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The bullet hit the mark. - 88%

hells_unicorn, May 22nd, 2009

The mid 80s was my favorite time for heavy metal music, and by this I mean the styles that paved the way for a lot of the stuff that came later on which was also really good. Most of the really good and really influential straight up heavy, thrash, and doom metal albums were either born between 83 and 87. Among these was an album that was probably not terribly influential, but was an utter amazing feat nonetheless, in Ozzy’s “The Ultimate Sin”. Though Ozzy does not have fond memories of the album in question, or in particular this song, I proudly beg to differ.

What is contained here is one of the most fun pieces of 80s melodic metal ever to be conceived, playing off a set of influences from bands such as The Scorpions, Twisted Sister, and Quiet Riot, and then augmenting them with a wickedly technical fit of guitar showmanship. Jake E. Lee’s playing on here isn’t the craziest he’s ever done, but it definitely proves to be the most memorable, particularly that mellow melodic intro before the main riff kicks in. Ozzy sounds exceptional good, owing in part to the fact that he isn’t using much of his higher range, and almost sounds like a different singer.

The b-side contained on here “You Said It All” starts off sounding like a ballad, but then kicks into another routine in classic, simplistic 80s clichés. The structure is very formulaic and is definitely meant for audience fanfare, but that bluesy sounding principle riff is quite effective, almost like a Dio song off “Sacred Heart” but with about twice as many lead fill-in parts scattered in between riff transitions. It’s definitely clear that although Ronnie Dio wrote most superior music and lyrics, in the early 80s he was slightly behind Ozzy in terms of the guitar talent he was surrounded by.

It might not be a popular thing to say, but I regard the album this came from as Ozzy’s finest moment as a solo artist, if not the finest moment of his entire career. When you think about it, the only thing that has really changed about Ozzy’s music since is that the riffs have been watered down, the production practices have been altered to fit the times, the hooks now lack any sense of subtlety and the vocals lack the range that they once possessed. Some may consider these differences trivial, but they are largely the differences that separate classics from filler.