It wasn't too many years ago, that when you said the two words Ozzy Osbourne, you knew that you were talking about the integrity of heavy metal, but a few years ago that all changed and Ozzy went from being the one of the godfathers of metal to a household name and a man with his own docu-soap run money machine decorated with a manipulating wife and moronic and misbehaved children. Well what we don't know is if it always have been like that? It probably has, but back then we didn't know about all this, and the life of The Prince of Darkness was still mystic and surrounded with tales and legends.
I mean for god sake my grandmother aged 79 watch The Osbournes, how rock'n'roll can that be?
All this has made me dream back to the days of Ozzy being a metal hero, and not a cartoon like person screaming for his wife while tottering around in his sweat pants.
And when I try to think of the essential Ozzy album, two very different albums come to mind, Diary of a Madman and No More Tears, but then again are these two albums really that different, are there similarities even though that they have been written and recorded by totally different people a decade apart?
So what are the similarities?
- They were both released a year into their decade (1981 and 1991)
- Both albums are landmark Ozzy recordings.
- Both had some of the best musicians of their time
- They were both the second album with Ozzy for the two most respected, influential and idolised guitar heroes Ozzy has used.
- The title tracks are two epics that really stand out on the two albums.
For me Dairy
both mark a comeback for Ozzy as the undisputed king of metal, true there are a lot of other huge acts around, but none have made it quite as long or done it the way Ozzy has. Some would clime that this honour falls to Blizzard of Ozz and No Rest for the Wicked, but I feel that while being good albums, they only assured that Ozzy was on his way back, but he hadn't quite made it back yet.
Ozzy has always managed to surround himself with great musicians, and I guess that is why his albums always and still are of such high quality both musical but also when it comes to the actual playing.
Ozzy's 81 ensemble consists of guitar wiz Randy Rhoads, metal first call bassist Rudy Sarzo and the always steady Doug Aldridge on drums.
Ten years later on Tears
Ozzy's ranks are guitar monster Zakk Wylde
, Randy Castillio behind the drums and Bob Daisley and Mike Inez on bass, it doesn't get much better than that in 91.
One thing you can always count on with an Ozzy recording, is that the guitar work will always be of the highest quality, nothing is left to chance here, and when you look over the time since Ozzy were "asked" to leave Sabbath, he has made sure to have top nudge six stringers around, Randy Rhoads, Brad Gillis, Jake E. Lee, Zakk Wylde
and Joe Holmes.
On these two recordings we have the two guitarists that will forever be linked to Ozzy (and with good reason); Randy Rhoads and Zakk Wylde
Randy Rhoads and Zakk Wylde
has both created their own unique style and are instantly recognisable. The classic trained Rhoads has a more orchestral approach to his playing, but still remains a savage during his solos while keeping fresh and alive in the rest of the tune with his very alive playing, which is a bit different to the balls to the wall but still highly technical way of Zakk Wylde
, with his trademark overtones and heavily detuned, EMG stacked Les Pauls wall of pure metal.
Both have managed in their own way to give Ozzy an edge that no one else had or has, and both were/are an icon in their own time.
But as both albums were each guitarist's second album with Ozzy you can hear a growth in the playing and writing, though Ozzy had a bit more people to help him on Tears
, both guitarists are the main men along with Ozzy with regards to the music on the albums. With that growth both guitarists shine more than on their debut Ozzy albums, and both remain as a testament of the two amazing guitarists' huge talent.
The track Diary of a Madman
is very different to the track No More Tears
, but they are both epics in their own way and both due to the unique playing and writing style of Rhoads and Wylde.
Diary of a Madman
is a huge sounding track with layers of acoustic guitars, a huge build up to the solo and choir to back up the atmosphere created by the music but also Ozzy's frantic vocals. This is Randy Rhoads' master class, of how to do the Randy Rhoads thing.
No More Tears
is also a big track but in a different way. Whereas layers of acoustic guitars and a choir were used for making the big sound on Diary of a Madman, a keyboard is used here with great skill, and then there is that riff, probably the most ballsy riff ever played, and to think that some if it is done by playing slide.
So apart from being landmark recordings for Ozzy, and two iconic guitarists delivering their best performances of their life, these two albums are very high quality music from the first to the last track with timeless classics (apart from the two mentioned above) such as: Mr Tinkertrain, Flying High Again, Over the Mountain, Mama, I'm Coming Home, Hellraiser, Time After Time, Believer, Zombie Stomp
and I could go on.
Diary of a Madman - 8/10
No More Tears - 8/10
Written by Morten
Friday, September 9, 2005Show all reviews by MortenRatingsMorten: 8/10
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