Top critical review
A generally unmemorable collection of ok songs
on October 6, 2003
Which is much better than previous Jake E. Lee collaboration, "Bark at the Moon." That album was just dead. Now, for whatever reason, 1986 brings us a slightly better (if much harder to find) album. Not as good as 3 stars, not as bad as 2.
The rock and roll here, though still not comparable to the Randy Rhoads releases, has some feel - "Bark at the Moon" was just numb. Except for the good final track "Shot in the Dark," the other eight songs are of about the same quality. Fortunately, they are just good enough to be distinguishable from one another, and Ozzy helps the situation with good lyrics that are very characteristic of him. At times he tries a little too much to get the notes on pitch, but that's pretty much the norm for him. Yes, Ozzy does about the best he can do with the uninspired playing of Jake E. Lee. If anything, this album gets much of its being - for better or worse - from said guitarist.
Synopsis of Mr. E. Lee: The good thing is that he never tries to emulate Randy, as he would not be able to anyway. So, it's granted that he's got some interesting shoes to try to re-wear.
The flipside of that is that he just has no individual style. He's a run of the mill player who hints at classical stylings on the beginning of "Killer of Giants" but never really takes it anywhere. His soloing is a little better than BATM, for example on the all around decent title track opener. I get the rare detection of feel in his mid-song noodling. It all breaks back to even again, though, on the inexcusable watering down of the "Crazy Train" riff on "Lightning Strikes." To his credit, I wouldn't have been surprised to hear more rip-offs in his playing, but the previously mentioned one is big and obvious. A big blunder. He's not a bad guitar player, but it is ultimately his performances that inhibit the album from producing any solid classics such as the year's cornerstone, Jovi's "Slippery When Wet." Often times, albums get the opposite recognition from what they deserve, but the era of 1986 yielded mostly proper results - after all, glam was peaking, and it would have to be pretty good to still be respected today.
Which leaves us with "Shot in the Dark", the only song Ozzy ever represents this album with, if anything at all. I admit this song's style is very non-Ozzy like, it's a little light for him, and I don't blame him for not performing it all the time. Still, that song has grown on me, and somehow, I really think it's a good song - even Jake's high note-bends that characteristically start it off are - tasteful! It's perhaps a very dated and 80's sounding song, but the groove is strong. I always enjoy hearing this song now, even if it's not the best.
Just another good album that's nowhere near great. The best thing about it is this is the one they decided to package in the awesome green color!... THEN come the songs. It's being hard to find adds to the mystique. Collectors definitely find it, and casual Ozzy fans - it's a tossup.