Rocktober Day 22: Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Oz

 

The Prince Of Darkness. The Godfather of Heavy Metal. Reality TV star. Ozzy Osbourne has worn many hats in his 40+ year career, including the one of he who bites the heads off of bats, birds and possibly little children. In his early days Osbourne was the fearsome metal madman that gave voice to classics like “Iron Man”, “War Pigs” and the drugged out celebration of LSD by way of HELL that is of “Faeries Wear Boots”. That Ozzy kicked all kinds of ass, and his legacy from that time period is nigh untouchable. The same might not be said for his later years though.


In hindsight, and in the afterglow of the world getting to know Ozzy Osbourne, family man in the early 2000’s, it would seem once the Oz-ster hit the late 70’s early 80’s that he was looking at long slow decline in his stock in evil (listed as EVL on the NASDAQ for all you day-traders out there) in favor of the more commercially acceptable icon that we know, and love, today. That having been said, in 1980, Blizzard of Oz  was hands down the scariest album on the planet.

One look at the album cover and you think “SATAN”. OK maybe you think “Cheesy, overly dramatic, omg-the-eighties-mus-thave-really-sucked Satan, but he’s still up in there. There’s a human skull with ANTLERS in there people. None. More. Evil. And the record in large part delivered on it’s Beelzebub-ian promise and then some.

“Crazy Train”. “Suicide Solution”. “Mr. Crowly”. All certified hits. All certified classics of modern metal. Had the album been ALL about those songs, then we wouldn’t be talking about it here today. Sadly though, as heavy as those songs are, Blizzard of Ozz, was tainted with that weird 80’s sense of what is cool versus what was actually cool that drags the record down into our list of best worst albums of all time...ever.

On songs like “Goodbye to Romance” and “Dee” the Ozzman got soft, and if there’s one thing you didn’t do in metal (before the 80’s that is) was get soft. The word “romance” in a metal song? GTFO of here with that shit. And while it’s clear that the latter was nothing more than a showcase (and a necessary one really) for legendary guitarist Randy Rhodes, does that really belong on a metal album? HELL NO IT DOESN’T. That type of sensitive guitar virtuoso BS belongs live, onstage, sandwiched between a 40 minute drum solo and your front man biting the head off of a small child.

So Blizzard of Ozz isn’t perfect. Not by a long shot. It is the  first of it’s kind though. In making, what is essentially the first widely accepted pop-metal album, Osbourne kicked the door open for an entire generation of aspiring metal heads to gain widespread commercial approval on the airwaves. That’s no small feat and if there’s anything Osbourne and his music should be celebrated for, it’s that. And while Blizzard may not have aged gracefully, there’s enough “hail Satan” left in the tank to make it an epically good intentioned record that we can all rock out to 30 years after the fact.

 

 

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