OZZY OSBOURNE – BLIZZARD OF OZZ – EPIC
Ozzy’s first solo album from 1980 was one of only two studio recordings with former Quiet Riot guitarist Randy Rhoads, who died in a plane crash in 1982. Bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake were also part of the band back then. The sound was a bit more American than Black Sabbath, and the general mood of the songs was not as dark as in Ozzy’s former band.
I Don’t Know opens the album with a catchy riff and features a balladesque interlude. The intro to Crazy Train is often used in NFL stadiums during kick-off. The song itself is one of the greatest Ozzy tunes ever. One line from it pretty much sums up what today’s politics are all about: “One person conditioned to rule and control/The media sells it and you live the role.” Goodbye To Romance has a big seventies touch and crisp clean guitars. The instrumental Dee was solely written by Randy Rhoads and shows his skills as an acoustic guitar player. Suicide Solution is a bit weaker than the rest. Mr. Crowley deals with the famous Satanist/occultist Aleister Crowley and has an evil synth intro. The song could well be on a Black Sabbath album. No Bone Movies seems to be about hardcore porn and a person who tries to stay away from it, but fails to do so. Revelation (Mother Earth) had an environmental lyrical theme long before the topic became popular in the metal world. Steal Away (The Night) closes the album with up-tempo rock. Blizzard Of Ozz remains a classic and just shows how much Ozzy has lost when you compare it to recent recordings such as Down To Earth. – Andreas Herzog
OZZY OSBOURNE – NO MORE TEARS (REISSUE) – EPIC
The line-up of No More Tears (1991) consisted of Zakk Wylde (guitar), Mike Inez (bass), and Randy Castillo (drums). Bassist Bob Daisley was also involved in the recordings. Lemmy Kilmister co-wrote several songs on the album, namely Hellraiser, Mama, I’m Coming Home, Desire, and I Don’t Want To Change The World. Still, there is no big Motörhead influence to be heard.
The opener Mr. Tinkertrain has lyrics that deal with child abuse, though not as openly as in Motörhead’s Don’t Let Daddy Kiss Me. I Don’t Want To Change The World has a stomping rhythm and sleazy guitars. Mama, I’m Coming Home was a huge radio hit and shows Zakk Wylde’s southern influences. Desire has a straight hard rock feeling and a very LA-style chorus with a reference to an older song: “It’s the same old desire / Crazy train, crazy train.” The title song has a bass and keyboard intro that could almost be part of a Saga song were it not for the slide guitar. Again, we get some more Stevie Ray Vaughan elements in the verse. S.I.N. has a dramatic opening and a chorus in the vein of classic AOR. Hellraiser has nothing to do with the movie of the same name, but the song is not very convincingly written and has a chaotic middle part. Time After Time is a semi-ballad, but weaker than Mama. Zombie Stomp begins with some bass notes, drum rolls and congas. The lyrics deal with addiction in general and its consequences. The song’s staccato riffing is unusual for Ozzy, but the chorus sounds more traditional. A.V.H. once again has a southern style intro, but soon goes up-tempo. The listener notices the train metaphor for the second time: “Riding on a train that I can’t control”. Road To Nowhere is reminiscent of Guns n’ Roses on Appetite For Destruction. This reissue features the two bonus tracks Don’t Blame Me and Party With The Animals, which are OK.
The style of No More Tears is typical for an Ozzy album with Zakk Wylde, but the excellent production and several great songs make it highly enjoyable. – Andreas Herzog