“The Road Leads to Ozzy”
Thank you, Rockstar Games. An odd way to start a review, but it is about time I throw a thanks out to them. When I got Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and listened to V-Rock, a whole new world opened up to me, besides the music my father introduced me to in the likes of older metal. Ozzy’s Bark at the Moon was featured, and it is one of my favourite songs by him up to this day. So I sat out to explore more of his music among the other bands from the V-Rock station, and after cruising on the internet I stumbled upon the song Hellraiser. So, I went to my local record store (R.I.P.) and shuffled through the available Ozzy albums until I found one with Hellraiser on. Now that was a good decision.
Though it was released in 1991, it has retained the sound of the ’80s through its production, which is a fortunate thing for the album. If it had been released in ’93 I think it would have sounded a lot different. From the start of Mr. Tinkertrain and until the end of Road to Nowhere, or Party with the Animals if you got the remastered version, this album is completed in a perfect way. It definitely is different to his more known works, with the works of Zakk Wylde the sound has gotten a bit more heavy. To be honest, I think Mr. Wylde is an overrated guitarist, but he certainly gets the job done on this album. The sound is just great on this record. The guitars sounds amazing, the bass lies perfect in the mix, and the drums helps elevating this album with its sound and playing of Randy Castillo.
There is a really good balance if you look at the way the album has been structured. Instead of going full throttle there is three slower songs on the album in the likes of Mama, I’m Coming Home, Time After Time and Road to Nowhere. This album would not have been the same without the great lyrics from Lemmy. Mama, I’m Coming Home is just a beautiful track, one Ozzy probably won’t be able to outdo. Anyway, in between these tracks you will find the ass kickers and when you reach a peak, some steam is let off in when you reach the slower songs only to be picked right up again with more kick-ass songs! And that is what really is striking about this album: The balance. It knows when to play the more subtle songs, and when to play the heavy ones. No doubt about it that it has been put together like that well knowing the effect it would have, instead of putting all three slower songs at the end of the album. It is simply a wonderfully paced album.
The first bonus track, Don’t Blame Me is actually quite good and would have fitted well into the track listing on the original release. However, Party with the Animals is rather forgettable, there is a feel of old school rock ‘n’ roll to it but it doesn’t really add anything to the spin. Don’t Blame Me however would be nicely placed somewhere in the middle, as Road to Nowhere is just an excellent song to end the album with. It’s hard to pick out specific tracks for recommendation, because I’d almost say go for any of them. Party with the Animals is the only really weak and lacking track on the album. Mama, I’m Coming Home, Hellraiser, No More Tears, Desire and Don’t Blame Me, is definitely some of the best highlights. But the whole album just sounds great, and that is helped along by its songwriting, production and pacing.
I would describe “No More Tears” as the last masterpiece released by Ozzy. By that I don’t mean that his later albums aren’t worth anything, because there is some gems hidden here and there. But “No More Tears” definitely is his last work of art and could easily be his best album. Maybe that is too much? Not really. No doubt that some of my favourite songs are from the “Blizzard of Ozz” and “Diary of a Madman” albums but when it comes to consistency, this album just perseveres. It is simply amazing and astonishing. It definitely is up there with his earlier works. Don’t miss out on this great listening experience.
R.I.P. Randy Castillo, 1950-2002.