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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.