Kirk Hammett of Metallica makes his solo debut with Portals, a four-song instrumental EP to be released April 23, 2022 via Blackened Recordings across digital platforms, on CD, and as a Record Store Day Exclusive Ocean Blue Vinyl EP (including a download card).
Celebrating Darrell Lance Abbott (August 20, 1966 – December 8, 2004), also known as Dimebag Darrell, an American guitarist from Arlington, TX. He co-founded the heavy metal bands Pantera and Damageplan.
Welcome to a new weekly post that I will call Metal Mondays, where I will rank the albums of a certain artist in the metal and hard rock genre from worst to best. As I am a list and ranking person, I am unable to have a simple discussion on what a band’s good albums are, as well as their not-so-good ones. I must rank them in some sort of order, or I will not be able to participate! This also makes for a fun debate, don’t you think?
NOTE: I will rank full length STUDIO ALBUMS only. There will be no live records, greatest hits, or EP’s here.
This week we will talk about the legendary Ozzy Osbourne, the Prince of Darkness. Ol’ Oz has been doing this for nearly fifty years, first as the lead singer of heavy metal trendsetter Black Sabbath, and then his own solo career. Of course, who can forget his TV show? Ozzy has enjoyed a few stints in Sabbath, and the band has taken part in a successful farewell tour, leaving Osbourne to his own band. It is Ozzy’s solo albums that we will rank this week.
Featuring Robert Trujillo and Mike Bordin, this album mostly misses the mark. It has nothing to do with the musicians, rather, the songs themselves. While Zakk Wylde plays guitar on the record, he does not take part in any of the songwriting. For this matter, Ozzy collaborated on the outside and the result is the #11 ranked album in Osbourne’s catalog.
Best Song: Facing Hell
Best Deep Cut: Facing Hell
Firewind guitarist Gus G. and drummer extraordinaire Tommy Clufetos debut on this record. Not much else to write about.
Best Song: Let it Die
Best Deep Cut: Let it Die
Another rather weak effort here, as well. After lead single, I Don’t Wanna Stop, the album provides few memorable moments. Closer, Trap Door ends things on a somewhat positive note, however.
Best Song: I Don’t Wanna Stop
Best Deep Cut: Trap Door
This one had Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler pounding the four string. Not a bad effort, but not the first Ozzy album I would put on, either. I do enjoy lead single, Perry Mason, as well as the ballad, See You on the Other Side. The album’s highlight for me is, I Just Want You.
Best Song: I Just Want You
Best Deep Cut: I Just Want You
A poppy affair, this album has some decent moments, however, not enough to push it higher into the countdown. The title track, Never Know Why, Killer of Giants, and Fool Like You are pleasurable listens. That said, the highlight is the one smash single which closes out the record, Shot in the Dark.
Best Song: Shot in the Dark
Best Deep Cut: Never Know Why
I’ve got to hand it to Ozzy. I didn’t think he had it in him at this point in his career. I truly enjoy this album, despite my standoffish expectations. Lead single, Under the Graveyard is the one song most folks will be familiar with, and the number is quite catchy. This is not the highlight, however. Straight to Hell, All My Life, Eat Me, and Scary Little Green Men are all worthy of a spin or two. For me, the record’s shining moment is on, Goodbye, a tune that starts with a plodding tempo, before moments of an all-out assault that reminds this reviewer of 80’s thrash.
Other surprises on Ordinary Man are the collaborations, first with Sir Elton John on the title cut, and later with Post Malone to close out the record with, It’s A Raid and Take What You Want.
Best Song: Goodbye
Best Deep Cut: Goodbye
This album features the debut of guitarist Jake E. Lee, in the unenviable situation of replacing the iconic Randy Rhoads, who was killed in a plane crash. Lee carries himself better than admirably, proving himself a talented guitarist in his own right, as well as a competent songwriter. The record, while notches below the first two, is a solid effort from Ozzy, nonetheless. In addition to the smash title cut, the album contains underrated deep cuts, You’re No Different, Centre of Eternity, Slow Down, and Waiting for Darkness.
Best Song: Bark at the Moon
Best Deep Cut: Waiting for Darkness
A huge record, upon which Ozzy toured on as part of his first farewell tour, No More Tears featured a polished sound and significant contributions from Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister. A brilliant bass guitar line drives the smash title cut, while ballads, Mama, I’m Coming Home, The Road to Nowhere, and Time After Time give the album plenty of MTV and radio hits. Give a listen to deep cuts, I Don’t Want to Change the World and Desire.
Best Song: No More Tears
Best Deep Cut: I Don’t Want to Change the World
The introduction of 21-year-old Zakk Wylde as the new guitarist, this album doesn’t receive a ton of accolades, but is as underrated of an Ozzy record as there is. With MTV hits, Miracle Man, and Crazy Babies, leading the way, the record sold more than 2 million copies in the US alone. Give a spin to single, Breakin’ all the Rules, as well as deep cuts, Devil’s Daughter (Holy War), Bloodbath in Paradise, and Fire in the Sky.
Best Song: Fire in the Sky
Best Deep Cut: Fire in the Sky
Ozzy’s first solo record also unleashed guitar wizard Randy Rhodes, formerly of Quiet Riot fame. An incredible album, Blizzard features major hits, Crazy Train, I Don’t Know, Mr. Crowley, Suicide Solution, and Goodbye to Romance. Quite a way to stick it to your estranged former bandmates in Black Sabbath! That said, Sabbath were doing their own great things around this time. Give the haunting Revelation (Mother Earth) a try.
Best Song: Mr. Crowley
Best Deep Cut: Revelation (Mother Earth)
While most would flip this album with Blizzard of Ozz, I tend to disagree. Nothing against the debut, however, I find the follow up to be a more cohesive, if less commercially successful collection of songs. The first half is brilliant, with Over the Mountain, Flying High Again, You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll, and Believer. Meanwhile the album closes with the more than solid trio of, Tonight, S.A.T.O., and the epic title cut.