Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2020
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Bland Songs, Horrid Production - 55%

slaveraider, December 29th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1988, CD, Epic Records

After the surprising firing of Ozzy's most technically gifted guitar savage Jake E. Lee, Osbourne found another monster axe man in Zakk Wylde. While the group would not reach their full potential until the release of the much better "No More Tears" three years later, "No Rest for the Wicked" acts a reaction to "The Ultimate Sin", by stripping down the pop aspects of that record to create a more straight ahead and rudimentary album. The results were incredibly mixed.

Before any aspect of the songs shine through, the production immediately catches your attention. While his last record with Ron Nevison was incredibly clean, "No Rest for the Wicked" runs the other way with a dirty production that is demo quality. The drums are very compressed, and lack any top-end response. They sound muffled and overtly '80s because of the big compressed sound. The bass guitar is poorly EQ'd and makes the whole mix sound muddy at around 90Hz with little attention to higher frequencies to make the notes sound intelligible. The guitars sound like they were recorded under water, and have a same mid-range frequency deficit. Reportedly, Keith Olsen gave Zakk the same sound that John Sykes used on the self-titled Whitesnake the year before, and it sounds even worse on this album. Overblown and flat, it's the worst guitar tone on an Ozzy record to date. The vocals themselves are doubled and soaked in reverb with Osbourne sounding very tired and indifferent to the second rate material on the album. Keith Olsen seems to hate all frequencies above 10kHz, because the album sounds like you're listening with a thick blanket thrown over your speakers.

While the crappy production definitely takes away from the songs, it doesn't completely ruin them. Wylde's guitar work is stellar, if not as good as he would later become. His pinch harmonics are not completely out of control yet, and with the help of Bob Daisly he crafts some decent tunes. Wylde is a great player, but out of the first three studio guitarists Ozzy had, he is easily the least talented writer. The best album of the era contains several co-writes from Lemmy Kilmister. On other albums he was completely not allowed to write at all, and he was fired after Ozzy thought that everything sounded too much like Black Label Society. His first two albums are aided by his talented band mates Bob Daisley and Randy Castillo. Highlights include the single "Miracle Man", the dumb but lovable "Crazy Babies", and the only track on the album that is good enough to stand against old Ozzy material "Bloodbath in Paradise".

The problem with this album is that in attempting to backlash the big sounding and technically worked out "Ultimate Sin" album, the band went too far the other direction and came off sounding primitive. For the most part, this album is more hard rock than it is metal. While that itself isn't necessarily a bad thing, the fact that the riffs themselves sound standard and rehashed highlights the fact that the band is regressing, not evolving. "Fire in the Sky" rings hollow when compared to such classic ballads as "Goodbye to Romance" and "Killer of Giants". Mid-paced rebellious songs like "Breaking the Rules" pale in the shadow so tunes like "Flying High Again" and "Waiting for Darkness" or even future triumphs like "I Don't Wanna Change the World".

In an attempt to strip down the Ozzy Obsourne band takes one step forward and ten steps back. While it is admirable that they attempted to branch out into a new direction, the abysmal production and mediocre songwriting keep the overall album from being particularly enjoyable. They would later succeed by courting to AOR radio a bit with their next much more evolved (and better) effort, "No More Tears".