Ozzy Osbourne Blizzard of Ozz / Diary of a Madman

Ozzy Osbourne Blizzard of Ozz / Diary of a Madman
While the Ozzman has delivered increasingly diminishing returns over the past decade, there once was a time when the self-proclaimed Prince of Darkness was actually a provocative, entertaining musician. Reiterating that brief era, these revised (yet again) versions of his first and second solitary ventures celebrate the magic and mystique of a young, hungry man looking to escape the shadow of his former band. Naturally, both albums benefit from remastering, which really only highlight the initial mixing's limitations, and varying degrees of extras. Inaugural affair Blizzard of Ozz features an expanded booklet with photos, lyrics and three throwaway extra tracks ("You Looking At Me, Looking At You," a guitar-only version of "Goodbye To Romance" and some Randy Rhode studio outtake). Honestly, it does little to justify buying an album any self-respecting Ozzy fan already has on multiple formats. Diary of A Madman fares modestly better: a double-CD of the studio album and live set from the Blizzard of Ozz tour (which should have been paired with its respective album, no?), digi-pak and colour booklet. Either way, while we all know these "re-imaginings" of successful albums are a way to boost slumping sales, they do force us to realize just how great and sorely overlooked Ozz's early years truly were. While somewhat dated due to goofy synthesizers and whatnot, the meat of classic tunes such as "Flying High Again," "Tonight," "Crazy Train," "Suicide Solution" and more ensure that even with his stupidity and bad musical choices of late, these cuts keep this metallion's stamp eternally emblazoned on the history of heavy music. (Epic)