HardReviews 3
by Martin Popoff

OZZY OSBOURNE - Diary Of A Madman Legacy Edition

To clarify, there are three items available within this simultaneous yet modest Oz reissue program. The mother is the 30th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set which includes the first two albums on CD and vinyl, a book, a cross, a poster and a yummy archival DVD. Step down to what the common man can afford, and there's the first album (with two crumbs and one key gem as bonus, namely 'You Looking At Me, Looking At You') and then subject at hand, Diary Of A Madman. OK, so what are the details? Well, what we get is a new remaster, which matters to this (deaf?) listener not a whit - it's still loud and bright and midrangey and overall hard on the ears, this album being one that is best experienced from the original vinyl (and I'm no vinyl snob). The booklet is a three-gate digi, stuffed with lyrics, photos, but no liner essay. So yes, a few words on the original album: most Oz-heads consider this Ozzy's best record, the last for Randy Rhoads and the rest of the classic lineup (yes, that's Lee Kerslake and Bob Daisley, despite the still strangely wrong credit, more odd, given that the song credits are true), the second and more skilled of the classic pair, and yet arguably, not better, or tied with, Bark At The Moon for top slot (I go with Bark). All told, it's marginally heavier and darker than Blizzard Of Ozz, with tracks like 'Over The Mountain' and 'S.A.T.O.' raising the intensity on Oz's tentative step back after almost killing himself with room service pizza. Bonus to this version is an 11 track live set, tantalizingly from the Blizzard Of Ozz tour but just barely, as it includes 'Flying High Again' and 'Believer', which Ozzy says is from the forthcoming album, already named Diary Of A Madman. And what a chunky, rhythmic, forceful 'Believer' this is, with Oz singing his brains out, god bless him. The rest is most of Blizzard plus the closing Sabbath snooze of 'Iron Man', 'Children Of The Grave' and 'Paranoid'. But as live sets go, it's electric, hi-fidelity enough, and the band is on fire, good ol' Oz included, the chemistry between these guys being all Who, Zep and Van Halen power trio spark and fly, led by the band's mercurial guitarist Randy Rhoads, who stokes the engine room of this steamer, a role usually left to the rhythm section.
Rating 9