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Best of 90s Ozzy - 90%

Yrael, April 15th, 2012

This was the first album I purchased with my own money. I bought the 2002 re-issue back when I was in my early teens. I had been preoccupied with nu-metal and hard rock groups quite whole heartedly until I got my hands on this album. I didn't realize what I was missing out on. I believe this is one of the finest examples of traditional heavy metal every created. Every facet of this album is pretty marvelous. Lyrically, musically, production wise- it's just an incredibly well crafted album. 90's Ozzy at his best. I don't think he's created anything of this caliber since, nor do I think he ever will reach this quality again.

No More Tears features some of the best song writing of his career. Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead wrote the lyrics for "I Don't Want to Change the World", "Desire", "Hellraiser" and "Mama, I'm Coming Home". In totality, all eleven tracks (or thirteen if you have the reissue) are in their own way great songs. There is so little filler on this album. Past the general all star quality song craftsmanship present, the instrumentation is beyond top notch. Ozzy has a good eye (and ear) for talent, and all members of his musical entourage are masters of their craft, not a shoddy performance had from anyone. Of course when you're at the level of playing for Ozzy Osbourne I suppose that shouldn't even be possible.

Zakk Wylde was given more hold in the crafting of this album than his on his first studio outing with Ozzy. He throws out some stunning riff work and breath taking solos. He has a distinctly different style than Jake E. Lee and the late Randy Rhoads. There is an almost omniscient feel to his work on the album, the guitar work is ever present and all consuming as far as the listerner is concerned. On past albums I always felt it was the whole band meshing together, with each instrument getting its own highlights throughout the album. I feel like this whole album highlights Zakk. Randy and Jake are titanic forces on their own, this can't be denied, and each were just as able if not more talented guitarists than Zakk, but this man knows the game and how to play it. His place in the mix seems so much more pronounced than in past Ozzy records. Perhaps it’s how instead of accents and fills there is tons of lead phrasing everywhere in every song, though it is never unwelcome. Every riff is captivating and after listening to any song on the record you're sure to have it stuck in your mind for an indefinite length of time. And the solos... it's so hard to find somebody who writes such varied and engrossing amounts of wankery. He's just so good. S.I.N. is my favorite Ozzy track, solely for Zakk's work in it. I listen to lots of virtuosos and instrumental guitar-centric music along with a fair amount of technically demanding music, but there is more to it than the speed with which Mr. Wylde rips through pentatonic after pentatonic, it's the overwhelming heart that he pours into his compositions that really strike me. I know a lot of people overuse the phrase in regards to guitarists with overbearing vibrato, but it's a different case with this guy.

The rhythm section is more than sufficient. I notice there isn't near the amount of fill present in the percussion, but the late Randy Castillo was so great a force with his use of dynamics and has some very catchy hooks he busts out. A good drummer can make or break an album, and without this guy behind the kit I'm not sure this review would be quite as glowing as it is. Then there is Bob Daisley with his bass... I'm pretty sure it's impossible any human has not heard those trademark notes in the title track. He's one of those bassists who for the majority of the album take their duty as part of the rhythm portion of the band very seriously, haunting the low end of the tracks and propelling the music forward with his bass. It's good stuff, I love it when I catch new bass lines I'd never noticed before peaking out of the mix into the forefront. There is a keyboard player, John Sinclair, but except for a few little ambient pieces his presence in all honesty can be overlooked.

Last but not least there is Ozzy. The guy just has such a perfect voice for this genre. It floats atop the music like a bird across a body of water, leaving the denizens below to ponder, "Just how in the HELL does he do that?!" He has the gift of gab, a universal (quasi-nasal) soaring tone to his voice that plays along to the dark, sinfully catchy melody in the utmost form of a good synergistic partnership. He's got a great voice and he knows how to deliver it, hitting some strong notes throughout. Nobody sounds like this guy (try as Zakk might in his own bands), and it's no wonder he's lasted four decades in such a competitive industry. He's not just an entertainer, he is a singer and songwriter, and what is the trademark of a skilled singer/songwriter? Good songs.

This should be in every metal fan's library. It's a staple of the sound, and so worth the cost (I bought it for ten or eleven bucks ten years ago, you can't beat owning your own artistic master piece for less than fifteen dollars, you just can't). If you run across it and haven't heard all the music before, I would highly recommend checking it out!