Well, it’s Thursday once again, so that means it must be time for Classic Albums. And if you’re reading this right now, then you realize that unlike the big networks or other websites that take off for the holiday, we here at Amps DO NOT. So a Happy 4th of July to you guys. Grab a cold one, and let’s talk some OZZY, shall we?
I chose No Rest For the Wicked for the simple fact that it is my favorite OZZY album…period. I have nothing against the earlier works, but some of them are just soooo played out, I can’t even take it. This also shows a rejuvenated OZZY having brought in the young Zakk Wylde out of Jackson, NJ to take over a guitar role that had somewhat stagnated the last two records. There is a new lease on life here, and the electricity is tangible on each song.
“Miracle Man” starts us off with that riff…that RIFF!! Then Zakk gives us those pinched harmonics that have become his signature while OZZY gloats about the recent downfall of Jimmy Swaggart who had been going after him for years. Sweet revenge, indeed. This is still one of my top 10 songs in his whole catalogue. The band is charged up and ready to go, and the ride continues with “Devil’s Daughter”. When the song stops for a minute and Zakk lets fly with his guitar, it’s like he infects the rest of them with his unbridled energy and enthusiasm, particularly the late Randy Castillo, who lays down each drum beat and fill like his life depends on it.
Two monster MTV hits follow in “Crazy Babies” and “Breaking All the Rules”. This is another situation where the tempo’s changed a bit, but Zakk’s guitar still has the disposition of a caged animal looking to chomp someone, and that’s how side one ends.
“Bloodbath In Paradise” is about the crimes of Charles Manson and his followers, and opens side two with a bang. “You’re comin’ home, there’s blood on the walls, when Charlie and the family made house calls” is so deliciously evil that it was a favorite right from jump for me, which should surprise none of you. “Fire In the Sky” is a slower song that also resonated with me right away, and I was lucky enough to catch it live at MSG with my good buddy Frankie in 2007.
Randy Castillo is again at the forefront of “Tattooed Dancer” attacking his kit for all its worth, right alongside Zakk’s relentless assault on his axe. The two of them play like men possessed, and the viciousness carries over into the OFFICIAL album closer “Demon Alcohol”, a song that needs no explanation, but certainly warrants abuse of the repeat button. The hidden track “Hero” is interesting because in it, OZZY is advising his fans not to idolize and worship him. He knows he’s a train wreck, and the song is all the more powerful because of that.
At age 15 No Rest For the Wicked was blaring from my Walkman all day and all night. 25 years later, at age 40, it hasn’t lost any of its punch, or its bite. It is a timeless piece of heavy metal history, and a testament to when OZZY was the boogeyman and not the cartoon he turned into for some years, before coming to his senses and putting out great music again.