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Ozzy Osbourne ‘Diary of a Madman / Blizzard of Ozz’ 30th Anniversary Box Set – Album Review

Ozzy Osbourne 'Blizzard / Diary' Box Set
Sony Music

Ozzy Osbourne fans, rejoice! The newly remastered and tricked out 30th anniversary box set featuring his first two solo albums, ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ and ‘Diary of a Madman,’ is a worthy tribute to the work Ozzy did in his brief time with legendary guitarist Randy Rhoads.

It’s hard to mess up such classic albums, but Ozzy’s team did just that back in 2002, responding to a lawsuit from former band members who played on the records by replacing their parts with new additions from different musicians.

Ozzy has recently said that he wasn’t involved with, and doesn’t support, this change, which has thankfully been reversed. So now everything’s back as it was, plus, sounding as good as modern technology allows.

Oh, and that’s only the beginning. A previously unreleased live show from the ‘Blizzard’ tour is featured on disc two of the ‘Madman’ reissue, showing off a rawer sound than the previously released ‘Tribute’ set from the same era. The guitar work and compositional skills of the late, great Rhoads are even more spectacularly impressive in this setting than they are in a recording studio.

There’s much more Randy to be had in the DVD that accompanies the full box set. (You can buy each album separately, or spring for the box set, which includes the DVD, a book, and a replica of Ozzy’s trademark cross necklace.) The main program of the DVD features Ozzy listening through isolated tracks of Rhoads from the sessions for these albums, alternately marveling at and reminiscing about his lost friend.

Latter-day Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde also weighs in throughout the DVD, demonstrating what’s so technically and structurally magical about this music. All of this is interspersed with a loose narrative about Osbourne’s rapid rise from post-Sabbath depression to the top realm of rock stardom.

Most importantly, it looks like Ozzy included every bit of live footage he could find from this era.  The sound and video vary wildly in quality and largely features the same few songs over and over. Sometimes, the footage also cuts off mid-performance, but it doesn’t matter a bit; you’re just glad they didn’t leave anything out.

So, yeah, this box set is wonderful. Listening to and watching it, you’ll remember that despite all his antics and past reality show nonsense, Ozzy is a musician first and foremost, and a damn great one.

Watch the Trailer for Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Blizzard of Ozz / Diary of a Madmen’ Box Set

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