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No More Tears
On its own, No More Tears is a pretty nice rocking album guaranteeing a really good time upon listening. But as the follow-up to the asskicking No Rest For The Wicked, this is incredibly disappointing.
The album is much simpler than its predecessor, pretty much going back to basics with simple song structures, memorable guitar lines and catchy choruses. Simple, but at times really effective, when you just want to have a bit of fun. But upon closer listening, it feels pretty shallow and doesn't have much replay value. The riffing madness that Zakk Wylde burst out has been very limited now, as the focus is once again on Ozzy's below average vocals. Fortunately, he still sounds fairly decent, although nowhere near his performance on NRFTW.
But Zakk does get to show his talent at certain times. Those times being during the solos- cause his soloing is no less than amazing, reaching the same quality as the No Rest stuff, screaming heavy metal like nothing else. The solos are easily the best moments in every single song, in fact.
Some obvious influences from southern rock are obvious at some moments in the guitarplaying, namely during the solo of I Don't Want To Change The World and the acoustic intro to A.V.H.
This works surprisingly good, and gives the listener something refreshing and new.
But like I said, the songwriting is pretty shallow, and the album easily gets old. Many of the songs have some really nice and fairly heavy verses that sound really good, but then either goes into some boring bridge (Desire and opening track Mr.Tinkertrain comes to mind) or into a really pathetic melodic piece that totally ruins the mood (S.I.N.). Eventually, very few songs stay solid all through, which is the album's main weakness.
The exception to the rule is the title track. It's a really nice midpaced groove-ish tune with very cool bass-driven verses, a very nice sense of groove to the riffwork and of course the excellent, atmospheric solo with the overt but nice usage of keyboards.
Other decent songs are Mr.Tinkertrain (it has more good moments than bad...), I Don't Want To Change The World (although that melodic and overemotional bridge after the solo not only sucks, but it's also completely out of place) and Hellraiser (again some very cool bass-driven verses).
The album also features an entirety of 3 ballads. The radio hit Mama I'm Coming Home, the less known Time After Time, and the closer Road To Nowhere. They're all pretty decent for Ozzy ballads, but in general they somehow manage to be overemotional yet feel like there's no emotion put into them. They're not horrible, but... well, Ozzy was never a ballad-writer.
In the end, No More Tears is pretty fun, but doesn't really work on many levels. Although, if you find it cheap, it's probably worth it - if only for the title track and the solos.