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51aID2kKlL. AA115 The second solo album from OZZY OSBOURNE is often cited as being the personal favorite of The Prince of Darkness himself, and its easy to see why.  It’s a great album.

Currently celebrating it’s 30th Anniversary,  DIARY OF A MADMAN was released just a year after BLIZZARD OF OZZ but feels drastically more polished than it’s predecessor. While BLIZZARD was the album to launch Ozzy’s post-Black Sabbath career, the total package of music and imagery was not fully achieved. On DIARY listeners got to see and hear what the name ‘OZZY’ would conjour images of throughout the metal decade.

At only eight songs the album seems short (it was completed quickly in a pre-tour rush), but the overall concept gels for the first time. The production is bigger; the mood darker; and the songs tighter. While some of the treble-heavy charm of BLIZZARD remains – most notably in the guitar tone of RANDY RHOADS – musical exploration grows with heavy atmosphere on Believer and the title track.

For the newly-released LEGACY EDITION of DIARY, the album is restored from the original source tapes (like the ’11 Blizzard fixing the error in judgement caused by the 2002 reissue’s replacement of original performances) and rocking just as hard as always. The real gem here is the inclusion of an 11-track OZZY LIVE disc recorded during the Blizzard of Ozz tour. Previously-unreleased, the live set captures an energy lacking on early Ozzy studio recordings. The production quality is also top-notch, making the collection worthy of a stand-alone live album. Comprised of songs from the first two solo albums alongside three classics from the Black Sabbath catalog, it’s a live album well-worth cranking.

The Bottom Line: DIARY OF A MADMAN gave us Over the Mountain and Flying High Again, but it was also true in telling the world that You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll.

Rating – ORIGINAL ALBUM: 4.5/5 | REISSUE: 5/5

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