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Class 6(66)

Ozzy Osbourne: Blizzard of Ozz

17/09/09  ||  Daemonomania

Introduction:

One dark night in 1979, depressed that he had been booted out of Black Sabbath, Ozzy snorted a line of live termites. Upon entering his nasal cavity and crawling into his brain, the termites thought they had it pretty good. Plenty of food, lots of space. What they didn’t count on was a violent tribe of army ants that had been up there since Ozzy snorted them back in 1976. The army ants went of the attack. A short, decisive battle ensued and all of the termites were left broken and mutilated. The ants marched away victorious, but little did they know the woodmunchers had one last surprise in store! They’d rigged a chunk of gray matter to fall and spill a pile of deadly cocaine (that of course is lodged in Ozzy’s cranium in great quantities) right onto the columns of Marabunta. They writhed in pain and devoured each other in a frenzy of motormouthed mania.

The point of that story? That Ozzy, his brain mostly wiped out from arthropod Armageddon, decided to abandon metal and go with hard rock for his next project, featuring members of Uriah Heep and Quiet Riot.

Songwriting:

7. Good tunes throughout, though the 50 second instrumental is pretty unnecessary and the last two tracks drag a bit. “Goodbye to romance” is like a follow-up to Sabbath’s “Changes”. Darn cheesy but I like it. And it would give birth to the necessary one ballad on our album formula for the rest of the decade. Plus, if you haven’t heard “Crazy train” or “Mr. Crowley” at some point…what can I say. Nothing. There is nothing I can say. I would say I’m speechless, but I’m writing so that doesn’t really make sense. Each song does a good job of throwing in a section you didn’t see coming – nothing sticks in straight ahead rock mode. It would be remiss of me to forget the “Clockwork Orange”-esque keyboard intro to “Crowley” – fucken stupendous.

Production:

8. I got a digitally remastered version, but was quite careful not to pick up the INFAMOUS remaster that replaces the original drum and bass tracks to slight those bandmembers out of royalties. See, Dave Death will tell you all about it better than I can. But basically Daisley and Kerslake sued to win songwriting credits on “Blizzard”, and the Ozzy camp retaliated by removing them from the 2002 reissue. And replacing them with members from his current lineup. Fucked up, right? Be careful because I think the version on iTunes is the Sharon-musician-assrape special. Anyway, that’s not the one I have and the production is crystal clear.

Guitars:

8. The legendary Mr. Rhoads lays it the fuck down all over the place, in a very Van Halenish manner. At least to my ears. He busts out about 12 solos in “Mr. Crowley”, his first riff in “Crazy Train” shall be remembered for eternity, and the pointless instrumental “Dee” is quite slick as well. 80’s hard rock owes this man a great debt.

Vocals:

6.5. I don’t think anyone would argue that Ozzy has one of the best voices in heavy metal. In fact, most would probably argue the opposite. But back when semi-intelligible things still used to come out of his mouth, the madman could, ummm, well not “hit the notes” or, uh, “sing well”… Okay. Let me put it this way. Who else would you have singing “Crazy Train”? Who could be _crazzy_er? As nasally and wavery as his vocals were, you can’t say he can be successfully emulated. And that’s probably a good thing.

Drums:

6. Competent, but my life remains unchanged. Dude does bust it out from time to time and I notice the fills only because most of what he does is just keep the beat. I listened to Psycroptic / I listened to Death / I’ve heard too much double bass / and done too much meth!

Bass:

6. Good but again unspectacular. I mean Ozzy went from Geezer to this? No particular bass part really stands out for me except the sweet sweet intro to “Crazy Train”. And why does it have to be a crazy train? Why not a crazy boat, or hovercraft?

Lyrics:

8. Was gonna go with a six or maybe even a five, as most of it is pretty dumb. Some points for writing about the nuttiest occult midget-fucker ever, some points for making a kid kill himself (“Suicide solution”), and minus a bunch for the rest. But then I realized the majesty of “No bone movies”. Ha ha ha, still laughing every time I hear it – just like Spinal Tap’s “Big bottom” this song never ceases to be funny. What’s it all about? Here’s a sample:

Voyeur straining in love with his hand
A poison passion, a pulsating gland

Yeeeeaaaa boyyyeeeeee!

Cover art:

8. Ozzy is totally up to some evil shit here, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what. And though it looks sunny outside, shouldn’t he be preparing for the imminent blizzard the album title suggests?

Logo:

6. It was 1980, and I’m sure this logo was being scratched at pen-knife point into a million high-school desks. Damn stupid kids, go watch yer frickin’ bone movies!

Booklet:

7. Good looking booklet comes with the remaster. A little irrelevant note from the bat-biter about how he he likes this album and it is one of the few memories left in his brain. Then there’s Ozzy in the tub with a cigar and some champagne. Don’t worry, the bath is bubbled tastefully to spare us all from the lizzard of Ozz. And the lyrics. No complaints.

Overall and ending rant

This is the Ozzman’s highest selling album, a fact that I’m sure is causing Sharon to rub her hands in glee and Daisley and Kerslake to wring out rags soaked with tears. Is it consistently good? No. There are some truly timeless tracks on here though, and the influence “Blizzard” had on the following ten years cannot be overlooked. If you’re used to brutal shit, or even the slow brooding intensity of Sabbath, this will seem pretty weak. On the other hand, if you’re searching for a rocking good time Ozzy and the insects in his cerebellum will hook you up.

7

  • Information
  • Released: 1980
  • Label: Epic
  • Website: www.ozzy.com
  • Band
  • The Ozzman: vocals, bass
  • Randy Rhoads: guitars
  • Bob Daisley: bass, gong, backing vocals
  • Lee Kerslake: drums, percussion
  • Tracklist
  • 01. I Don’t Know
  • 02. Crazy Train
  • 03. Goodbye to Romance
  • 04. Dee
  • 05. Suicide Solution
  • 06. Mr. Crowley
  • 07. No Bone Movies
  • 08. Revelation (Mother Earth)
  • 09. Steal Away (The Night)