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More Like Flurry of Ozz - 71%

Superchard, September 8th, 2018

Ozzy Osbourne. The name's become the most iconic and easily recognizable name in all of heavy metal for being the lead singer of not only the inventors of the genre, Black Sabbath, but also having a really good line of solo material the following decade after he was fired for isolating himself in a hotel room for days on end getting high as a kite and living in a state of depression and insobriety. It would've been a truly sad ending to the story of heavy metal's first singer but thankfully he was given the nudge to make his own solo band by his wife Sharon which paid off and was probably the only good thing she's ever done for the guy's career, especially giving the go ahead to remaster these classic albums, a move most fans found to be in poor taste as well as calling Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden a prick at the very Ozzfest show that had the band on the stage. Don't even get me started on Ozzfest and all the lame ass nu-metal bands they'd bring in every year.

But 1980 was a simpler time, before The Osbourne's reality show destroyed any shame Ozzy and his family had left for himself. Ozzy Osbourne got extremely lucky to have bass player write most of his lyrics for him not only in Black Sabbath, but even here on Blizzard of Oz and its successor, Diary of a Madman where just about everything was written by Bob Daisley. All Ozzy had to do was sing and pretty much let Randy Rhoads do his thing. Randy's name has become just as iconic as the man himself, after dying an untimely early death at 25 in an airplane crash. His name is up there with all the other guitarists that died too young including Jimi Hendrix, Dimebag Darrell... and somehow Kurt Cobain. For the longest time I had been thinking that he was just some unknown name before joining Ozzy, but he was actually on Quiet Riot's first couple of albums, aptly titled Quiet Riot and Quiet Riot II.

While Blizzard of Oz has often been declared by many as one of his best album, or even his best I'd have to strongly disagree. It gets that reputation possibly just because it has "Crazy Train" on it, which is a good song that really perfectly melds pop with rock, and there you have the only difference you really need to know between Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne. Black Sabbath was distinctively doom metal and stoner rock, an infinitely more imaginative band whereas Osbourne's band pretty much always took on the shape of whatever was popular during the particular time each album dropped. Blizzard of Oz being no exception, it's pretty standard pop metal with a very good guitar player. A combination that's sure to win the hearts of many, myself included. At least until the last three songs come on, especially coming right off the heels of the "Mr. Crowley", a song that fits right along with the actual album cover with Ozzy holding up a cross on the floor of a barn with a skull by his side. By far one of his absolute best songs of his entire career with Don Airey providing a spooky and intensity-building keyboard melody that sends us straight to Dracula's castle's dungeon. It's a mid-tempo rocker and has the darkest overall feel on the album and some beautiful and ripping guitar solos by Rhoads.

After that though, the album just kind of falls into a slump of album killing b-sides. "No Bone Moves", "(Revelation) Mother Earth" and "Steal Away (The Night)" are pathetically weak and pedestrian compared to everything else that lead up to this. Rhode's guitar playing is brilliant has a bluesy swagger to it, and Rhoads sounds really inspired here, but at the same time I kind of feel like I'm listening to rock n' roll that a chain restaurant would play in its dining areas to give people that loose and casual vibe. It's just cheesy pop-metal really, and becomes unbearable when the end of the song is nothing but Ozzy chanting "No Bone Movies" on layered vocal tracks. "(Revelations) Mother Earth" is a much more mature track that only gets good as it develops later on but otherwise stumbles along a boring Black Sabbath inspired doom metal crawl. The instrumentation at the end of the song redeems it somewhat. Finally "Steal Away (The Night)" is just another predictable pop-metal song that doesn't do much for me. It gets even worse if you have the remastered version with extra songs on it as this is followed up by the worst song on the album, "You Looking at Me, Looking at You".

The first half of the album; on the other hand, is absolutely impeccable. There's a small filler instrumental simply titled "Dee" though which is just an unaccompanied Rhoads playing a soothing acoustic guitar piece like Tony Iommi used to do back in the Black Sabbath days. You've probably already heard the overplayed "Crazy Train" on the radio, but the acoustic ballad "Goodbye to Romance" and the thumping "Suicide Solution" will likely fall fresh on new ears. Then again, we're only down to five songs when you narrow it down. Because of this I consider Blizzard of Ozz to be an overrated album by many that claim it's a masterpiece. In tandem with the previous statement, I'll also say Randy Rhoads is an overrated guitarist. He's good, but anytime I hear someone say he's their favorite or 'the best', I have to physically restrain myself from telling these people to get some tastes and be open-minded enough to respect their opinion. Of course you think he's the greatest guitarist ever, he only jammed with the most well known heavy metal icon of all time. For me, the lackluster spider riffing of "I Don't Know" isn't winning me over to the Randy Rhoads's fan club anytime soon. Don't get me wrong though, Randy's great, he'll certainly be one of those guitarists that inspire entire generations to pick up the instrument and become rockstars themselves.

Still though, Blizzard of Ozz is an improvement over his last couple of albums with Black Sabbath, Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die. Rhoads's guitar playing is more intricate than Iommi's, but perhaps not quite as instantly recognizable, and it was a fresh start for a rock star who could've fallen off after being fired from his previous band. A solid album overall and if you're digging into Osbourne's discography, you can do far worse than his 1980 debut.

Superchard gets super hard for:
Mr. Crowley
Goodbye to Romance
Crazy Train