I've checked out or SUFFOCATION's "Human Waste". Nothing is working in the listener's favor...the production is wooden, the guitar tone is an irritating grind, the drumwork has that plasticy touch, and Ozzy's wails never clicked with me, although this time around it's more palatable due to his ability to sing REAL vocal lines versus shadowing the guitar licks. And even though Randy Rhodes was able to molest the six stringed monster like no one else back then and evoked all sorts of talent, it's wasted on this exercise in devastating solipsism, with all his riffery and solowork thrown into the background with everyone else to make sure the Ozzman gets all the face time he's allowed. And at the end of the day, it's the songs themselves that are supposed to be the main reason for consistant lovey-doveyness, and none of them have any sort of staying power; tepid, middle-of-the-road, and devoid of any sort of substance outside of obvious ability...and the biggest sin in all of this is the lamentable "Crazy Train". By all the gods of death, I hate hate HATE this song with every fiber of my being; annoying, overplayed, and performed with that "just starting out" band feel that stays in the listener's head far too long (and am I the only one here who noticed that the first part of Randy's solo is OUT OF KEY??? Oops!). Then again, other songs like "I Don't Know", "Suicide Solution", "No Bone Movies" and "Mr. Crowley" are all as equally irritating and shallow, so I guess no one wins in the end.
All in all Ozzy's first foray into the popular music world is about as fulfilling as cotton candy, and since then each successive album has somehow made things worse. With such a shitty, unfortunate beginning, how is that even possible? No fucking thanks...
With Ozzy often finding himself these days in the same "fallen from grace" position as his peers in bands like Metallica and Queensryche, I always hope that future generations will remember the man's earliest studio albums as some of his greatest achievements. Released in 1980, this particular album proved that Ozzy could find success away from Black Sabbath and also introduced the mainstream world to the late guitarist Randy Rhoads following two unnoticed albums with Quiet Riot.
Even though this album was released as a singer's solo debut, it is pretty safe to say that everything on here is all about the guitar playing. Rhoads truly steals the show on this album as well as on the following "Diary Of A Madman" and manages to be both intense and versatile throughout. Of course, Ozzy himself puts on a decent performance and carries the hooks well in spite of being put on the spot more than he ever was in Sabbath. The rhythm section is also enjoyable though it doesn't get to stand out as much as could...
Musically, you could say that this album serves as an extension of the sound that previously appeared on Sabbath's first four albums. The songs are generally driven by the guitar in a way that resembles "Master of Reality" and the atmosphere is overwhelmingly dark when compared to some of Ozzy's later solo efforts. The extensive theatrics on this album also seem to expand on those that were merely hinted at on works such as "Sabotage" and "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath." However, the songs rarely go into the slower tempos of the singer's alma mater and instead go towards fast, upbeat tempos that were hardly ever explored in those days.
The songs reflect this diversity of influences well and go into many different styles through the nine-song duration. You've got some dark metal tracks ("I Don't Know," "Suicide Solution," "Mr. Crowley"), upbeat anthems ("Crazy Train," "No Bone Movies," "Steal Away (The Night)"), a few more melodic moments ("Goodbye to Romance," "Dee"), and an amazing hybrid in the form of "Revelation (Mother Earth)." The lattermost track is definitely my favorite of the lot with its apocalyptic imagery and excellent guitar work though you can't deny the fun that still manages to come along with "Crazy Train" in spite of it being so overplayed recently...
Predominately written by bassist Bob Daisley, the lyrics on this album are also noteworthy and may some of the most sophisticated ever associated with the Ozz. A variety of topics are presented and generally include society ("Crazy Train," "Revelation (Mother Earth)"), addiction ("Suicide Solution," "No Bone Movies"), personal struggles ("I Don't Know," "Goodbye to Romance"), a bit of occultism ("Mr. Crowley"), and good ol' fashioned debauchery for good measure in "Steal Away (The Night)."
Of course, this album does have its flaws. While "No Bone Movies" and "Steal Away" are pretty fun rockers, they do go into borderline filler territory and "Mr. Crowley" does feature some awkward verses that are fortunately made up for by the powerful instrumental segments. And in a way similar to AC/DC's Brian Johnson, Ozzy's vocals may also be a little weak in comparison to the instrumental prowess but this is easy to overlook when you consider how used to his voice you probably are due to his recent saturation...
All in all, this album is an essential listen for metal fans of all kinds as well as for anyone that calls themselves a fan of the guitar. While the album's successes do make me wonder why the reviews for it here on the Archives are so mixed, the flaws do help me see how some don't like it. Oh well, I suppose every metalhead has an Ozzy phase at some point...
My Current Favorites:
"I Don't Know," "Crazy Train," "Goodbye to Romance," "Suicide Solution," and "Revelation (Mother Earth)"
Osbourne really stepped into the fantasy realms of his psycho mind and plugged out a fine, yet too polished, studio outing. Without any concept, the Blizzard would carry an "American style"- status. Daisley wrote the lyrical score for this album, Rhoads invented the riffs and Ozzy got out of his bathtub and invented few excellent recordings, some medicore and some really poor material that we find to be fillers.
The opening salvo of "I dont know" has incredibly simple riff with added fuel of aquistic moment overbearing the good, yet mad solo. No Bone Movies stays full steam a filler, althought in Tribute the live chords of this song are kinda nice. Mr.Crowley, Crazy Train and Suicide Solution simply gets the job done. My freakin face melts when I get to the "All aboard the crazy train" moment. This epic musical score offers the first solo Ozzy go, while not being Osbournes best attempt, still kicks ass.
The material is a good mix of heavy metal and rock and roll. Two ballads Revelation( Mother Earth) and Goodbye To Romance set the mood set for a dreamy, if not crazy altitudes. The crazed charm of Ozz begings to enfold of the rock classics, such as Steal Away, where the moment is stolen, but for good deeds.
The album lacks personality and concept, so in the songs itself there is no story or point. Because this record has no concept, its taken way too malicourlsy. With no imaginitive fantasy realm, its more of a: "Hi this is Ozzy I am crazy and all". Everyone knows that so some material do get repertuous. Its just that Ozzman commands:"This is what I was in Sabbath, now this is what I will do the following 30 years". That announcement reflects the point of this heavy metal record. Some fans may want to leave Ozzy, but they certainly are in the minority. New recordings got this commercial pop rock taste and this album is the one to talk about one day and listen to when you are young and vulnerable. There are, yes we are being exposed to certain "pop hooks", which is good counting the measure that pop is the bottom line metal idea.
With horrificly fast running time, this album falls short to most of Ozzy Osbournes recordings, not because this is bad, but because the later stuff rocks way too hard. After Randys death some fans left Ozz for good, but indeed similar album to this is for example the heavy "Black Rain". Some really rare solo moments are treasured to this record and its like listening to gospel with kick ass writers and composers.
Before I say anything else I have to make clear that Ozzy, as a singer, is totally insignificant to me and sometimes I really despise and hate his voice. Still, bearing in mind what he has offered to heavy metal all these long years, I have the obligation towards him to be as objective as I can and see his albums as the work of many musicians, not just Ozzy.
And now that I’m done let’s see what’s in store for us. Blizzard of Ozz is Ozzy’s first album in his solo career. He has gathered a line-up of good musicians, especially the amazing guitarist Randy Roads. You can tell by the cover that after his break-up with Black Sabbath he has returned with some wild intentions. His voice, I think, sounds kind of heavier than before but still remains so recognizable. The sound of the band deviates from that of Black Sabbath and tends to a more “American” style. I think it is good the fact that he didn’t stay stuck to the past and make the album sound more updated and “fresh”.
The collaboration among the band and their performance is very good but what really stands out is the incredible, melodic guitar playing by Roads. Sometimes it plays a key role letting Ozzy come second. Some of the most well-known riffs that have been written are included in the Blizzard… I wish I could make the same nice comments about the vocals but apparently Ozzy just doesn’t have it in him. He is a fine composer, a colossal frontman, no doubt about it! However he doesn’t have the ability to any better than that.
Blizzard of Ozz owes his existence to three metal hymns. Crazy Train, Suicide Solution and Mr.Crowley have written their own history in the book of heavy metal. Crazy Train is a fantastic song with a superb riff. I hear it at almost every rock club I may go to. Suicide Solution became well-known because of the trouble it brought to the band but also gave them some good advertising and promotion. Of course we all know that you must be too stupid to kill yourself, let alone only by listening to a song.
Mr.Crowley is a composition that smells like Sabbath to me. I’m not saying that Ozzy stepped on his Sabbath fame. It’s just that its’ heavy, slow riff and feeling fooled me for a moment to believe that he had never left them. For many fans this song is probably his best.
I’m disappointed by the fact that there are two ballads in the album, in a total of nine songs including Roads’ acoustic monologue on Dee. And to be honest only one of them is quite okay. Goodbye to Romance is very emotional and reveals a sensitive side in Osbourne’s soul. On the other hand Revelation is a completely useless one. It does more bad in the album than good.
Steal Away(The Night) is a fine sample of how heavy metal should be played back then. It has a pretty fast tempo and it can excite you. The remaining songs though are not of big importance. They are only expanding the playing time which would be too little without them.
In overall, Blizzard of Ozz is not too bad. It has its’ ups and downs. It is however too overlooked by many because it marked the beginning of Ozzy’s solo career. Okay, it was a nice start but considering what followed it makes it lose many points.
The only thing this album is excellent at is proving one undisputable truth in Metal: A respectable guitarist does NOT fix everything.
Now before everyone jumps on the Randy Rhoads bandwagon, so few realize that the only reason his fame continues to this day is due to this unfortunate death. He recorded a total of four albums, not enough to warrant permanent popularity. Besides the next album is where he was at his finest and even that is the same thing as this. Just like every single Heavy Metal, or Rock in General, guitarist from 1980 on, Randy Rhoads blatantly rips off the ideas of the legendary but nauseatingly underrated Rik Emmett. Everything about his guitar tone, style and speed are so ludicrously derivative that it’s hard to truly revere them.
Where this album also suffers is production and dreadful track listing. We begin with the worst produced song on the album, I Don’t Know. Well, Ozzy, I Don’t Know, I’ve spent years trying to figure out why you are famous, but songs like this just prove how much better Sabbath got once your inept voice was discharged.
After the tedious opener we get the atrocious start of Ozzy’s trademarks. The only attribute of Crazy Train is hardly a quality. It manages to sum up all the things that would appear on at least one song on every future album. The whole “I will act crazy so people will think I am cool, when in reality I am just raping them of their money. But its okay people at least I have a good guitarist, right? Right?” This rumpus, can’t call it a song, is the worst on the album.
Why I say the track listing kills is after two vomit-inducing songs we get a ballad and, at that point, there was no such thing as an adequate ballad by Ozzy. I am sure if we brought down NASA engineers and matched the world debt in the process, we could find a music where Ozzy’s voice fits it. One fact is Ozzy is best when he can’t be heard all that well, he has the most appalling voice in the history of Metal. No matter how good the music is on Goodbye to Romance, a first thus far on the record, it is absolutely eviscerated by the guy behind the microphones’ shrill ‘Dog Being Killed’ voice.
Now we get Randy Rhoads frenziedly ripping off one of his idols, Rik Emmett. If he was trying to outshine Rik Emmett then he failed as miserably as anyone who dares trying to compete with the most versatile and flexible guitarist in history. Just listen to Triumph’s “Fingertalking” or “Fantasy Serenade” and see how obvious here Randy Rhoads is imitating, AND FAILING, Rik Emmett.
The last song on side one, Suicide Solution, follows suit. Disposable trash. Side Two doesn’t start out any better, with Mr. Crowley, which has but only one abiding quality. Thus we introduce the always steadfast Don Airey, with his evil, chilling organ intro. The rest of the song itself is okay I guess, but after the last five abysmal tracks it barely eludes insipidness.
Thus far I know I have been mean to this album, yet my rating is a 60, you might be asking how I chose to give it such a rating. Well the answer lies in the last three songs, equaling 13:31. All three tracks have what the first six lack and that is imagination and enthusiasm, the band sounds engrossed, including Ozzy. No Bone Movies is uproarious and kicks ass, the last minute and a half is like an orgasm, the gradual build-up to a great swirling climax. I find it amusing that the best correlation given for this track is sexual in nature and yet the song is about a voyeur who has an unmanageable lust for masturbation.
Steal Away the Night is another kick ass track, though it cannot be called a ‘classic’. It is entertaining and vigorous with a piercing riff and finally the rhythm section equaling the velocity of the guitarist. There is only one real classic on this album and that is the only one I have yet to cover, Revelation (Mother Earth). Ozzy sounds good, even when he is singing in an poignant voice, the contrast amid acoustic and electric guitar playing is shrewdly done. It never sticks with either style long enough to erode its build-up, and for once on the album Ozzy does not fatigue his welcome. His voice here is stimulating, and the fact that four minutes of this song exist without his voice works wonders too as well. Those four minutes give the other members a chance to excel, in particular the aforementioned, consistent, Don Airey. His piano work here can only be described as ‘pretty’, it is supple and tender backed by elegant chords by Randy Rhoads. Those chords become serious and staining when he picks up the pace and fires off his best work on the album. It is the one time on the album where he can carry the whole band on his shoulders and succeed, his sense of timing is flawless here and establishes he was a very good guitar player, even if not the most innovative.
So in the end this album is a severe mixed bag, three good songs out of nine is not a very good percentage. I cannot commend this album, I propose to any new comer the first side of Bark at the Moon or the entire Ultimate Sin album. Those show what Ozzy was wholly capable of. Obtain the last three songs and avoid the rest, because you’re not missing anything.
Yes, I know this album is considered a classic by many. I personally am also a big fan of Ozzy in his eighties period. Yet I’ve always preferred his 1981 album ‘Diary Of A Madman’ over this one. There’s a simple reason for this. ‘Diary…’ was slightly less rock, more metal and darker.
A decent amount of the songs on Blizzard Of Ozz are firmly based upon hardrock. This obviously had something to do with Rhoads’ Quiet Riot background and Ozzy not wanting too sound too much like his previous band.
‘Suicide Solution’, ‘No Bone Movies’ and ‘Steal Away’ are typical yet very good seventies rockers. These kind of songs always sound better live than on album. The ‘Tribute: Randy Rhoads’ live recordings which were released in 1987 proved that.
The best songs present on Blizzard are the songs with the highest amount of metal and/or darkness. Opener ‘I Don’t Know’ works around an effective heavy riff and ‘Crazy Train’ balances between rock and metal but still sounds heavy.
Third highlight is the epic ‘Mr. Crowley’ with its mighty keyboard intro before plunging into a very dark but melancholic mid paced composition with an incredibly beautiful and powerful guitar solo. Truly a classic in Ozzy’s solo career.
The ballad ‘Goodbye to Romance’ has never been a favourite of mine. Neither was the live version. The lyrics are somewhat enjoyable but the song has always sounded too cheesy. The instrumental ‘Dee’ is gorgeous and of course way too short.
Yes, I like this album, but not as much as its follow-up.
Ozzy’s success as a solo artist has been well documented in the realm of both radio and music television; that much is certain, but with all the lousy acts that get their 15 minutes of fame on these venues one ought to question everything they herald. Although Ozzy, like his nemesis Ronnie James Dio has been blessed with collaborations with amazing guitarists, the relationship he has with his players is one of co-dependence rather than collaboration.
Rhandy Rhodes was not only Ozzy’s guitarist, he was his personal savior, and the evidence can be seen in this rather musically ambitious yet vocally mediocre collection of songs. As with all metal vocalists, he was nothing without a great band, and after being fired from Black Sabbath he returned to nothing until this album was released. Ozzy’s charm was not in his singing, although his work on “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” and “Sabotage” was inspired, but in his image and stage persona. Unfortunately, stage presence counts for zero in the studio, while words and music count for everything.
One of the blessings that I’ve found in completely detaching myself both from radio and MTV is that great songs being overplayed has had zero affect on me. Classic songs off this album such as “Crazy Train”, “I don’t know”, and “Suicide Solution” rock hard and are loaded with solid guitar riffing and highly climactic solos. “Mr. Crowley” will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most amazing atmospheric and shred driven compositions of the early 80s, despite have a lackluster vocal performance. Even the vocally exposed ballad “Goodbye to Romance” is musically in good order.
Other songs on here are not bad, but tend to be lost in the collection of classic riff monsters. “Dee” is a brief instrumental that no doubt is meant to emulate similar works on previous Sabbath albums. Not bad, probably even more technically oriented than Tony Iommi’s caprices, but it’s a bit out of place here. “Steal Away” has some solid guitar work in it, but lacks any definitive hooks to put it up with the bulk of the stuff on the earlier half of the album. Everything else on here is a combination of what is lacking in both of these songs.
Basically to sum up, this is a good album, but it’s not something that falls into the category of being revolutionary. Rhandy Rhodes is a solid player and an excellent composer, but much of what he does here riff wise harkens back to both Sabbath and other rock/metal acts of the 70s, while his soloing is a more energetic variant on Eddie Van Halen’s model. “Heaven and Hell” and “Mob Rules” were much more revolutionary both musically and lyrically than this was. Fans of the NWOBHM, shred, and traditional metal will like this, although fans of mid-70s era Sabbath will not be impressed with Ozzy’s shrinking high range and inability to get in the center of the pitch he’s trying to sing.
Ozzy's first is often considered his best by many a fanboy, but I can't get behind that theory, primarily because of the sheer epicness of his second album and some of the great material on a few of the later ones. But just because it's not the best doesn't mean it isn't a respectable classic.
As the title suggests, I firmly believe that "Mr. Crowley" justifies the purchase of this album on its own merit. A magnificent organ intro, killer riffing, great vocals and lyrics, and of course, one of heavy metal's most brilliant guitar solo moments all propel this song into the archives of metal greatness. The song continues to haunts me to this day, and I'm sure I've heard it hundreds of times. It's that fucking cool.
Mr. Crowley isn't the only high point here, however. Several metal standards are featured here, such as the quick paced "I Don't Know," the dark "Suicide Solution," and the Sabbath-esque "Steal Away (the Night)." There are more mellow songs as well, such as the well-written ballad "Goodbye to Romance," acoustic instrumental "Dee," and the epic sounding "Revelation (Mother Earth)." Every track is blessed with the phenomenal guitar wizzardry of Randy Rhoads, whose riffs are intricate, his fills plentiful, and his solos godlike. Ozzy has a few memorable moments in the form of melody lines and lyrics, but Randy definitely takes the spotlight here. The synthesizer work is notable as well, especially the "Mr. Crowley" intro and the piano part in "Revelation."
"Crazy Train" is Ozzy's most well known anthem, but aside from the magnificent guitar work, I believe it's wholly overrated. The songs on Blizzard tend to be either undeniable classics or just solid, decent songs. That inconsistency is the reason this album is not rated as high as the later albums.
Rhoad's playing is the reason to own this album. Overall, it's a solid example of 80's metal, despite being somewhat mainstream, and should be a part of just about every metal collection, whether you love Ozzy Osbourne or despise him.
Raise no objection, suggest no other, in the field of neo-classical metal guitar there is nobody who has ever been better than Randy Rhoads. Some are more technical, others faster, a handful more original (okay, just Ritchie Blackmore, Eddie Van Halen, and perhaps Ulrich Roth), but none are lick for lick better than this man. The guy single-handedly raises the catchy songwriting of Bob Daisley and the charmingly doofy vocals of the Ozz to the level of popular art. There is no bad guitar moment on this album. There aren't even any merely good ones. Randy was all incredible, all the time.
Let me put it this way. When you're grading an album whether you know it or not you're starting from zero and adding points based upon certain elements of the CD. If the CD is blank, you give it a zero and put it in your computer and see if you can burn anything onto it. If the CD has good drumming, you might give it five points. If the CD has great vocals, maybe twenty points. If the CD has great songwriting and riffs, fifty points. If the CD is In Flames' Soundtrack to Your Escape you give it a zero and put it in your computer and see if you can burn anything onto it. You get the idea.
With Randy Rhoads in your band, your CD basically gets 100% and then you start taking away points for Categories That Are Not Randy Rhoads. Thankfully, Ozzy's almost shockingly hippy-dippy happy debut (please compare to: Vol. 4 or Sabotage) doesn't screw things up too much, everybody performing well and the Daisley/Osbourne/Rhoads writing team ralphing up enough gems to blind the listener to the small contingent of coke-addled pooches on here (mostly the abysmal "No Bone Movies").
With the exceptions of the lead-booted metal maven "Suicide Solution" and the uncharacteristically preachy "Revelation (Mother Earth)" everything here seems to skip along with a dazed child-like grin, Ozzy out of his head with glee that things are going so very well for him in what by all rights ought to be a flatlining career. From "Goodbye to Romance" which honestly sounds to me like the theme song to a 70's sitcom (no specific one, but I could see Laverne & Shirley opening with this) to the sugar-coated "Paranoid" placebo "Crazy Train" to the nudge nudge wink wink drama of "Mr. Crowley", it all seems so welcoming and inclusive. This is basically the core tenants of hair metal delivered by a creature so obviously devoid of subterfuge that no one would even think of charging him with selling out, supported in this of course by a guitar player verging on godlike, an idea Dokken in particular would champion to nowhere near the same artistic success.
Although it seems unlikely that anyone would need a description of what the hits from this record sound like, the music here does deserve a little bit of analysis outside of my jovial "Look how doggone cute it is!" ramblings. The guitars are the main focus here, a classically-derived barrage of incredibly dense leads ("Mr. Crowley" is THE solo you think of when you hear the term, believe me) and absurdly hot riffs. Ozzy's band was probably the first to really have lead-based riffs since Boston (and, to be fair, some of the bubbling under NWOBHMers) , and the effect is incredible as Rhoads wraps even the most standard compositions in a titanium-steel coat of pre-power classiness. Consider the primitive Priestian speed metal of "Steal Away (the Night)", which Rhoads just burns through like prime time Ritchie on steroids, or the totally monstrous sledge that explodes out of the delicate and plaintive "Revelation".
"Crazy Train" is probably the best way to show you folks what I mean considering that every time I say the name Mandy Mhoads I feel the need to point out some astonishing thing he does here ("I Don't Know" solo... okay, I'll shut up about it). We open with a completely cool and instantly memorable bass groove (although it was better on the original version... later...) and some distorted exhortations from the Oz before suddenly changing gears into this sort of peppy little riff that invites you to go prancing down the garden path the band, Randy playing the song almost the way a drummer would with little note fills tagging the end of each line, all in all almost a let down after the badass intro licks until the Big Damn Chorus makes everybody in the building sing along (most of whom have only heard the word 'mandible' in connection with WWF superstar Mankind) before Randy shreds a hole in the universe (and that’s just a lick, the actual solo is the made of the sparkling stuff of dreams). It’s a combination that might feel forced anywhere else, this idea of big gothic riffage married with pop song-writing but here (and even more so on the two subsequent releases) it absolutely works.
Most of the flaws on this release come when we get away from the moat metal slayage, “No Bone Movies” being simply too awkward and stupid for its own good in spite of the decent riff. “Goodbye to Romance” is quite touching and pretty when listened to sporadically, but is simply too sappy and Ozzy’s vocal too high and whiny to be tolerated. It isn’t bad, it’s just not a song to bother listening to all that often. Although it’s only a bonus track, “You Lookin’ at Me Lookin’ at You” should probably be sentenced to permanent house arrest for the crime of sucking ass. If that’s been decriminalized, this damned liberal society has gone too far!
Anyway, one further comment. I am reviewing the 2002 re-mastered reissue which was partially re-recorded as a result of a dispute over royalties with former band members Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake. I didn’t own the original release, so I can’t tell you what the difference is on a track like “No Bone Movies” would be, but I do know the production is a bit less ‘dense’ on here than it was before due to the fact that they pretty much had to strip off all of the rhythm tracks (and I’ve heard even some guitar tracks) in order to re-record the rhythm section. My advice, sonically, is to buy the older CD releases if possible. “You Lookin’ at Me Lookin’ at You” is not enough of a hook to justify buying an inferior product if you have a choice.
From a moral perspective, this is one of the most reprehensible acts I’ve come across in metal, basically as low as you can go without actually committing a crime (Mayhem, Emperor, Faster Pussycat…*giggle*). This has the fingerprints of Sharon and her ruthless business practices all over it. The fact that she would conscience maiming the albums her husband is most loved for to avoid paying two musicians who were partially responsible for giving Ozzy a career says more about her character than she probably thinks, but its just another brick in the wall she’s built between the metal public and our patron saint. For shame.
So yes, you should buy this album, though preferably after the even better Diary of a Madman. It is usually cheaper than all get out, and it includes the book one of the Gospel of Rhoads which all classic metalheads become better for having worshipped by. His talent will live forever, mingled within the very blood of the genre he redefined.
Stand-Outs: “Revelation (Mother Earth)”, “Steal Away (The Night)”, “Suicide Solution”
This is my favorite Ozzy album...and its still pretty damn bad. We have three good tracks on this album, then a bunch of garbage. The album is very inconsistent and impossible to listen to from the beginning to end. The 3 tracks on this album do offer 3 different great things and are worth a listen, but I wouldn't buy the album over them.
After a boring intro song, Crazy Train offers this album hope, which disapears after this track. Crazy Train has a great opening riff done in an 80's style metal but without having a hair metal feel to it that pulls you right into some good vocals by Ozzy. The highlight of this album is the amazing solo Randy Rhodes does. Its lengthy, intense, and very enjoyable hitting many different and pleasant sounding notes. The solo totaly blows away anything on the rest of this album, or anything Ozzy has done with his solo career, its that damn good. After a boring ballad and an unispired instrumental track the ablum goes into the song with the best riff on it. Here the song has a great opening riff that streches throughout the entire song and manages not to get boring or annoying, but in fact stay good and enjoyable. The bass line here is also pretty good, its flowing with the riff and has volume. After this delightful track the album hits its last good song. Mr. Crowly has the best song structure of any song on this album. It has good solo's, good riffs, good basslines and drums, and some pretty good vocals. The song is very well written abd put together. The album then ends in a trio of garbage.
So aside from 3 great tracks the album totaly blows and is boring. Not even these three great tracks are convincing enough to make anyone want to buy this ablum. This album prooves that Ozzy at his best, is at best medeocre. Stay away from Ozzy in General
Let me start by saying that it is a shame that this is my favourite album that Ozzy did solo. Of course everybody will say that Randy Rhodes rules, but then again if one wants to discuss shredding, then Malmsteen or Buckethead or even Wylde can shred circles around Rhodes. He is not a bad guitarist by any means, but so very overrated. Ozzy himself doesn't have much of a voice, but then again he never really did.
I think that the album makes itself to be heavier than it really is. The guitar sounds rather weak, even though the riffs are there. The drums are nothing special, mainly just trying to keep the guitar in check. This is early enough in Ozzy's career that his voice is not going all shakey yet (see Live at Bodokan or whatever it's called). The main problem with these songs is that they have the most promising intro, and they just lose it as the song goes on. The band fails to return to the same formula that they used to write the first part, hence having the song just losing steam until it becomes simply boring.
3 very good examples of this - Mr. Crowley, with it's killer intro, promptly ruined by Ozzy's voice and the song change. Crazy Train, with one of the best riffs ever in it's into, suddenly gets all happy and cheerful, which is not good ladies and gentlemen, especially when you have a riff that badass as your intro. And lastly, Suicide Solution, with a really cool verse that is so singable, but the chorus really sucks dick. Goodbye to Romance just isin't good. Never really was, Ozzy sounds really strained.
Despite all that, this is still a fairly good album and the one to buy if you want an Ozzy solo album. However, anything (literally) by Black Sabbath is better.
This album really has one distinctive trait, and that is Randy Rhoads. His guitar solos are something out of this world, really - total fucking shredding, but with taste and a keen sense of melody. No wankery is to be found here, most every solo is pretty much memorable note for note.
The rest of the album... the thing is, Rhoads plays circles around everyone else. He plays a million notes a second, and the songs tend to seem fast at times, but then they really are not. For example, "I Don't Know", which starts with a crash and then that majorly fast riff, but when the bass comes in, it kinda plods along. Then the chorus is totally plodding along. Still a great song, because the solo completely saves it, but the thing is, this is not a band cut out to play speed metal, when only one instrument is going Hell Bent for Leather. Even Judas Priest with Dave Holland sounded far faster than this.
"Crazy Train" is the obligatory classic - not really the best song on here, because the chorus is just so grating the way Sucky Suckbourne sings it. His voice completely blows ass - Ozzy would be such a great band if they got rid of that cretin behind the microphone. Black Sabbath did the right thing, why didn't Ozzy?
The rest... "Goodbye to Romance", I'm sorry but this song just completely fucking sucks. Ozzy couldn't write a ballad to save his life. Dee is a little guitar noodle, pretty decent since Randy can definitely write great solos, acoustic, electric, you name it. "Suicide Solution" - man if I had to listen to that song more than once I'd kill myself too! It blows fucking donkey chunks!!
"Mr. Crowley" - my goodness, this song has so much promise. Listen to that intro, it's the most ominous thing since "Black Sabbath". Fucking immense atmosphere, then... "Miiiiister Crowwwleeeeey". Pffffft. Get that stupid cokehead away from the mike, we've got a guitar solo to record. The song plods through two verses, and then the monster solo. So good, in fact, that I once edited out the middle section using Cool Edit and just had keyboard intro and then outro solo. A winner is you!!
The rest - boring!! "Revelation" has a fucking sweet solo, but the riffs don't hold together - I have no idea who wrote the riffs, but poor Randy must have been falling asleep playing them. "Can we get to the solo already? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"
So what we have here is one of the greatest guitarists of all time, toiling away with two competent but unspectacular musicians, one underused and underappreciated keyboardist, and some dickfuck that should've retired in 1948.