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This album is Ozzy's one moment of greatness. After all these years of average heavy metal, this is what he was capable of. Who the hell could've guessed?
This album features one of the greatest guitarists of all time on his first album in Ozzy Osbourne. Zakk Wylde enters the band, and suddenly they put out a masterpiece. Coincidence? I think not.
The songwriting on Ozzy's earlier albums has been decent but somehow it has always felt a little held back; the songs felt too slow and uninspired. On this album, all the energy that was held back is unleashed, creating a raging heavy metal monster with faster, heavier and better shit than Ozzy has ever done and will ever do. What really makes this level so incredibly great is, of course, the guitar wizardry of Zakk Wylde. His riffs are often single-note based, but very varied and you never know what's coming next. And that trademark squeal of his is totally menacing. He tears through every song with awesome, fast paced riffwork (Hell, the song Tattooed Dancer is total fucking speed metal!) and blast out mindblowing guitar solos everywhere. His style is instantly recognizable, catchy as fuck, and works totally well with the rest of the stuff on this album.
Because Zakk Wylde is not the only one who's kicking major ass on No Rest For The Wicked. Randy Castillo lays down some really cool, memorable drum work and Bob Daisley's basslines are very well written and executed. But the big surprise here is Ozzy, who actually sounds really fucking good for once!
He no longer sounds whiny, over emotional and generally pathetic- he has gained tons of attitude, and sounds way more powerful and pretty damn evil at times (Bloodbath in Paradise!). The lyrics are also way cooler than before, dealing with darker yet less serious and personal themes, which gives a more inspired and imaginative feeling overall.
So, No Rest For The Wicked is the album where it all came together for Ozzy and the boys. The songwriting is top-notch, the vocals finally work and Zakk Wylde enters the band. Under these circumstances, the band put out a 9-track album filled with classics. Come to think of it, my top five Ozzy songs can all be found on here.
There are two songs though, that stand out as slightly weaker than the rest but at the same time way stronger than 90% of Ozzy's back catalogue. Those two being the ballads, Fire in the Sky and Hero. The former is one of his best ballads, but just not up to bar. The latter is also very solid, but never really gets anywhere. Aside from these two, this is just pure fucking ownage from beginning to end.
Miracle Man gets things started with that immortal opening riff and Ozzy's classic evil laughter, and from there on you are to be taken on one incredibly catchy ride of true heavy metal. Devil's Daughter is somewhat slower and more melodic, with that sinister dark-yet-upbeat feeling that many Ozzy songs contain here perfected. Crazy Babies is just insanely catchy, with that intense sense of groove to the guitars. Tattooed Dancer is the fastest fucking Ozzy song ever, and one of the best. "Tattooed Dancer!... Dance for me, bitch!". Demon Alcohol is dark, catchy, evil and totally badass. And of course, we have the greatest Ozzy song of all time, namely Bloodbath in Paradise. The atmosphere is so damn sinister, and the riffwork is awesome, especially with that speed metal breakdown towards the end of every vers ("The California rain is turning red"). The chorus is evil as hell, and the solo is fucking nuts. If Ozzy ever made a masterpiece, this is it.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the be-all end-all album of Ozzy Osbourne. He totally unleashes the power and energy that he possesses, and turns it into a furious heavy metal beast. You desperately need this.