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.