England-born metal musician Ozzy Osbourne is most known for his gold strike with the creation of his band Black Sabbath during the late 60's. What is less known but still quite popular perhaps is Osbourne's solo career. Among his discography are albums such as Blizzard of Ozz (most well known for the singles 'Crazy Train' and 'Mr. Crowley') and Diary of a Madman, both released in the 80's. Osbourne's solo career is still continuing, his latest release being in 2010. Although he has a large collection of albums spanning over four decades, his most critically acclaimed period was during the aforementioned 1980's. While Osbourne left Black Sabbath in the late 70's, people started to get more bored with Osbournes music, or at least less interested than when albums like Blizzard of Ozz were popular. Then came the era of grunge and pop punk, and Osbourne produced still more albums. Among these and one of the earlier ones was the 1991 release of No More Tears. The album was met with positive applause, reaching the "Top 200" Billboard at number 7. The album did remarkably well, and Osbourne had definitely achieved what was perhaps his best hit in the 90's.
Osbourne brings back to the table the classic sound of Sabbath that was loved by metal-heads who adored the style that the band had before Dio took over. The album is overall much more different from what Ozzy unsuccessfully tried to do before he left the band. While Never Say Die and Technical Ecstasy where very centered around a AC/DC-esque pop hard rock angle, No More Tears brings in ripping chords and meaty bass. The album comes in at a decent note, with the track 'Mr. Tinkertrain', although the song has a little too much synth-y floating in it for my tastes. Not that in general is a bad, but too much of it without a good balance of normal metal offsets it too much for me. The album does quickly regain footing and with a roar with my personal favorite track titled 'I Don't Want To Change The World". Living up to its title, the song resembles very traditional Sabbath that I loved so much about albums like Master of Reality and Vol. 4.
In the album there also lies a few ballads. 'Time After Time' and 'Mama, I'm Coming Home' are among the most prominent of the eleven total tracks. The latter comes directly after 'I Don't Want to Change The World', so it sort of offsets what the song achieved. Although the song is much more based in a poppy major key, it's decent. Arena rock is very present, sort of Bon Jovi like. I give it a pass though because it's Ozzy and not Jovi. 'S.I.N.' sounds very reminiscent of Paranoid era Sabbath, with a great composition and awesome fluidity of chords and riffing. Then there are the obligatory slammers that are meant to be, well, slamming you with their pure metallic power. These would be 'Desire' and 'Hellraiser', with very heavy, trudging notes with Ozzy vocal effects thrown in and some periods (Laughing being the most heard). The final track that particularly stands out is the title track. Coming in at an unusual 7:24, this epic is very experimental in the way of Ozzys music. The song mixes interesting compositions of things that range from flat out riffing to interesting effect segments that makes the track seem oddly progressive. The song mixes in radio speech and Supertramp like piano in one segment, with some very 70's-ish synth thrown in. It does give some Ozzy zest though with pounding drums from Castillo and of course the funky bass line that opened it. It is a really enjoyable song, especially when the echoing and, of course, Ozzys fantastic vocals.
Ozzy Osbournes blast into the 90's was explosive, pounding, and extremely enjoyable. Most definitely my favorite from the mans personal discography, and it will most certainly live in my heart as a metal highlight of the 90's and perhaps of traditional metal in general. I suggest that anyone who hasn't listened to it immediately, especially if you crave more Ozzy - era Sabbath material.