Thursday, December 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Bark At the Moon, by Ozzy Osbourne

In 1982, the world of rock and metal lost a legend: Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhoads who at the time was only 25 years old and had helped Osbourne to launch his solo career with two astounding albums that included tunes like Crazy Train, I Don't Know, Mr. Crowley, Over the Mountain, etc. This left Osbourne having to find a new guitar player who could fill the shoes left by the prodigy. Having looked through many different guitar players, he finally decided on Jake E. Lee, a California based shredder. Lee was more than up to the task while also bringing his own style and flare to Osbourne's music and helping him to create some new classics.

In 1983, Osbourne put out his first album with his new guitarist titled Bark At the Moon. Where Osbourne's music had previously been more about melody, the tunes on this album seem to be more riff and crunch driven with intermittent blistering leads and solos. I think that Lee was definitely far more into heavy metal than Rhoads was because you can hear just how much of the style Lee embraced whereas Rhoads just took his classical style and made it heavy. It's actually nice to hear that Lee didn't try to copy Rhoads (unlike certain other guitarists who have played for Ozzy). In a way, some of the songs are almost mildly reminiscent of Deep Purple in terms of guitar tone, riffs, song structure, rhythm, etc. That's just my opinion, though.

The album opens up with its title track Bark At the Moon; which in my opinion is the best track about lycanthropy I have ever heard. I like it because the album just grabs you right by the balls and takes you along for a wild ride right from the get-go. The opening signature riff is really fast and tears things up. Osbourne's vocal melodies (which is one of the few things he actually contributes to his music) keep the song pretty easy to follow for the most part. What absolutely makes the song the killer metal track that it is though is the guitar solo. It's one of those solos where if you cover the song, you play that solo note for note. You don't mess with it or change it at all. It's a musical piece all on its own.

Rock N' Roll Rebel is another one of my personal favorites from Bark At the Moon, but mostly because of its lyrical content. Don't get me wrong, the music itself is pretty fantastic and the riffs crush it but some times a song's subject matter is more prevalent. Anyway, it is a song talking about all the kinds of presumptions and misconceptions people seem to have about rock n' rollers (thinking they worship the devil, have no morals, and wanting them to conform to society's standards). It really does say a lot about people's reactions to metal music at that point in time. Sadly, a lot of it still seems to be the same even to this day.

What makes me kind of sad is that you don't hear a whole lot of the songs from Bark At the Moon besides the title track in Osbourne's live sets any more. There are some pretty good ones. Granted, many of them aren't the "classics", but that doesn't mean that they aren't worthy of being performed to the long time die hard fans who would like to hear them. There are some good riffs, excellent guitar solos, and even a couple soft tender moments. It was a unique time during Osbourne's solo career and I think it is still a great album to listen to. Give Bark At the Moon a listen if you haven't already. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised and will find at least a couple tracks you really like.

Bark At the Moon, by Ozzy Osbourne receives 3.75 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Bark At the Moon
2. You're No Different
3. Now You See It (Now You Don't)
4. Rock N' Roll Rebel
5. Centre of Eternity (Forever)
6. So Tired
7. Slow Down
8. Waiting For Darkness
9. Spiders in the Night
10. One Up the B Side

Buy the album on Amazon:

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