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Ozzys biggest complication of songs was originally called "Bible of Ozz". Prince of Darkness was the last title of this complication. It was the largest collection of psychedelic metal songs from the Ozzman.
CD one is presenting material from the first three Ozzy albums. Rhoads plays few songs live from the Tribute collection. I was expecting some more live songs from the Speak of the Devil live dvd with Ozzys solo set. Rhoads was an intelligent and personal songwriter and plays with passion. He was truly the best Ozzy guitarist at that time, but sometimes played under his skill level in live concerts, because some of the studio songs are actually better. The Ozzy songs this era was a circus with characterized studio songs and classical playing. The straightforward hard rock Blizzard tunes sound blatant and definetly remastered. The melodramatic hypomanic Diary tunes sound now as remastered more insane and wicked than ever. There should be no doubt in your mind that these remasters are equally good with the originals.With Bark At The Moon, we enter the world of shadows and uptempo riffs. Jake.E.Lee's salvation in Ozzys band enabled a great catalogue of kick ass songs. Bark at the moon and Rock and roll rebel showcases Ozzy making equally at ease solid metal tunes without Rhoads. Althought there are less live material from Bark, we could almost sense the point creeping from behind as Lee blends a good mixture of resiliance and riffwork as a guitarist.
CD two starts right on with three metal tunes from the Ultimate Ozzy concert video. Ultimate Sin has lots of synthesizers and Never know why and Thank God for the bomb are thunderous mini epics from Jake era.The rest of the CD two is the jam ride from Ozzys third guitarist, Zakk Wylde. Best cuts are the No More Tears and Ozzmosis offerings. Slightly psychedelic songs with Zakk butchering the politically correct riffs and adding an odd goofy spirit to Ozzys band. Zakk plays sometimes falsely by means because it adds more to the goofy and funny factory of the songs. S.I.N- demo version is a shred ride full of downpour like a rain in the night. No rest for the wicked and Down to earth salvage some antics, but mostly its some poor midpocket tunes. The remasters on No More Tears adds more of a cartoony feel, which works for Ozzman( I wonder what doesnt!),
CD three is filled with Ozzy guest voicing some other tunes from various bands and artists. Rock and metal infulenced songs include some really solid material as well as some crap teeny weeny schizophrenic pop or even rap songs. The balladry of Lita Ford has it all for desperate persons, but is missing. CD four presents some Ozzy covers of Ozzys favourite songs. There are some really old tunes, because Ozzy started listening to real music when he entered Black Sabbath. Some of them fairly good, like this could be his most unrated album.
All in all, it isnt a party without obstacles, since there are really interesting material, some off day material as well, but there is enough awesomeness that elicit Ozzys metal career in a holy light.
Let me begin by saying that I love Ozzy Osbourne. I am a big fan of Black Sabbath when Ozzy was the singer and a big fan of a lot of Ozzy's solo career. A lot of Ozzy's solo career, not all of it. The fact of the matter is that Ozzy's albums often had a lot of filler on them. I am hard-pressed to think of one album I enjoyed all the way through. Ozzy has released a lot of Greatest Hits collections as well. These are normally pretty decent, although the songs that will be included are often fairly obvious. The Prince of Darkness box set for instance has all of the classic songs from Ozzy's solo work. It also features some rare and previously unreleased material as well. This is where things start to get a little fuzzy and Ozzy's money-grubbing whore side starts to show through.
Disc 1 features Ozzy's big hits from Blizzard of Ozz through Bark at the Moon. Again, many of the song choices are obvious although the Ozzman uses live songs for some of the tracks. I do not know how to feel about this. On the one hand, it is nice to hear a different version, but on the other, most of these live versions were available on the live album Tribute: Randy Rhoads, which kind of makes their inclusion less significant. Randy Rhoads was a great guitar player though and hearing his solos live is a treat. Only the live version of "Bark at the Moon" was not released on a previous album, instead it can be found as the b-side to the UK So Tired single. If none of the versions are previously unreleased versions, the producers would have been better served using the original songs. That being said, this is where most of Ozzy's best material is, so it is the disc I listen to most often of the four.
Disc 2 takes the listener from The Ultimate Sin through Down to Earth in similar fashion as Disc 1. The first three tracks are songs that originally appeared on The Ultimate Sin, however each one is a live version only shown on The Ultimate Ozzy video. This is more like it. These tracks do not appear on other recorded albums. Also, Ozzy rarely performs tracks from this album live anymore, which is a shame because there was some killer material on the album. Four of the five songs off of No More Tears are demo versions that can only be found on The No More Tears Demo Sessions. This is an extremely rare demo collection and again is a nice touch, although most of the songs do not sound much different than the eventual recorded output, some of the arrangements are slightly different. "Won't Be Coming Home" is the most unusual track from this set as it eventually became "S.I.N.". "Perry Mason" appeared on the first Ozzfest collection, then we have some more rare recordings of other songs from live albums and a couple of unreleased demo versions. Obviously the way to get people to invest their money into buying a box set like this is to offer them something different, something they may not already own. The second disc does a much better job of doing that than the first disc.
Disc 3 features a lot of the collaborations and various artist compilations and this is where Ozzy sacrifices a lot of metal credibility with some of these match-ups. The first two tracks appeared on the Nativity in Black tribute albums to Black Sabbath and feature Ozzy with Therapy? and Primus respectively covering classic Sabbath tracks. These are fairly faithful versions of the original songs and are not offensive. Ozzy then covers "Purple Haze" which he promptly butchers. After that we get his collaboration with Type O Negative which is an okay but not overly impressive track off of the Howard Stern movie. I would have liked to hear more of a duet with Peter Steele, but whatever. Then the whole thing goes to hell for a few songs. I'm not sure which genius decided it was a good idea to put collaborations with Was (Not Was), Miss Piggy, Crystal Method, 'Ol Dirty Bastard, DMX, the Wu Tang Clan, and Dweezil Zappa, but he should lose his job promptly. The Was (Not Was) track is particularly awful as it features Ozzy attempting to rap. Apparently Ozzy will do anything for a buck, including sell out his credibility to appear with artists he has no business working with. "Psycho Man", one of the original songs on the Black Sabbath Reunion album almost makes the disc listenable and the collaborations with Infectious Grooves and Lemmy are decent but forgettable.
Disc 4 was originally the whole reason to buy the box set as most of these were previously unreleased covers. However, they were all released on the Under Cover album which came out later in the year making their desirability limited. This is interesting though to hear some of the songs that influenced Ozzy. I have often wondered what he listened to, although I did know he listened to The Beatles a lot. This disc gave me a better understanding of where Ozzy came from. I do not know the original songs well enough to comment on how good a job Ozzy did with them so I will save that.
The most interesting aspect of this box set is the packaging. There was a lot of time spent in collecting together photos of Ozzy live and in photo shoots covering his entire solo career. Also Ozzy gives some brief insight into each of the songs at the beginning of the booklet. It's funny to see him mention being too wasted to remember what happened in several spots.
Altogether, this is obviously a cash grab. Ozzy is making money off of this box set featuring tracks released multiple times. The few rarities really do not make the box set worth the money. If one already owns all of the albums, then this collection is not a great buy, it is only for the hardcore completist or someone who does not already own everything.
As soon as I heard Ozzy was releasing a box set I could only think of one thing, Cashing in on his mainstream fame. I was for the most part right. This box set does feature some gems including live songs with Randy that always sound great (even though there are already versions of them on Tribute) and some interesting demos from the later albums but for the most part this album is full of throwaways and stuff most Ozzy fans already have.
For the most part I’m not gonna describe the music because most Ozzy fans know the songs especially the stuff on the first 2 discs:
The box set starts with a good live version of I Don’t Know. After that we get studio versions of Crazy Train and Mr. Crowley like we don’t all have them already and to make it worse they are the rerecorded drum and bass versions that sound like shit. The live versions of Goodbye to Romance and Suicide Solution are great and Randy sounds amazing live.
Over The Mountain is another one we all have heard many times before. The live version of Flying High Again is another stellar performance from the Rhoads era lineup. The RR tracks end with two classics, You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll and Diary of a Madman.
Bark at the Moon is a killer live track and this live version sounds a little more intense than on Live and Loud or other live releases. The disc is finished with 3 good songs from Bark at the Moon including Spiders which used to be slightly rare but has been added to most pressings of the album so it’s not very rare.
Starts off with live versions of 3 songs from Ultimate Sin. These are quite good especially since Ozzy rarely plays anything off of this record anymore except of course Shot in the Dark. The keyboards seem to pop up more in these live tracks which I personally like.
Next comes 2 songs from the brilliant No Rest for the Wicked album, Crazy Babies and Breaking all the Rules. Both are great songs but it would have been better to see the highly underrated Devil’s Daughter instead of Crazy Babies or at least some live versions of the songs.
After that we’re treated to some of the demos from No More Tears. The demos are a great inclusion especially Desire (one of my favorite Ozzy tracks) but it would’ve been cool to have a demo of No More Tears instead of the same version we’ve all heard many times before.
The live version of Perry Mason off of some Ozzfest live album sounds good as does the demo of See You on the Other Side. I love the demo version of Walk on Water more than it’s normal studio version.
A live version of Gets Me Through isn’t a rare thing especially since Ozzy did release a live record with it on there and probably every show since DTE’s release has featured it in the set. Bang Bang (You’re Dead) is a demo of Facing Hell, one of my favorite songs on DTE and this version sounds good as well. Dreamer is a good ballad but it would’ve been better to maybe get another demo or live song in it’s place.
Now we get into various Ozzy contributions with other artists. Some of them are good like the Sabbath remakes NIB (with the always killer Primus) and Iron Man (with Therapy), while others are just odd like Born To Be Wild (with Miss Piggy) and Shake Your Head (Let’s Go To Bed). Some of the disc highlights include the pre mentioned Sabbath songs, I Ain’t No Nice Guy (with Motorhead), Psycho Man (with Sabbath) and Pictures of Matchstick Men (with Type O Negative).
The final disc is full of recently recorded covers. This is a mixed bag were some of these songs are good but some blow major goats:
21st Century Schizoid Man - King Crimson are an awesome band but Ozzy doesn’t do justice to this song and Zakk’s guitar doesn’t really help the cause. If you want a good KC cover check out “In The Court of the Crimson King” by Saxon on their Killing Ground album.
Mississippi Queen - This is a decent cover. Musically it sounds good but some of the vocals are weak at times.
All The Young Dudes - Bowie’s version was great, Bruce Bruce’s version was great and the original Mott and Hopple version was great but Ozzy’s version sucks.
In My Life - I really enjoyed this one. It’s hard to do a good cover of a Beatles’ song since they are so perfect already but Ozzy pulls a respectable performance here.
Fire - Not very familiar with the original but this is one of the better covers. A lot of keyboards but not a lot of crunch from the guitar during the song though Ozzy delivers.
For What It’s Worth - Horrible can pretty much sum this one up. Talk about ruining a classic song.
Sympathy For The Devil - Another shitty cover that butchers the original. Guns N Roses did a good version of this song so you should check that out instead.
Working Class Hero - Again Ozzy does a good job with another Beatles’ related song. This is a simple piano and acoustic guitar ballad.
Good Times - This song just doesn’t fit Ozzy’s style. Waste of time and of space.
Changes (with Kelly Osbourne) - I don’t have to tell you about this one, you should already know it sucks. I still don’t know why Kelly thinks she could sing cause the bitch can’t.
Is this box set worth the price? Hell No. Is it a good inclusion to any Ozzy fan’s collection? Not really unless you want a bunch of shitty covers and a couple unreleased demos. So unless you’re a Ozzy diehard who needs to have every single release for completion purposes I don’t recommend this.