There are few artists that have come about that can make parents cringe at just the mention of their name. Ozzy Osbourne, after his departure from the metal gods Black Sabbath, wandered for a year looking for exceptional musicians to work with and make a solo album. Ozzy had met the then unknown Randy Rhoads, a local guitarist that was in the band Quiet Riot, who had released a few albums in Japan, and were rather popular there. Ozzy had chosen him only after tuning up and playing some riffs and scales. From then, metal history was made. Blizzard of Ozz
is Ozzy Osbourne's debut solo album, and remains a favorite of the metal community to this day, spawning popular songs like "Crazy Train" and "Mr. Crowley," that even people who don't listen to metal or Ozzy's music could recognize after a few measures.
The sound on Blizzard of Ozz
is mainly based around Ozzy's rather nasal voice, and Randy Rhoads' scooped-out guitar tone. The bass sound usually seems rather hollow, and the drums provide solid beats without too much flair, and seem to be rather danceable (i.e. "Crazy Train"'s drum beat during the verses). Randy also provides a lot of classical influence, especially in his solos. Although there have been some guitarists to hint at classical in the past, Randy was fixated on classical playing. The solos and fills add great amounts of melody to the songs. A great example of his classical playing is the solo acoustic perfomance "Dee", and fantastic ballad "Goodbye to Romance".
Throughout the album, though, Ozzy also hints at themes that were ever-present on Black Sabbath albums. "Suicide Solutions" is a warning of how alcoholism can ruin your life, and can even be a method of suicide. There is a part that people have claimed as subliminal, where it sounds as if he's saying "shoot" or "do it," but it was ruled out of court as a combination of sounds that formed to make those sounds. (On the Ozzy Osbourne Behind the Music
, though, he claims that it was just him joking around in the studio, obviously stoned). The song itself is vicious in its approach, with a very simple drum beat. It contains no real solo, though. There is also the song "Mr. Crowley," which hints at themes of Aleister Crowley, famed satanist and developer of the tarot cards (Correct me if I'm wrong about that). The song also starts off with a very memorable, yet haunting organ part, and contains several mind blowing solos. It is one of the highlights of the album.
Blizzard of Ozz
, though, isn't a perfect album at all. Ozzy's voice is extremely nasal at some points, and on "Crazy Train," it sounds as if there's a roomful of lambs bleating out constantly. The guitar tone, also, can sometimes be annoying. "No Bone Movies" is an absolutely dreadful song, whether it is about pornography or horrible horror movies. The guitar playing is absolutely boring, with cliched pseudo-blues riffs, and a horrible slide solo. Over all of that, Ozzy does his "lamb bleating" thing, and it is extremely annoying. "Steal Away (The Night)" is another bad song, although I can't really put my finger on it. To me, it sounds like a ripoff of Van Halen's "Running With the Devil," and the song just sounds too "poppy" and out of place on the album.
Overall, this is a rather good metal album. It is a milestone of the 80s, and kickstarted the 80s with a bang. It contains some of Ozzy's best songs, and some of Randy's best guitar work. It isn't without it's flaws, though, and that's why I have to give it four stars instead of a higher rating.