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Diaries are for Pansies - 64%

Superchard, October 14th, 2018

I recently overheard someone say how revolutionary the first two Ozzy Osbourne albums are and couldn't help but feel a little annoyed by how completely idiotic yet common of a remark that is. Look up the top comment to "Flying High Again" and some jackoff claims that Randy Rhoads was not just a talented guitar player but a "composer". Alright, I never actually took music theory, but one thing I can tell you is that "composer" is not a word anyone should be using for your average pop rock guitarist. That word denotes that the creator of the music created the music as a means not necessarily to please an audience, but to fulfill one's self. At least that's what they taught me in musicology. In other words, pop artists do not, will not and cannot make the cut to be held among the likes of Mozart, Beethoven, etc., and I personally don't think that they should when Randy Rhoads does his best Eddie Van Halen impersonation on "Flying High Again". Some unfortunate people listening to it will think it's an intricate masterful work of a solo, but in all honesty, you could get a modest guitar player to learn it in a matter of hours.

As far as being a revolutionary album, Diary of a Madman doesn't really make many strides in my book (or shall we say diary). I'll give it credit where credit is due and say that the title track was really epic fare for its time, and "Over the Mountain" has a strikingly bludgeoning guitar riff for 1981. Much the same could be said for Black Sabbath's "Symptom of the Universe" which dates back all the way to 1975. The opening track in particular being much more forward thinking considering thrash metal wasn't formally introduced to the world until 1983 via Exciter and Metallica. That's about all the praise I can sing for the album being revolutionary in any sense of the word, and I have to use that term loosely because Ozzy's sophomore album in reality doesn't measure up to the scope of the word. Black Sabbath's Paranoid was revolutionary. Venom's Welcome to Hell fits the bill, but Ozzy Osbourne was predominantly a pop metal band as evidenced by the second track off the album "Flying High Again". An insufferably overrated glam metal song that makes me feel filthy all over with Ozzy's sleazy n' cheesy "Oh no, oh no, here we go now" banter.

The seven minute disgrace that is "You Can't Kill Rock and Roll" doesn't fair any better, much worse in fact. The album's short enough as it is when you toss out the B-side crap like "Little Dolls", but this takes up way too much of the album's resources along with the ballad "Tonight". It's an unfortunate shame that it seems as though it's a requirement for Ozzy to have a ballad on every single one of his albums, but Diary of a Madman goes full retard and has two. At least it's better than the completely useless "Tonight". Still, the fact the song is called "You Can't Kill Rock and Roll" is ironic and somewhat offensive. This is the last thing I think of when I think of rock and roll. Indeed, if anyone could kill rock and roll, perhaps it would be Ozzy Osbourne himself. I'm shocked of how many Black Sabbath fans claim that Never Say Die was a bad album and come out to defend these pansy ass albums. Maybe it has something to do with that overrated guitarist of his who's only famous because he's dead.

Okay, that might be a little too harsh. After all, I wasn't around in 1981. What the hell do I know, but I can look back on these albums in retrospect and in all honesty, I don't see any of the supposed genius in either of them. As aforementioned, if you think Randy Rhoads was some great "composer", or shall we just say "songwriter", you're denying yourself the truth that Bob Daisley wrote all these songs. If you love this album as much as you say you do, you'll declare him as the rock god, not Randy. If you still want to stand by Randy being a great songwriter, I'm going to assume you're talking about the first couple of Quiet Riot albums. If that's your thing, more power to you, but I've honestly heard few albums that could measure up to their generic and repulsive pop rock. Unfortunately Randy carried that stench with him while managing to break out of his shell and improve on tracks like "S.A.T.O." and "Believer". The former being an improved take on the party rock of "No Bone Movies" from Blizzard of Oz with the latter being the heaviest track Diary of a Madman manages to muster. Half of the album's actually solid, with the other half being really trite and tripe.

"Little Dolls" being another one of those complete throwaway tracks. Ozzy slides into all his lines, getting annoying and old real quick as the rest of the band play some really boring and derivative power anthem arena rock. There's this weak ass bridge thrown in the middle that'll make you think that "Fluff" from Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath really wasn't all that bad, at least it felt neo-classical in a sense to give the album some variety, but this is really bottom of the barrel material for Ozzy's early solo career. Although I mentioned "S.A.T.O." has an overall party rock vibe to it, it's actually a little more complex than the track off of Blizzard of Oz I compared it to. Don Airey's keyboard intro and spacey outro to the song help establish a direction for Diary of a Madman especially as the title track closes the album setting the benchmark for Ozzy's most classic material, right up there with "Mr. Crowley" and "Crazy Train".

Randy showed a lot of improvement from his time with Quiet Riot to his work with Ozzy Osbourne. I think it's unfortunate though that he's seen by most be Ozzy's best guitarist over Jake E. Lee. I can understand the appreciation for him in some of the more grandiose works he's done with Ozzy, but I'm not sorry to say that a lot of the material off the first couple of albums is terrible. Zakk Wylde would state that he and his guitar player friends would all learn different solos from the first two Ozzy albums because each solo had a distinct feel to it. That's definitely fair to say. Technically skilled and diverse? Sure. Imaginative, innovative or revolutionary? Not hardly, not when measured up with Eddie Van Halen, a very similar guitarist to himself. That being said, it's hard to measure him up against anyone when he only had four albums under his belt. It's fair to say he could've improved over time, and thus it's fair to say that perhaps he could've gone on to write much better material with Ozzy Osbourne. It's anyone's guess, really.

Superchard gets super hard for:
Diary of a Madman
Over the Mountain

Not even his third best solo album.... - 74%

TrooperEd, November 7th, 2016

Ozzy's solo career holds a special place in my metal heart as he was my gateway artist into this world. A feature I proudly and snobbishly hold above all the idiots who got into this music through Slipknot, System of A Down, Ratt, Poison and a thousand other false ones. But even back when I was a super fanboy, I always thought this was a lower tier album. I think people are only calling this albums best album because he hasn't overplayed it live and on the radio. Well this might be a shocker to some of you folks, but sometimes things are overplayed on the radio because they're great. Sometimes tracks are not overplayed on the radio because they're not very good. Sorry guys, not even Randy Rhoads can't save inconsistent songwriting. Even the albums supposed high points like Flying High Again are marred by the lack of a real intro riff. As a kid I remember being vastly frustrated why this was the chosen live staple over the vastly superior Over The Mountain. On bad days, I just didn't want to hear Flying High Again and was frequently annoyed at its "overplay." I've warmed up to it since, but its still no Over The Mountain. To be fair, very few metal songs in general are Over The Mountain, which is easily in the top 3 Ozzy songs, and I wouldn't really argue against it's position if some list placed it at #1.

Again, a big problem with this album's staying power in my opinion was the lack of live performances. Some might call that unfair, but really, what else could one play live from this album that would go over well that hasn't already been done (for the record, that's the title track, Flying High Again, Over The Mountain and Believer)? Of what's left from those choices, I'd say the only real choice is SATO, but even that has a clunky start and takes a while to get going. (I've always been convinced that the next album's Slow Down was written to succeed where SATO failed, and IMO, he succeeded). Little Dolls is ok, though I think that drum intro was done much better by Des Kensel in Fertile Green. The chorus is one of Ozzy's better of such, but I definitely remember skipping this one a lot as a kid for lack of a killer riff.

Another weak point with this albums is the ballads suck. I'm in the minority in that I think Ozzy has more good ballads than bad ones (at least he did during his classic era). Goodbye To Romance, Killer of Giants, Road To Nowhere and yes, Mama I'm Coming Home all rule. But Tonight? It's just not worth sitting through such boredom to get to one of Randy's somewhat better solos. Like I said, Randy can't save this one on his own. You Can't Kill Rock & Roll fares a little bit better, but fadeouts are one of my biggest pet peeves and for that to go on for seven minutes is beyond stupid. Bob Daisley likes to claim he, Randy and Kerslake hammered out most of this album while Ozzy was out getting drunk and the three of them put together couldn't come up with a proper ending?

Don't take my criticisms as reasons to stay away from the album (again, I have this ranked pretty high). When this album is on, it definitely cooks. Killer tracks like Over the Mountain, the brilliantly Beethoven title track, and Believer (the most Black Sabbath-esque track he did up to this point) are metal staples and proof that Randy could go note for note with Eddie Van Halen. The album is worth getting to study up on Randy Rhoads, just don't expect the album to be better than Blizzard of Ozz (or Bark At The Moon, or, No Rest For The Wicked)......

Dated and incomplete - 67%

gasmask_colostomy, July 3rd, 2015

Has Ozzy Osbourne ever been a good singer? When he sung on 'Black Sabbath', was he actually skillful, or was he merely doing something different that all the freaks and nobodies gravitated towards? I'll admit that he sounds creepy and menacing on that very first heavy metal song back in 1970, and that's great, but when he transformed himself into a stadium metal singer with his solo work, he just didn't have the skills to pull off that kind of atmosphere. Thus, it comes down to the albums on which Ozzy does alright and his band do very well to decide when his solo career prospers and when it fails. This one has the same problems as every Ozzy album, though the general quality is a little higher.

First thing's first, I'm not the guy who is going to sit here and go easy on Randy Rhoads. I mean, he's great on this album, but he can't make a song like 'Tonight' fun to listen to. The super-slick likes of 'Over the Mountain' and 'Believer' have awesome licks and skillful playing that bounce and zip between sections and support Ozzy, letting him do his rather plodding or semi-crazy stylings over the top without really disturbing anything. As riffs go, he doesn't often begin with anything too complex, but the simple riffs accrue fills and embellishments that use the one guitar setup to its full advantage and doesn't leave anything missing. The solos are pretty good, though sometimes too generically hard rock to be interesting, as if his creativity was clamped down on by the songwriting. The points when he really shows what he can do are a little rare: perhaps 'S.A.T.O.' is an indicator of the speed metal and NWOBHM directions that were beginning to flourish at this time and is captivating for its length, while the title track is more of an exercise in displaying new ideas, partly on acoustic and partly on electric guitar - at times it reminds me of Pentagram, at times something on the fringes of the extreme scene, and it predates both.

As for the other instrumentalists, Bob Daisley's bass is clearly audible at all times and plays a key part in most of the slower songs, giving at least something to listen to in the awful drone of 'Tonight' and forming the sinister opening of 'Believer'. The drums are rather soft and sometimes lack attack, even if Lee Kerslake is doing his best to stand out. From his point of view, the more energetic songs work much better, such as 'S.A.T.O.', which races forward of its own accord. The keyboards are a notable presence in about half the songs, and add a little, though they annoyingly drive the ballads (two of them, God wept!) closer to soppy Broadway territory, and we're really not here for that.

The quality of songwriting is higher here than on most Ozzy albums, but there are still three poor songs out of eight, which is a distressing percentage. 'Little Dolls' is too Status Quo and footstomping to be anything more than amusing, 'You Can't Kill Rock and Roll' is an average Ozzy ballad, and 'Tonight' is an execrable one that should never have entered the studio, let alone left it. These are also the slowest songs, which the embattled singer struggles the most with, since his band can do less to help him with momentum and their instrumental power. The two openers are perhaps best, with 'Over the Mountain' an out-and-out classic, while 'S.A.T.O.' is the band's most challenging song and actually seems forward-thinking compared to the others. The reason I'm a little harsh on this album is that it just sounds so dated now, and not really because of the recording quality or the instrumental tones, but because the ideas have been left so far behind and have long since entered the hallowed halls of rock and roll cliche. Thus, whatever its celebrated status, 'Diary of a Madman' is just decent at best.

Madmans Legacy - 98%

Genzel, December 24th, 2010

Madmans Legacy:

Osbourne sure delivered a message with this trail of thought. The little above average playing of the guitar God Rhoads did work for the relatively young Ozz fanbase. Recorded back to back alongside with the solo debut Blizzard..., Diary concealed the unseen talents of the bassist Bob Daisley. Madman rages through with some dramatic and tragic guitar passages all toward the mad, doomy and sadistic dimensions of this album. This album was done with passion.

Little Dolls starts with an occultistic drum intro and is about voodoo and other sick and lunatic bleeding and conjuring. Tonight is filled with romantiscm and positive aura, while Over The Mountain just blasts through the madmans cellar hallway. Flying High Again has the most fantastic guitar solo and is always listened with fond memories. Believer is too negative for being one of the highlights, but showcases Ozzys evil persona. The songs are made with the dummer Lee Kerslake who truly was the greatest musician skill- wise. In Little Dolls, to me, the real experience of Diary Of A Madman starts. The songs are more metal and less silly. Less commercial and more melancholic.

First half of the songs are rock offers as the ending is full of mainstream metal. Ozzy, or his band, snatched only the rock classics from this album to go for the live album( Tribute ) of the Diary Of A Madman tour. The first half which has the Blizzard lookalikes, are almost pure rock anthems. Lee Kerslakes vibrant and deviant persona is showcased in the joyful spirit that he brought to the whole Diary Of A Madman, unlike to Blizzard, in which he didnt contribute a lot. The other half is conjured by pure metal classics with some psychosis- like athmosphere. The album is mostly uplifting, melodic and hypomaniac, but the finish off song Diary Of A Madman just depresses like hell, not that it is good anyway. A true Ozzy gem remastered or not.

A diary of heavy metal. - 87%

evermetal, October 22nd, 2009

Now, that’s more like it! What an improvement this is. The debut was not very good but this one is way better. Obviously this time Ozzy has taken advantage of the experience he gained through Blizzard of Ozz and knows what it is that fans wanted to hear. Pure-fucking-heavy metal! The rest of the band has come to know each other, they contribute more to the song writing and composing and finally things turn out pretty well.

Ozzy was named as “the madman of heavy metal” from the music press and he cleverly uses that to his own benefit giving his second album the title Diary of A Madman. Sarcastic is he? Maybe. But insane; as never before, slaying chickens on stage at his gigs.

If you liked Roads’ guitar work on the previous album wait ‘till you hear what he does in here. The guy is playing his ass off! He delivers electric guitar seminars once again. His plying is a bit more melodic but keeps its’ heavy attitude and feeling. He also shows a tense to experiment on the riffs and solos without however ignoring the fans and what they expect from him. His loss was a tragic event not only for the band but for metal in general.

The drum intro in Over the Mountain, which opens the album gives a straight-forward punch in the stomach and prepares us for what is about to happen. This song is a killer, fast and heavy to the bone. The production is much better and allows the bass and drums to sound more on the front line and not so background as in the Blizzard… album. And the solo will definitely kill you.

Flying High Again is more mid-tempo and its’ steady, solid rhythm keeps it quite interesting. It is just another Ozzy classic. You Can’t Kill Rock n’ Roll enters peacefully but in no time it turns heavy and has many fine breaks throughout the seven minutes it lasts. The lyrics are quite explanatory of their beliefs: “…’cause rock n’ roll is my religion and my law”. They sure love what they are playing. The solo part is particularly heavy. This one may be seven minutes long but not dull at all.

Believer is yet again a very heavy track with sharp guitars and drums. Generally the whole album is filled with hot, streaming heavy metal. I must admit that Ozzy’s singing is somewhat different here. I almost like it. Little Dolls is a small step back in the album. It does not possess the strength and intensity as the rest of the songs; still it’s okay and easy to hear.

Diary’s ballad, they had to have one, is called Tonight and surprisingly is awesome. It is much heavier at times from those in Blizzard… and much cooler. By no means think of it as cheese. Randy Roads unfolds his skills and plays an incredible solo. Doesn’t he always do? This ballad gives you the time to relax before the heavy metal dynamite by the strange title of S.A.T.O. explodes. The song that causes the hardest headbanging in the LP, four pure metallic minutes.

Ozzy saves another great song for the end. The self-titled one is not so heavy and furious but its’ mystique feeling is sure to thrill you. Te melodic acoustic themes and marching drums are accompanied by fine keyboard lines and the result is too good to ignore as a sense of paranoia floats in the air. It is the most suitable way to end.

With Diary of A Madman Ozzy establishes himself as a solo artist in the hearts of metal fans. He throws away the label of the Sabbath singer for good and becomes a leading face in the heavy metal scene.

Two bad songs can't ruin a great album - 90%

morbert, November 16th, 2007

Yes, only two bad songs can be found here and they really aren’t bad enough to ruin the entire album. There are too many classics here to ignore this album.

The powerful opener ‘Over the Mountain’ has remained one of my favourite Ozzy songs all these years. It is one of his faster songs with simple (by Rhoads standards that is) but very heavy riffs and a memorable vocal line. ‘Flying High Again’ is an old school rocker (with a more than excellent solo) which is decent on the album but came more to life on the 1987 album ‘Tribute to Randy Rhoads’.

‘Believer’ is a slow paced song that strongly refers to the darkness of Black Sabbath. It’s actually so good it would have been a Sabbath classic had it been released by the doomsters themselves. Yes, it truly is a highlight in Ozzy’s solo career. I’ve never understood why a lot of people specifically mention ‘Little Dolls’ when talking about the bad songs on the album. It’s not one of the best here, but it is simply decent. The main riff is way too obviously inspired by early seventies pounding Van Halen material but that doesn’t make it a bad album. It’s just more rock than metal.

The last two songs are close to genius here. ‘S.A.T.O.’ starts off clean but then proceeds with the best riff on the album and a Sabbath-ish vocal line. The bass lines are also memorable here, sounding slightly like Steve Harris on Maiden’s ‘Piece Of Mind’. Closing title song ‘Diary Of A Madman’ has some good acoustic guitars, diversity, great dynamics and an above average vocal performance by the prince of darkness. Even the violin during the middle section of the songs falls perfectly into place.

So which are the two bad songs? That would be the ballads ‘You Can't Kill Rock & Roll’ and ‘Tonight’. I’ve never been too fond about any of his ballads save a few. But these aren’t exceptions. They’re just there to fill the space and possibly to appeal to arena-rock-fans and radio stations. I honestly think an icon like Ozzy doesn’t need this kind of material.

Ohw, by the way. The album cover is so bad it actually becomes brilliant. And that, of course, is very metal!

Top songs: ‘Over the Mountain’, ‘Believer’, ‘S.A.T.O.’ and ‘Diary of a Madman’

Diary of a Guitar Hero. - 90%

hells_unicorn, November 14th, 2007

Not more than one year after Ozzy and newfound idea reservoir Rhandy Rhodes hit the charts with “Blizzard of Ozz”, they offered a follow-up that would prove to be one of the most successful releases of the early 80s. It is evident that a sort of war or wills had erupted between Ozzy and his former band mates in Black Sabbath, and once again he found himself getting quite a bit more notoriety despite the lack of a superior release to up stage the fits of genius pumped out by Ronnie Dio and Tony Iommi.

While Ozzy’s voice obviously has improved little in the time between this album and the last, Rhandy has made some impressive leaps in terms of song writing ambition. His riffs have become much more focused, his solos are still technically impressive but have much more polish, and the pace of every song has been better measured to avoid redundancy. While the other instruments, particularly the keyboards, are used much more ambitiously here the focus is still on Rhandy, the source of strength for Ozzy’s newfound formula.

“Over the Mountain” is another classic up tempo track cut from a similar mold as “I don’t know”, already hinting that there is a clear method to Ozzy’s newfound madness. This one has deserved all the praise it gets, the riffs are powerful and the solo definitely sticks in your memory. “Flying High Again” has a principle riff comparing heavily with AC/DC, although song structure and feel wise it seeks a happy atmosphere similar to what was heard on “Crazy Train”.

“Believer” has plenty of evil sounds produced by both guitar and synthesizer alike, although the atmosphere surrounds another riff driven rocker. “Little Dolls” has an interesting tribal sounding drum intro, although the rest of the song flows a bit similar to the first two tracks, although the bass work is a bit more present and reeks of Geezer Butler influences. “Tonight” is probably the only track on here that doesn’t rock hard enough, sounding almost like a Cinderella Power Ballad with heavy keyboard presence and Ozzy doing the vocals. “You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll” is a bit longer than it needs to be, but thankfully doesn’t fall short in the energy department, despite being another ballad.

“S.A.T.O.” has a weird acoustic guitar and keyboard intro, followed by some good old fashioned metal cut from the earlier glory days of Sabbath, mostly resembling material found on “Sabotage”. Rhandy uses his licks tastefully, yet still takes enough liberties to give it the feel of a live performance, especially when the guitar solo takes over. Our grand highlight of the album, however, proves to be the long and musically ambitious title track. The opening acoustic guitar line is actually a quote from Leo Brouwer’s 6th Etude Simple, one that I personally had a tough time with when at West Chester (the Rhodes quote is a simplified version). The rest of it is a rather interesting set of musical twists and turns that remind heavily of middle 70s era Sabbath, some sections actually almost sounding like quotes of “Supertzar”.

This is, by all standards, a shinning gem and should be heard by all fans of his solo work. If you have one of his greatest hits collections, I still recommend getting this album because chances are you’ve never heard half of the songs on here. Fans of shred guitar oriented metal and Sabbath should also get this release, as it draws heavily from both. Sadly this would be the last chapter in Rhandy Rhodes’ brief tenure as a metal guitarist before his tragic end. People often ask why he is always heralded as a revolutionary; he didn’t do anything that others hadn’t already done before. To this I simply answer, look at the songs he wrote, look at the riffs and solos he penned, they are neither the fastest nor the most insane but they speak to the ears with a truly unique voice, one that was silenced before it had a chance to fully realize it’s potential.

Losing My Sanity, Again - 50%

Frankingsteins, July 16th, 2007

The second 'solo' album from the expelled Black Sabbath frontman would sadly be his last with guitarist Randy Rhoads, whose tragic death in a private plane accident would remove the neoclassical influence and bodacious guitar solos from Ozzy's material. The singer would subsequently choose, presumably as a result of these early albums' consistent theme of madness, to pursue a 'hair metal' glam direction.

The lyrical focus on insanity throughout much of the album makes it almost an accidental concept album, while also indicating a lack of creativity in deriving on what was basically the message of the band's earlier hit 'Crazy Train.' Ozzy and company's second release of 1981, 'Diary of a Madman' is in all respects a perfect example of a rushed sophomore slump, recycling ideas from 'Blizzard of Ozz' and failing entirely to recapture the high quality and simplistic charm of that predecessor. Then again, this rapid release allows a final swan song for Rhoads, less memorable than his work on the first album but still serving as the main highlight of a release sparingly peppered with fantastic solos and the occasional strong lead riff.

Only serving to further prove the desperate stretching of ideas, the first two songs not only deal with madness, or more specifically an alternative and criticised point of view, but are also, and this is the regrettable but admittedly ironic part, about flying. Planes have been a consistent subject in heavy metal, from Iron Maiden's appreciation of the Spitfire experience to Queensrÿche, and more recently Edguy, celebrating stewardesses. A drum intro leads into a great melodic guitar riff from Rhoads, before Ozzy's legendary voice (not for all the right reasons) harks back to the glory days of several months earlier, with the previous album. Deserving special attention is Bob Daisley's bass guitar, wrongly credited to Rudy Sarzo in the booklet, which makes its presence felt on both of these early albums more prominently than many similar bands would attempt, especially in the slower, and more blues-based songs like 'Flying High Again,' strongly reminiscent of the earlier material of Ozzy's Brummie brethren Judas Priest. If Ozzy’s ‘mama’ here is intended to be his wife as rumoured, the ‘flying’ is likely yet another lazy metaphor for drug use. These opening songs are catchy and almost up to the standard of the previous album, but even Randy Rhoads' excellent solos, at their best here, can't disguise the tired formula.

The third track, re-using the structure of the previous album, is the obligatory part-acoustic ballad, only this time it's a tribute to rock and roll, placing it immediately ahead of 'Goodbye to Romance.' The acoustic guitar sounds nicely but derivatively Mediterranean, but this is more likely due to early eighties production than anything intentional, as the same sound can be found in Iron Maiden's 'Prodigal Son.' The chorus is the most uplifting so far, pre-empting heavy metal bands' obsessions with celebrating heavy metal through lyrics in the eighties, particularly in the self-aggrandising work of Manowar, and it's hard not to empathise with the Ozzman. Nevertheless, the very next track 'Believer,' a middle-of-the-road song like most of the remaining tracks, marks the exact point at which Ozzy's wails became irritating to my ears, and I was disappointed that the song wasn't the controlled instrumental jam it initially hinted towards. The frustration continues with 'Little Dolls,' in which he sings a poorly conceived duet of sorts with himself, the primary reason seemingly to fit more into each verse than would be possible without overdubbing a different vocal take in-between. I've never been a fan of the high register Ozzy shifted into after performing perfectly well with a dingy monotone in the first four Black Sabbath albums, but I presume it has something to do with attracting the radar of bats, which he can then decapitate with his teeth.

'Tonight,' as can probably be deduced from the title, is another power ballad, but on that's heavier on the guitar noodling this time, eventually being forced to fade out on Rhoads' neoclassical mania in a similar manner to the earlier classic 'Mr. Crowley.' Daisley's bass is at its best here, driving the slow song along, and even Ozzy tones down a little, although this song is far from impressive or necessary by this point. Fortunately, the album pulls the 'strong beginning and end to disguise the weak middle half' trick, and the final two songs return to the speedy rock of the first song, climaxing in the excellent 'Diary of a Madman.' This song immediately hits the listener with the best riff on the album, but it's still only the forgotten middle brother between 'Crazy Train' and the later, inexplicably popular hit 'Bark at the Moon.'

I've spent the majority of this review slagging this album off in comparison to 'Blizzard of Ozz,' and considering the close proximity of the releases, and the essential fact that this an inferior copy of that classic album, it is entirely the right thing to do. The live 'Tribute to Randy Rhoads' album features the best of these songs amidst much better earlier material, with a couple of Sabbath classics thrown in to fill up the set-list of the burgeoning band, and for all but the die-hard Ozzy or Rhoads fan, 'Diary of a Madman' is the first piece in Ozzy Osbourne's back catalogue that can be justifiably ignored, along with almost everything the band would release thereafter in its many incarnations right up the present day, the exception being the single song 'Perry Mason' from 1997's Ozzmosis album, which is a great return to form, and is about Perry Mason.

Choice cuts from 'Diary of a Madman' are the title track, 'Over the Mountain' and, if you're feeling dreamy and a little cheesy, 'You Can't Kill Rock and Roll,' which the band thankfully didn't choose to title 'You Can't Kill Randy Rhoads.' I don't know what I'm talking about. The album clocks in at under forty minutes, so it won't take up too much of your time, and extensive re-releases of Ozzy Osbourne's back catalogue make it readily available in all places. Nevertheless, it would be wise to avoid the recent re-issue which replaced the original bass and drum recordings with those of Ozzy’s more recent band members due to legal disputes and, more generally, Sharon Osbourne.

The Best of the Blizzard - 95%

DawnoftheShred, November 20th, 2006

Ozzy Osbourne’s solo material is infinitely lacking compared to his work in Black Sabbath, but this is the one album that makes you forget that. Ozzy’s finest solo moment, as well as Randy Rhoads finest performance, is virtually without fault, if one can accept its over rated vocalist.

First off, the primary focus on either of Ozzy’s first two albums must be on Rhoads’ playing. On Blizzard it was phenomenal, but on Diary, it’s transcendental. His riffing is darker and heavier, except when it’s a clean riff, and even then it’s masterful and tactful. Atmosphere is a huge part of this album’s appeal and Rhoads’ delivers, in that department as well, though the keyboards aid in this as well. His soloing is even more technical and expressive than on the previous album and one can only imagine the heights he would have achieved in another album or two. This album really makes you miss Rhoads, especially considering the sordid state Ozzy currently resides in.

The songs, in general, are held to a much higher standard than those on Blizzard, except the throwaway ballad “Tonight,” which I don’t even think is that bad, mainly because of the cool keyboard work. “Over the Mountain” is a notable rocker, fast and actually quite catchy. “Diary of a Madman” is very dark and features some of Rhoads’ coolest riffs. “Believer” is atmospheric and evil-sounding, with a particularly cool solo from Randy. Even the power ballad “You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll” is fantastic, with amazingly melodic guitar work and memorable vocals from Osbourne. The absolute beat-all standout track is undoubtedly “S.A.T.O.” Faster than any other song on the album, well-endowed with vocal hooks and great lyrics, and peppered with Rhoads’ fantastic lead fills, it’s arguably the best song Ozzy’s ever put out. It’s also notable as the first song of Ozzy’s to be an acronym, something that would be abused on his later albums.

If you can only own one Osbourne album, make it this one. Despite your feelings about Ozzy himself, Randy Rhoads playing here should not be ignored on his account. It’s not the heaviest album out there, but it’s incredibly memorable, which is a far less common album characteristic.

The Gospel of Rhoads, Book Two - 90%

OlympicSharpshooter, December 9th, 2005

Coming off of the effusively praised debut record, Ozzy's solo band had a tough task ahead of them. How could Daisley top the unforgettable pop hooks of "Crazy Train" and "I Don't Know", how could Ozzy be more plaintive and appealing, and most importantly how could Randy ever possibly manage to dazzle us as he had so stunningly did time and time again on Blizzard? The band raced back into the studio after touring to strike again while the iron was hot, the Oz racking his depleted brain cells to find new ways to bring moat metal to the masses. Would the magic ever be recaptured?

Of course not. The band crashed and burned. Diary of a Madman will always be remembered as the record that destroyed Ozzy's career and shunted Randy Rhoads off of the path to legendary status, relegating the man to a mere footnote in the annals of metal while Piledriver and Nutz took hold of the failing flame and conquered... wait a minute. That isn't what happened at all. I just got hit so hard in the head by another patch of obliterato shred par excellence that I temporarily forgot who I was, how much this album rules, and how many angels can dance on the head of a pin (actually, I still have no idea what that means).

Diary of a Madman is like the juiced up older brother to Blizzard, always conscientiously holding open the door for its drooling happy semi-special needs sibling while simultaneously bludgeoning the ravages of time with an enormous cricket bat (you know, 'cos Ozzy's English). Everything that was good on the previous LP is back but bigger, more mature, heavier, catchier, faster, and Randy-er. There's genuine aggression and a bit of danger in the mix, that slack smile taking on a bit of an edge when looked upon from certain angles, a cunning light behind previously empty eyes.

Crack open the door to the madman's room will ya, survey the whirlwind of torn up papers and the flickering light of near-melted candles. You're looking for something very specific here. You're looking for something, anything really, that is bad about this album. Yeah, rifle through the drawers, look under the desk, overturn the bookshelf, hell, check to see if there's anything nasty in the conspicuously modern mini-fridge. I have looked and looked and time and time again all that I find is good. Pretty much the only reason that this album isn't scored even higher is that it doesn't quite have the same sense of discovery or quite as much historical significance as Blizzard (the only logical one, it also doesn't score higher because there are a fair number of albums I simply genuinely like better).

So, Mr. Vague, why are you tossing this thing into the Valhalla of Hard n' Heavy? Well, as I mentioned earlier this is not too terribly dissimilar to the preceding LP, meaning that the songs are accessible melodic metal with anthemic pre-hair tinges, with elements of 70's singer-songwriter pop, built around a framework of clean mid-tempo power chords, with a whole heapin' helpin' of classically-influenced scale-dancing baroque shred. Within this framework the band manage to craft an album that is quite cohesive and yet not afraid to stab out in a number of directions, a hallmark of Oz's career from the Sabbath years through to the much maligned Down to Earth.

However, its the word cohesive that reveals another reason this album is such a step over Blizzard: the experimentation doesn't feel out of place or unnatural, and the ballads feel less like goofy one-offs tossed out to appease foolish phantom record execs who think that the Oz might somehow someday appeal to an audience outside of adolescent boys and friendless sociopaths (the fact that they somehow ended up being correct in the matter doesn't make it any less silly). I mean, compare "Goodbye to Romance" to its closest kin on Diary, "Tonight". "Tonight" is, on every level, a sappy power ballad sans-power but it feels so much more professional and doesn't grate on the nerves nearly so much, while retaining the honesty and adding a wondrous guitar solo to the mix (GTR's was merely standard excellence). The soft-rock kiss of death horns and tinkling piano just add to the Beatlesesque perfection of the melodies, Randy somehow finding a way to make guitar squawks into a thing of astonishing prettiness. The unfortunate side effect of this, of course, is the number of hair band hacks who thought that stealing Randy’s licks but playing them in some sort of ugly Page-mutated blues box would not be totally out of place in a song about how much you adore some chick.

Compare also the somewhat stodgy, stilted "Mr. Crowley" which seemed hellbent on bringing a little seriousness to the table and instead became almost a parody of snobby pseudo-intellectual British metal (see: solo Bruce Dickinson), to the insane "oh shit the D&D convention hall has burst into flame and it was full of fireworks" strafing proto-power of opening barnstormer "Over the Mountain" and the nimble aquatic existentialist canoodler "S.A.T.O." (which is the kind of song that probably had Michael Schenker pouting into the eager breasts of a groupie with only the foggiest idea of who he was) and you’ll see the difference a year can make. Even "Flying High Again", the cheery beer-swilling ambassador to the audience has a certain strident quality to it, amps cranked louder and just delivered with an all-around breezy confidence that far outstrips even the craziest trains of the previous album.

All of the heavy tracks seem to be drinking from the lead-poisoned waters of "Suicide Solution" or, as "Suicide Solution" is a more straight-up Sabbath trip than most of Diary, the monstrous heavy riffing of "Revelation (Mother Earth)". Again though, and I hate to start sounding like a broken record, but the experience of touring together has really tightened up the loose bolts of the rather rock-scrabble bunch of bemulleted mutts they were previously and the album tracks are just much better. “Suicide Solution” stood out as a particularly solid track on Blizzard, but here it would actually have to counted as a bit of a runt in the face of the crushing “Believer” (that moving, shrieking solo is just about the prettiest piece of business ever committed to tape) and the grinding “Little Dolls”. Hell, even the arena rock anthem “You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll” makes a little room between Ozzy’s grandfatherly pronouncements to open up a skin-flaying riff/solo combination that is capable of crumbling bricks.

... and that’s another thing, where Ozzy was usually a victim on the last record, or at best a powerless observer here the man is wrapped in wizardly robes, commanding and fascinating with tales of shifting geography and transcending time with the powers of his mind. Oz the adventurer, Oz the rescuer, Oz the captain of his own destiny, the day he’d surrender the wheel to the she-wolf far away, the only portent being the title of “S.A.T.O.” which stands for Sharon Adrian Thelma Osbourne.

So, I figure I’ve run this review pretty much into the ground by now so I’ll use the mention of that scum-sucking mantis to address the remaster issue. The bass and drum tracks were completely re-recorded as with the previous LP due to a royalties dispute with bassist Bob Daisley, who co-wrote every song, and drummer Lee Kerslake, who was in Uriah Heep and therefore deserves lots of money. The production on this record is nearly identical to that of Blizzard, but here the wall of guitars sounds a bit thicker and therefore the new rhythm tracks don’t sound as off. The throbbing bass at the beginning of “Believer” at least sounds good. I do want to listen to the original rendition of the title track however, as the version on my copy seems a little too sparse during the intro sections and may be the victim of the butchering of Rhoads’ guitar mixes that marred Blizzard (basically some of the guitar tracks were apparently fiddled with in order to accommodate the new bass tracks).

From a moral perspective, this is one of the most reprehensible acts I’ve come across in metal, basically as low as you can go without actually committing a crime (Mayhem, Emperor, Faster Pussycat...*giggle*). This has the fingerprints of Sharon and her ruthless business practices all over it. The fact that she would conscience maiming the albums her husband is most loved for to avoid paying two musicians who were partially responsible for giving Ozzy a career says more about her character than she probably thinks, but its just another brick in the wall she’s built between the metal faithful and our patron saint. For shame. (pasted from Blizzard review since I said it pretty well there)

So, before I mercifully let this review go I’ll dedicate the last paragraph to Randy. When one listens to the title track to this album, one grasps fully what the metal community lost when Randy’s plane went down. From the “Supertzar”-style chants to the tubular bells to the lonely violin that flits in with schizoid grace for a few brief moments, “Diary of a Madman” represents an ornately cinematic quality that had been unseen in metal since Sabbath’s progressive years. The song is all about storytelling, and I feel that it is one of the templates for the metal operas of Savatage, and its influence is also reflected in the chanting choirs and gothic despair of Queensryche’s “Suite Sister Mary”. But when you’re listening, this doesn’t register because you’re so immersed in Randy’s blinding light, encapsulated in the stabbing violin-like jerking riff, the most significant marriage of classical composition and metal since Lord and Blackmore began to duel.

The metal world misses Randy, and if you don’t yet you will. Get this album.

Stand-Outs: “Over the Mountain”, “S.A.T.O.”, “Believer”

Ozzy's best solo album - 88%

simonitro, August 28th, 2004

Yup! This is Ozzy's best solo album in his career. Blizzard Of Oz was amazing, but this one is much better. The production is good and everything seems to be fine on this record.

The songs are great like "Over The Mountain" starts with a fast tempo and the solo is great. This is like one of Ozzy's popular songs. "Flying High Again" is the album's first single and it's great but when Ozzy sings "I Can see it" sounds so dry. "You Can't Kill Rock and Roll" is kinda boring and it has cheesy lyrics. Then, the killer "Believer" sounds like a Black Sabbath song to me starting off with great bass part, this is like one of the highlights of the album. "Little Dolls" is an interesting track and weird in a way, and the song has been structured well here, and I liked the intro. "Tonight" is a ballad and most of listeners say this is the worst track on the album, but it's like okay and soft but not so strong. "S.A.T.O" is just amazing and it is as heavy as fuck and Ozzy's vocals is great on this track. Then the title track "Diary Of A Madman" is my personal favorite on this album and sounds spooky. I think this is some kinda an epic and it sounds eerie and nice. The solo in this song is great but bit short.

If you didn't like any Ozzy's releases then this one will change your mind. It's a classic album and Ozzy did a great job delivering good music on this release.

Highlights: Over The Mountain, Flying High Again, Believer, S.A.T.O, Diary Of A Madman

Ozzy's Best, Randy's Best... - 97%

ApocalypticDawn_666, December 7th, 2003

This is easily my favorite Ozzy album, and among what I consider his 'three greats.' That is, of course, Diary of a Madman, Bark at the Moon, and The Ultimate Sin. This was Randy Rhoads last album, and this (along with Blizzard of Oz) prove his amazing skill at guitar. Diary of a Madman has a lot of classical bits in it, but of course has metal as only Randy Rhoads and Jake E Lee could play it. I'm sorry, but Zakk Wylde isn't nearly as good as everyone says.

Over The Mountain starts things off great. Awesome guitar riffs, great solo, some cool lyrics, and Ozzy's banshee wail, as always.

Flying High Again is the next song, and it too is pretty good. The lyrics aren't the greatest; I dislike the use of "mama" in so many damn Ozzy songs. Seems, should I say? Otherwise, it's a good song, with another amazing guitar solo.

You Can't Kill Rock N' Roll is a great song. The lyrics, and vocal lines, are among my favorites on the album. This song just builds and builds into the chorus, which features some of Ozzy's best vocals and some sweet guitar riffs. Another song similar to this is "Killer of Giants." YCKRNR is a great track.

Believer is the next song. The bass at the beginning, though rather simplistic, is pretty damn infectious. The opening guitar bit is pretty good, and overall, this is a pretty good song. Not amazingly good, especially not by DOAMM standards, but I like it.

Little Dolls starts out with some cool songs, has some good lyrics and good riffage...but why in the hell is the song so happy at times? It kind of gives things a awkward sound...either way, I still like the song, because the vocal lines are still good, despite not really fitting the lyrics.

Tonight is a filler. I don't like it, except the solo which is, as always, a kick in the ass to todays horrid guitarists.

S.A.T.O. is great. The riffs are some of Randy's heaviest, and the solo is most magnificent. The lyrics are some of Ozzy's best, and the instrumental section in the middle is some of Randy's best. Overall, this song is one of Ozzy's all-timers.

Diary Of A Madman starts with some great classical work by one of the various gods of guitar, Mr Randy Rhoads. The distorted riff that follows the soft acoustics is astonishingly heavy for such a soft part of the song, and it fits perfectly. In fact, I pay tribute to that in one of my bands songs, "Battle Axe of the Gods." It's not quite finished yet, but I do some similar stuff to that, tributing Randy. The instrumental guitar part is great, and the 'choir' at the end of the song just sums the album up.

All in all, a great album with a few weak points. I think it kicks the shit outta Blizzard, and Blizzard is a bit overrated. This right here sure beats Down to Earth and Ozzmosis, though.

Somewhat of a disappointment. - 67%

Nightcrawler, January 10th, 2003

Diary Of A Madman is, while it has a few killer tracks, very disappointing compared to Ozzy's great solo debut Blizzard Of Ozz. As I said, some tracks are killer, but overall it comes off as very inconsistent, and for an album with just 8 tracks, inconsistency will pretty much ruin it.
Randy Rhoads delivers a truly amazing guitar performance on this album, just as one would expect him to do.
The drumming is pretty good, it has very nice flow to it. The bass is quite bad, too loud and muddy.
Ozzy's vocal style hasn't really changed; he's still the same guy. He isn't a great singer by any means, and he hasn't got a very wide range, but he's good when he stays within that range. When he tries to sing out of his range, well... Let's not get into that, shall we?

The music on Diary is overall a little more straightforward and less atmospheric than on it's predecessor, and most of the songs go on at a quite slow pace, and it's mostly the slower paced stuff that makes this album worse than it could've been. On Blizzard, the slower songs were better and more inspired (See: Suicide Solution), while the slower paced material on Diary is uninspired and sometimes really boring (See: Little Dolls).

The best song on this album is also the first, that being Over The Mountain. A decent drum intro kicks into a wicked, heavy and fairly fast guitar riff.
This is indeed one of the heaviest and fastest songs on the album, but it's quite slow compared to his later stuff, for example Miracle Man. Still, it's quite fast considering this is one of his older albums.
Oh yeah, the drumming on the chorus is pretty damn insane.

Flying High Again is a bit slower paced, but the best of the slow ones. Catchy, occasionally cool lyrics and of course nice guitar work, and some really good basslines.

You Can't Kill Rock N' Roll is a quite good ballad, one of the better ones he ever did. It's not as uninspired and dumb as Goodbye To Romance, and has a quite cool, pretty fast chorus. Although it's good, it feels a bit overlong, reaching 7 minutes.

Now we have reached Believer, and here it all starts going downwards. It's not all that terrible though. The guitar riffs are quite nice, though the bass is quite repetitive and annoying, and it really gets on my nerves.
It's a midpaced song, with decent verses but an incredibly stupid and uninspired bridge, ending with nothing less than: "O.K. Baby"....Right.
The second bridge on the other hand is a bit better and more melodic.
The guitar solo is absolutely amazing, that must also be mentioned. But all these facts aside, there song is overall very lacking.

Little Dolls next. My first comments about this song would be: Crash and burn.
My first complaint: The lyrics are damn evil, while the song is the happiest damn thing ever. What the fuck, everything sounds so wrong and out of place.
Also, the bass is damn annoying. It's pretty much a simplified version of the damn boring guitar riffs.
Nope, this is definitely one of the lowest points in Ozzy's entire career. Damn, this sucks!

Tonight is another fairly crappy song. The album's second ballad, and this one is much more uninspired than the first.
The bass is incredibly annoying (I'm starting to see a pattern here...) and the guitars aren't very noticeable, except for on the guitar solo, which is totally amazing. It seems like the best solos Randy played were on otherwise shitty ballads (See: Goodbye To Romance).

S.A.T.O next. This is another great song, and it is also the fastest on the album. Really sweet guitarwork, great drumming and finally a nice bass performance again. It's not too loud this time, which it has been the last few songs.
And let's not forget yet another amazing guitar solo. Randy Rhoads was truly amazing! Nonetheless, I must admit I prefer his work on the debut to this album.

Diary Of A Madman is a decent but a bit overlong closer. It has some cool, haunting moments, some nice melodic verses, a nice heavy guitar riff in the middle, and a cool climax at the end. It's not great, but not bad either.

Overall, most songs on the album are pretty good. But, even the good or better songs usually lack something. May it be inspiration, may it be energy, may it be a good vocal performance, throughout nearly the whole album, there is always something missing. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is simply not good enough.

Please, kill that damn singer - 66%

UltraBoris, August 26th, 2002

I don't care if you founded the band, if you suck, you suck. Look at Virgin Steele - Jack Starr founded the band, but DeFeis had no qualms in kicking him out because he, Dave, wanted to write more than party anthems.

So yeah, the riffs are somewhat better on this album. The opening track, they realise that they can't go too fast, so they have a midpaced efficient-speed hammering riff in "Over the Mountain". Nice solo too - that's really what this album comes down to. Nice solo, over and over again.

"Flying High Again" - too much emphasis on the vocals. The guitars drop away far too often, unless you're in the solo. Believe me, Sucky Suckbourne's vocals are not something that should be emphasised in the mix. The song finally gets going in the middle section, but even that is really overly cheesy. Rule number one of song writing. Don't ever make snide comments on your own song (the Ray Charles Rule, as exemplified by his "oh yeah, that's what I'm talking about" interjections) - here it's Ozzy going "I can see it! I can see it!" in response to "if you could see inside my head..." Yes, that's great. We're not asking you, you motherfucking senile bitch.

"Believer". Boring. "Little Dolls". Boring. "Tonight" - Fucking puke-tacular horse-feces, this doesn't just give metal a bad name, it brings down the worth of our entire goddamn species. I swear, when the Vortrons come and get us, I will point to shit like this as the reason why.

"SATO" is pretty damn cool. Also known as Sailing across the Ocean. Why do bands always have songs that are initials? Not confident of your spelling skills or something? Uhh, how do you spell "teh" again?

Then the title track - too damn slow and plodding and the guitar is not present in the aural space nearly enough. That's what's REALLY wrong with this album... the solos are amazing, but the riffs are missing, buried, or just nonexistent. And the vocals suck, but you knew that already.