Friday, February 26, 2016
Throwback Thursday: Diary of a Madman, by Ozzy Osbourne
In 1981 Ozzy Osbourne and his solo band then known as The Blizzard of Ozz were coming hot off the tail of the success of Osbourne's debut solo album The Blizzard of Ozz which had spawned multiple hits of his that are still well known and frequently played to this day. Osbourne and his band needed a big follow-up album to help keep the momentum going, and they managed to do so with their sophomore release Diary of a Madman.
Diary of a Madman does not alter too drastically in terms of musical style from The Blizzard of Ozz, except it does get a bit more exploratory and technical, mostly due to the fact that guitarist Randy Rhoads was a genius musically. It is still very much a melodic heavy metal album, but you can hear Rhoads's neo-classical influences in different parts; especially in the title track of the album where he is literally playing a modified version of something Mozart had written. Some of the tracks are also done in irregular time signatures, making things a little more interesting.
Believer in my opinion is one of Osbourne's most under rated tracks. Though it is simplistic in nature, that big beefy bass line and crunchy stomping guitar riff make you feel rather powerful while Osbourne is singing all kinds of encouraging messages about believing in one's self. Not really what you would expect to hear out of him considering he is known for singing about supposedly evil things, but maybe this is a good thing honestly.
Flying High Again while not all that spectacular as a song is brought to a godly level of awesomeness when Rhoads's iconic guitar solo kicks in. Supposedly during the recording of the album Rhoads locked himself in the studio and would not eat, drink, or sleep until he got the solo exactly the way he wanted it. If this is true, then it definitely paid of because it is some of the most fantastic guitar work he ever put to tape. This is a moment where his musicianship and skill as a guitar player really managed to shine through.
There isn't a single bad track on Diary of a Madman. It is definitely an adventurous album to say the least, though not to the point where an average listener will feel bamboozled and bored. You can hear just how much the musicians loved and cared for what they were doing, even if Osbourne was the star of the show. That said, if you want to get this album make sure you do NOT get the 2002 rerelease of the album because it has rerecorded bass and drum tracks by other musicians that absolutely pale in comparison to the original performances.
Diary of a Madman, by Ozzy Osbourne receives 4.5 out of 5 stars.
1. Over the Mountain
2. Flying High Again
3. You Can't Kill Rock and Roll
5. Little Dolls
8. Diary of a Madman
Buy the album on Amazon: