Review Summary: Unpopular opinion time
This album is better than "Diary of a Madman", and possibly his second best solo album, ever. The "Diary Of A Madman" album was always super uneven to me. Granted this has weird moments too, but for some stupid reason I find "You're No Different" and "So Tired" more listenable than "You Can't Kill Rock & Roll" and "Tonight". Ozzy never quite put out a perfect solo studio album, but I'd certainly rank "Bark At The Moon" as A-tier or near the top. Martin Popoff thinks it is Ozzy best solo record. I wouldn't quite go that far.
An assessment of Ozzy's 1983 situation is in order. Randy is gone, a tragedy no matter what way you look at it. But depending on who you talk to, he was going to be gone at the end of the "Diary of a Madman" tour anyway. If music history has taught us anything, it's that anyone can be replaced successfully. Whether or not Jake E. Lee performed Randy's solos admirably is up for debate, but when it came to writing music, "Bark At The Moon" is definitive proof that he was as capable as anyone. Too bad he never got any credit for it. "Who Are You" is proof that Ozzy is smarter musically than some think he is, but come on.
Ozzy's touring lineup on this record was slightly starting to resemble a team of glam metal misfits. As a result, one might presume that Bark At The Moon would exude a more hair metal direction. You are chronologically correct if you were to describe this as "80's metal," but let me assuage your fear, no one is going to mistake "Center of Eternity" or "Waiting For Darkness" for Ratt or Dokken songs (at least when the vocals kick in anyway).
Speaking of those two songs, they are the highlights of this album. The former reinvents the eerie "Mr. Crowley" atmosphere before erupting into flames of speed metal. Well, "Tyrant/Love Me Like a Reptile" speed anyway, but I'll take it, and you should too. Supporting artists for expanding their artistic pallet is important you know. "Waiting For Darkness" is a black morbid swamp of power metal alternate picking and a rather soulful vocal from the Ozz. Also of note is the Maiden-esque ascending bridge, which features the keyboards a little too accented in the mix. Did Ozzy write this? I think not, but he was certainly smart enough to realize when his ensemble had a good groove going and why interfere with it? Probably his most underrated solo song. Well, maybe not as underrated as the title track. Just curious, have people heard this song? It had a music video back when MTV started and needed content just to fill time, plus it would wind up on multiple video games. Seriously, it did.
Ignore the elitists who say Ozzy was only good with Randy. Do you like metal? You'll like this.