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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)......