Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ozzy Osbourne ~ Blizzard Of Ozz

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Style: heavy metal
Label: Jet Records
Year: 1981 (reissued/re-recorded 1992)
Home: England

Members: Band on 1980 recording:
Ozzy Osbourne ~ vocals
Randy Rhoads ~ guitars
Bob Daisely ~ bass/gong/b. vocals
Lee Kerslake ~ drums/tubular bells

Additional: Don Airey ~ keyboards

Band on 1992 reissue:
Ozzy Osbourne ~ vocals
Randy Rhoads ~ guitars
Robert Trujillo ~ bass
Mike Bordin ~ drums/gong

Additional: tubular bells
John Shanks, Mark Lennon ~ b. vocals


It's often forgotten today that Ozzy's last few albums with Black Sabbath were not the ground-breaking moments that Paranoid was, while without the saving voice of Ronnie James Dio Black Sabbath might have faded away as they largely did after Dio left. Ozzy too might have faded away or at least not become the Prince Of Darkness overnight if he hadn't blasted out into a solo career with such a stellar debut that not just gave him a new career but also influenced heavy metal as much as Paranoid a decade earlier. Blizzard Of Ozz could easily be renamed a blizzard of great guitar playing, great songs, great singing & great heavy metal. It's some of Ozzy's best song in years that decades later are still fan favorites. "Crazy Train", "Goodbye To Romance", "Suicide Solution", "Mr. Crowley" are the four singles that remain concert standards, out of a meager nine songs which is a good balance. The rest of the album (i.e. "I Don't Know", "No Bone Movies", "Revelation (Mother Earth)", "Steal Away (The Night)" & the fifty second Rhoads classically sounding acoustic instrumental "Dee" ) may not be so familiar to the casual fan but have only faded away because the chorus might not be as memorable. They burn with great riffs that may even eclipse the singles at times. The secret of success is really no secret as the album was as much under the creative control of guitarist Randy Rhoads as it was Ozzy ... some say the balance might even be tipped away from Ozzy. Ozzy came from Black Sabbath that featured ground-breaking guitar hero Tony Iommi. How do you follow that gig? You get a young kid, in this case a 23 year old guitar teacher & stand-in for a pre-MTV favorite Quiet Riot, who rips the house down with as much power but yet has a very different style & technique so the comparisons are a minimum. Considering Ozzy initially wasn't interested in hearing Rhoads' audition after a heavy day of drinking ... there's a little bit of luck thrown in. You really can't get two more different guitarists in style than Iommi versus Rhoads. Though, really, it's two different styles. Iommi was drawing from the 60's blues & prog-rock scene while Rhoads, in the same vein as Eddie Van Halen, was drawing on what was layed down in the 70's by such folks as Richie Blackmore & Iommi himself. & if one doesn't think that Rhoads is the key to the success of kicking Blizzard Of Ozz up an extra head-banging notch one only has to look at the legacy he left - every guitarist Ozzy has employed since has been under the shadow of Rhoads with comparisons happening regularly. Actually, many guitarists face comparisons with Rhoads, but few have come close to his magic. The only one I can think of the late Criss Oliva of Savatage but he's Rhoads in the raw ... vocalist brother Jon Olivia has more than a little Ozzy in him, too. No Ozzy solo album other than the 1981 follow-up also with Rhoads before his tragic death, Diary Of A Madman, has achieved such high accolades by both fans & critics & remained a favorite as Blizzard Of Ozz. There's been some good albums, such as the mid-career moment No More Tears, but none have had the impact of this initial debut. Note the remaster includes partial re-recordings of all the songs with only Ozzy & Rhoads remaining from the original recording due to original members Bob Daisley & Lee Kerslake suing Ozzy for non-payment of royalties. Linear notes don't say if Don Airey's keyboard parts have been retained, replaced or just ignored. For casual fans the difference may or may not mean anything or even be that important. For those who have picked up Ozzy's later greatest hits collections they will have already heard the re-recorded versions. It is it important, though. There is a difference in overall feeling & tone, though for some it'll be like the experience of hearing a remaster where a producer's attempted to turn an old mono recording into stereo or some other feat that makes big changes.



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