Review Summary: Ozzy's debut into the glam metal world proves to be suprisingly strong thanks to several key tracks.
The album released at the height of the 1980's "hair-metal" faishon, at a time where many bands began to follow suit in the current trend. Unfortuantely, Ozzy would be one of them. This album would be Jake E. Lee's second with the band, and it would also be his last, leaving shortly after the album's release. The Ultimate Sin had a fair amount of hype to it, seeing as how Ozzy had not released a solo album since 1983's Bark At The Moon, the question is, did it live up to the hype?
Many fans will tell you no, in fact, many fans also believe this is Ozzy's worst album. Even Ozzy himself appears to not like this album! While it may have some weaker, stereotypical hair metal songs, some of the genious that is Ozzy Osbourne continues to shine through on some songs, making this a fairly good and somewhat underrated album.
1. The Ultimate Sin
Beginning with a solid drum intro, this was a quite heavy song by Ozzy at that time. It has a fairly solid hook to it, with a good riff and some excellent melodies by Ozzy. With the traditional bass thumping, this is really more like a 80s influenced Ozzy song, rather than a hair metal Ozzy song. Although nothing is standing out to make this a great song, there is nothing bad about either.
2. Secret Loser
In my opinion, this is one of the best tracks on the entire album. With a very catchy guitar riff and being one of the faster songs on the album, it seems meant to be a classic. With the striking chords of the verse bringing in a very strong atmosphere to Ozzy's emotional vocals, and leading into the great melody of the chorus, this is a very complete song. Every part of this song stands out in a very positive way, from the very intense and heart-pounding bridge, which leads into a very chilling octave-chord lead by Jake E. Lee, it makes a great set up for a fast paced guitar solo, with a great lick at the end to lead things back into the chorus. The final verse brings the pace back down, only to explode back into the chorus which eventually fades out. A great song, in my opinion one of the most underrated Ozzy songs ever.
3. Never Know Why
Now this song could be considered one of the hair metal Ozzy songs, but yet it is extremely catchy, and actually somewhat fresh. Once again with the traditional bass line, providing a great complete to the intro riff. Ozzy's melodies in this song are very catchy and really bring attention to the song, with what appears to be a chorus made for crowd singing at concerts. My favorite part of the song is probably the opening notes of Jake E. Lee's outro solo, fitting the song in a flawless manner. A fun rock n' roll song which really seems to bring about the great mood of the 1980s.
4. Thank God For The Bomb
Another upbeat rock n' roll song by Ozzy, and featuring another intro riff with a slight effect added to it for some extra catchyness. This song however, with a definite theme to it, about the cold war and the nuclear bombs. It appears to be a clashing lyrical theme and music style until you reach the chorus, which has a very unpredictable feel, like the feeling during the Cold War of uncertainty. In my opinion, the song does a good job telling how some see war as "just another game", and then brings the song to a more serious mood as the realization of war comes true. Solid effort in my opinion.
While I do enjoy the intro riff and the verse riff, the rest of the song just doesn't seem to do much for me. At first it appears to be another good rock song, but I feel like the chorus maybe displays too much 80s for me, or it could just be that the song may be weaker in general. Now that doesn't mean it is a bad song, as it still has its good vocals by Ozzy and some interesting drum beats in the verse at times, it has some good moments. But sometimes I feel as if the song may be too generic at times.
6. Lightning Strikes
Now this song is clearly a hair metal Ozzy Osbourne song. The intro riff may be slightly reminiscent of Crazy Train, the rest of the song feels far too reminiscent of KISS! I have a hard time finding many good qualities about this song, as it is easily the weakest on the album. The biggest highlight is definitely another solid Jake E. Lee solo, one department which he never fails in.
7. Killer Of Giants
Now this is where the album starts to get good again. This very serious and moody song about the cold war, has in my opinion some strong lyrics, such as "If none of us believe in war, then can you tell me what the weapon's for?". With a very strong clean guitar intro, it turns into a nice fingerpicked piece with the verse, which leads into one of the pre-choruses Ozzy has ever written. Very chilling and can really put a realization on some of the topics in the song. The chorus once again proving the song's strength, in lyrics. In my opinion, this song also contains one of Jake E. Lee's best solos ever, too. Fitting the song perfectly, every bit of it flows well with no unnecessary speed runs, and a great arpeggio ending to the solo. This leads into the quickests part of the song with a very upbeat feeling to it, and turning right around into the chorus, bringing this epic-like song to a thrilling close.
8. Fool Like You
Yet another strong song, this one much darker than the earlier rock-ish songs on the album. Solid intro and a great cohesive effort by the band altogether. The verse does an excellent job of building up momentum throughout the song, assisting the serious mood of the song with some excellent melodies from the timeless Ozzy. But what is the highlight of the song and the most climatic part is the outro, with a repetition of the verse and another excellent guitar solo from Jake E. Lee, which helps bring the song to a perfect close.
9. Shot In The Dark
In my opinion, easily the best song on the album, with the most complete band effort on the entire record. With what could be considered to be Ozzy's greatest vocal performance ever, this was a solid pick to be the single off the album. A very mellow song, from the chilling verse, with some excellent melodies brought forward by Ozzy. The pre-chorus does an excellent job of leading into the anthematic chorus, all helped by a brilliant peformance from Ozzy. This song in my opinion culminates all of the ideas in the album, and draws them all to a close. With an amazing performance by Ozzy, I don't see how one can dislike this track!
Unfortuantely, very songs were played off of this album in future tours, the only one being Shot In The Dark. However, Ozzy even eventually dropped this song from his setlists, leaving a solid album, The Ultimate Sin, unrepresented at his concerts.
But all in all, this is a underrated album, while not the best though. I reccomend that any fan of Bark At The Moon with tolerance for 80s hair metal pick this album up.
The Ultimate Sin (1986) - Ozzy Osbourne's 4th solo album
Ozzy Osbourne (vocals)
Jake E. Lee (guitar)
Phil Soussan (bass)
Randy Castillo (drums)