Diary of a Madman

Ozzy Osbourne

Review score: 78%

Review Date: July 2013
Reviewer: Paul Jack
Source: Rock Hard Reviews
(www.rockhardreviews.com)

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Hot on the heels of the stonkingly good Blizzard of Oz, 1981 saw the release of Ozzy’s second album Diary of a Madman. The late, great Randy Rhoads features heavily on this album too, bringing his own brand of classical guitar / heavy metal excellence to the mix. Half a year later, Rhoads died in a tragic plane crash, and is sorely missed. Diary of a Madman was the last studio album he worked on, and is essential listening for any Ozzy fan.

There’s been more than one re-release of Diary of a Madman, and some feature remixed tracks with drum and bass redone. I first encountered the original release of this classic Ozzy album w-a-y too many years ago and it’s that version I hear in my head when I’m writing this review. If you care about these things (I do) then pay attention to which version you listen to or purchase. (Cough, mutter, glad I avoided 2002 release, splutter, expletive deleted.)

That said, Diary of a madman was a brilliant album. We get some great songs here:

Over the Mountain

Yey, a proper rock / metal song. The album opens with rolling drums, and with Ozzy driving in top gear Over the Mountain and speeding along at headlong pace with an awesome track. Quirky lyrics, pulsing bass, tight drumming. Randy Rhoads delivers an amazingly complex guitar solo in Over the Mountain, which goes to show you how talented the guy was. Such a tragic loss to the world when he passed so young. A great song, and one you should playlist right now. Go on! If you like this then you’ll dig the album.

Flying High Again

Sounds like it belongs on Blizzard of Ozz, being reminiscent of Crazy Train. Funny, catchy Ozzy lyrics and a cheery melody that floats along, lifting your spirits. A tune that can stick in your head all day. One helluva great guitar solo from the Talented Mr Rhoads there. Of coruse, Flying High Again features a subject matter likely to annoy some of the people Ozzy is speaking to in the next track...

You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll

Anthemic, emotional, and beautiful. Arguably the best track on the album, You can’t Kill Rock and Roll is Ozzy’s message to all the naysayers, hypocrites and whingers out there. ‘Leave me alone’! Ozzy’s high pitched vocals fit perfectly with the message here.

Believer

Deeper and darker with a cool bass line. You’ll sink into the tune of Believer and let Ozzy’s lyrics waft through you given half a chance. Believer is a good metal track and a favourite from live performances.

Diary of a Madman

Musical perfection. Randy Rhoads shows off his chops here, taking the guitar sound all the way up to twelve. There’s an edgy feel to the title track, kicking off from the whirling, twirling guitar intro, and with Ozzy’s pitch perfect, c-r-a-z-y- portrayal of the troubled protagonist through scary lyrics punctuated with periodic blasts of high energy guitar. Great melody, great track, highly recommended listening to rock fans everywhere.

Conclusion

Diary of a Madman is a killer album (geddit?). Purists will tell you to get the 1995 release if you can, but whatever you metal fans do, don’t miss out on the slice of rock history that is Diary of a Madman. It’s an important slice of the Ozzy legend and there are some great tracks here.

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Original Track List (Some later reissues contain extra live Ozzy tracks and Sabbath covers)

  • Over the Mountain
  • Flying High Again
  • You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll
  • Believer
  • Little Dolls
  • Tonight
  • S.A.T.O.
  • Diary of a Madman