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What Is Really So Superior About This? - 60%

Luvers666, May 3rd, 2009

The only thing this album is excellent at is proving one undisputable truth in Metal: A respectable guitarist does NOT fix everything.

Now before everyone jumps on the Randy Rhoads bandwagon, so few realize that the only reason his fame continues to this day is due to this unfortunate death. He recorded a total of four albums, not enough to warrant permanent popularity. Besides the next album is where he was at his finest and even that is the same thing as this. Just like every single Heavy Metal, or Rock in General, guitarist from 1980 on, Randy Rhoads blatantly rips off the ideas of the legendary but nauseatingly underrated Rik Emmett. Everything about his guitar tone, style and speed are so ludicrously derivative that it’s hard to truly revere them.

Where this album also suffers is production and dreadful track listing. We begin with the worst produced song on the album, I Don’t Know. Well, Ozzy, I Don’t Know, I’ve spent years trying to figure out why you are famous, but songs like this just prove how much better Sabbath got once your inept voice was discharged.

After the tedious opener we get the atrocious start of Ozzy’s trademarks. The only attribute of Crazy Train is hardly a quality. It manages to sum up all the things that would appear on at least one song on every future album. The whole “I will act crazy so people will think I am cool, when in reality I am just raping them of their money. But its okay people at least I have a good guitarist, right? Right?” This rumpus, can’t call it a song, is the worst on the album.

Why I say the track listing kills is after two vomit-inducing songs we get a ballad and, at that point, there was no such thing as an adequate ballad by Ozzy. I am sure if we brought down NASA engineers and matched the world debt in the process, we could find a music where Ozzy’s voice fits it. One fact is Ozzy is best when he can’t be heard all that well, he has the most appalling voice in the history of Metal. No matter how good the music is on Goodbye to Romance, a first thus far on the record, it is absolutely eviscerated by the guy behind the microphones’ shrill ‘Dog Being Killed’ voice.

Now we get Randy Rhoads frenziedly ripping off one of his idols, Rik Emmett. If he was trying to outshine Rik Emmett then he failed as miserably as anyone who dares trying to compete with the most versatile and flexible guitarist in history. Just listen to Triumph’s “Fingertalking” or “Fantasy Serenade” and see how obvious here Randy Rhoads is imitating, AND FAILING, Rik Emmett.

The last song on side one, Suicide Solution, follows suit. Disposable trash. Side Two doesn’t start out any better, with Mr. Crowley, which has but only one abiding quality. Thus we introduce the always steadfast Don Airey, with his evil, chilling organ intro. The rest of the song itself is okay I guess, but after the last five abysmal tracks it barely eludes insipidness.

Thus far I know I have been mean to this album, yet my rating is a 60, you might be asking how I chose to give it such a rating. Well the answer lies in the last three songs, equaling 13:31. All three tracks have what the first six lack and that is imagination and enthusiasm, the band sounds engrossed, including Ozzy. No Bone Movies is uproarious and kicks ass, the last minute and a half is like an orgasm, the gradual build-up to a great swirling climax. I find it amusing that the best correlation given for this track is sexual in nature and yet the song is about a voyeur who has an unmanageable lust for masturbation.

Steal Away the Night is another kick ass track, though it cannot be called a ‘classic’. It is entertaining and vigorous with a piercing riff and finally the rhythm section equaling the velocity of the guitarist. There is only one real classic on this album and that is the only one I have yet to cover, Revelation (Mother Earth). Ozzy sounds good, even when he is singing in an poignant voice, the contrast amid acoustic and electric guitar playing is shrewdly done. It never sticks with either style long enough to erode its build-up, and for once on the album Ozzy does not fatigue his welcome. His voice here is stimulating, and the fact that four minutes of this song exist without his voice works wonders too as well. Those four minutes give the other members a chance to excel, in particular the aforementioned, consistent, Don Airey. His piano work here can only be described as ‘pretty’, it is supple and tender backed by elegant chords by Randy Rhoads. Those chords become serious and staining when he picks up the pace and fires off his best work on the album. It is the one time on the album where he can carry the whole band on his shoulders and succeed, his sense of timing is flawless here and establishes he was a very good guitar player, even if not the most innovative.

So in the end this album is a severe mixed bag, three good songs out of nine is not a very good percentage. I cannot commend this album, I propose to any new comer the first side of Bark at the Moon or the entire Ultimate Sin album. Those show what Ozzy was wholly capable of. Obtain the last three songs and avoid the rest, because you’re not missing anything.