Sunday, October 29, 2006

Ozzy-Diary of a madman, 1981

Remember a time when Ozzy was coherent and he was actually cool? Yes, I miss those days and it does seem ages ago. When Ozzy was booted out of Sabbath in 1979, many people didn't think he would do much after that. However, not only did he put out some quality albums right away, but he made an even bigger impact than Sabbath did without him. Diary of a madman was the second album from Ozzy's solo career and to me it's his best. It contains eight tracks without any filler at all and some of the strongest writing and performances of Ozzy's long career. With the way he is and has been for at least a decade, it is sometimes easy to forget that he was once a real leader in metal. At least during the first two albums he and his band were really laying down some foundations for 80's metal. The band is so tight in their playing and Ozzy is spot on at hitting changes with ease and using his voice to the fullest. Songs like Over the mountain, S.A.T.O and the haunting title track allow the band to take less conventional approaches yet they still come across as being heavy. Tracks like Flying high again and Tonight show that the band is very much capable of pulling off strong melodies and be memorable without being fluffy. The more I listen to this album the more positives I find in it. I think in the 80's that Ozzy got labeled as this metal madman and got stamped with this image that he portrayed at times, but it was largely more image than reality. However Diary does so much as it manages to bring together lots of sounds that fall in the realm of hard rock and metal yet the transitions in the songs are seamless. If a band (no matter what the style) were needing an example of how to properly do pace changes and get the most out of them then this album would be towards the top of my list of suggestions for required listening. The rhythm section is great and keep things going throughout the course of the album. Randy Rhoads got a lot of credit as being a virtuoso guitarist and I think that gets debated to some extent. He was a great player, but I am not sure he had time to really establish his own style before his untimely death in early 1982. Anyway he can shred on the solos for sure, but his rhythms and the ease with which he plays the many various parts here is phenomenal. I think we as listeners forget how well he is doing this just because he does it so effortlessly. You only need to pull out other metal albums by other artists and you will hear what I mean and understand the difference. Just a great, great album that earns Ozzy a lot of praise despite what he is now or the fact that he only did one great studio album after this. My only complaint with this album might be that there is a track or two where they fade out on a solo. This is a method that I do not like at all because if you play a solo then we want hear it played to it's fullest.


Blogger Metal Mark said...

It only took me about seven tries over the course of four hours to get this posted.

9:24 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

Sorry to hear about your posting troubles. I hope I don't face the same when I post later tonight or early in the a.m.

I think you are spot on with this review (as usual). "Flying High Again" and "Over the Mountain" are not only two of my favorite Ozzy songs, but two of my favorite metal songs PERIOD.

And you have another vote on your don't-fade-out-on-solos comment. The only acceptable cases are those where the solo is repeating/echoing itself, a la Steve Hackett's "Everyday," where a fade is effective. But you're right, here it's way out of line.

Have a great halloween,

4:32 PM  
Blogger Ben Heller said...

His best solo album, end of story. "Over The Mountain" is my favourite solo Ozzy song.

You're right, even though he's a bit of a joke now, we can't forget his contribution to rock music.

3:10 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

I agree that this is one of his best, and probably my favorite. He has now become someone that people laugh at, and not the Madman, that he once was. Either way, I feel that he is the Godfather of Metal and still deserves much respect, even if I don't know what he's saying anymore.

5:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Diary of a Madman is probably his best. Ozzy's career rests on the shoulders of his guitar player which is unfortunate since when Randy died, so did a lot of the great material.

I haven't listened to this album in while. I still think it sucks that Sharon had the original bass and drum tracks rerecorded. I still have my original.

5:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This album has always been one of my Top Five albums ever!!!
One of the things that most people don't know is that Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake were the ones who played on the album, even though Tommy Aldridge and Rudy Sarzo were on the picture of the album and were on the subsequent tour.

I don't know what Sharon's deal is trying to cut them out of the royalties

I can still remember when we heard that Randy had died...I was in High School...that night I got a call from my best friend about it but didn't believe him, but then the next day, it was on the news...Brad, Heiko, and I all skipped school and went off and got really drunk and listened to Diary over and was a sad day

I listen to this album a lot and it still holds up well. the unfortunate thing about fading with the solos seems to be a time constraint from back in the days of vinyl records...I wish that they could dig up the tapes and release a version with extended solos!!!!

6:23 AM  
Blogger On My Watch said...

I love this one and still listen to it often. I'm glad I was into this when he was on top and not introduced to Ozzy, so to speak, with that TV show. It is a huge shame that people see him as being a decrepit, old fool.

I know Randy was a great guitarist, but I wonder if he was blown way out of proportion *because* of his death.

7:01 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

I agree that this is Ozzy at his best. And I do not think that Randy's talent was overblown at all.

11:54 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

David-It seems like Ozzy did the fading out on a solo on other of his albums as well.

Ben-I think his first two solo albums, Tribute and No more tears are all great. So those fours plus the first six Sabbath albums makes up a solid list of contributions.

Mike-I may a Ozzy versus Dio discussion coming up in about two weeks and people can discuss who the Godfather of metal is.

Fred- I agree about the re-recording. It's just being cheap, I can't imagine that they need the money so bad they need to rip people off.

Robert-I read an interview with Randy Rhoades during this tour. He talked about how they were rushed by the record company so much that there is one song that does not have a solo. I foeget which one, but he said he recorded the guide track, but there wasn't time to do the solo.

Onmywatch-I think Randy Rhoades was a solid player that may have gotten killed before he hit his real prime. I think you can hear the improvement in his playing from the first Ozzy album to this one which shows he was improving fast.

fuzz-I agree overall.

4:47 PM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

this is the 2nd metal album I heard after Killers, in the same listening session... my cousin-in-law meant business! I'm pulling it out and taking it along today, thanks, Mark!

4:46 AM  

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