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Ozzy Osbourne

Prince of Darkness Box Set

Review by Patrick Hennen

I'm here today to let you know about the new 4-disc box set by Ozzy Osbourne, entitled, appropriately, "Prince Of Darkness". Well, first and foremost, I would like to state that I believe this to be a much better put together set than the last release done by Mr. Osbourne, "The Essential Ozzy Osbourne". Now don't get me wrong, I like a greatest hits disc as much as the next guy, but after purchasing "The Essential Ozzy", the first thing I noticed was that there was not one track from "The Ultimate Sin" on it. The second thing was that the only representative from Tribute was "Paranoid". This set I feel tries to right what I thought were wrongs done on the last disc.

This box set is arranged in an interesting fashion as well: Disc 1 contains early tracks from the Randy Rhodes era, as well as some tracks from the "Bark At The Moon" disc. Once we get into Disc 2 we now have mostly previously unreleased versions of some of the later songs, demos and live versions of others. Disc 3 consists of collaborations that Mr. Osbourne has done with other bands/singers/muppets etc. Disc 4 is the most intriguing of the entire set. This is Ozzy doing covers of some of his favorite songs. This disc will actually be released by itself at a later date with 3 more tracks added that are not on the box set.

The rest of the packaging of this set is well worth mentioning. There is a large book that is stuffed with old pictures, new pictures, handwritten notes, and even a major diss on Ronnie James Dio in it. A DVD also comes included, with a video sampler. This DVD has videos of "Crazy Train," "Crazy Babies", "No More Tears", "Perry Mason", and "Gets Me Through". And last, but certainly not least, enclosed is a coupon for you to buy one Ozzfest 2005 lawn ticket, get one free. There is a trick to this, you can only do this online. And the only way that you can gain access to the site to get the actual credit for the free ticket is if you insert one of the four discs from the box set into your computer - neat huh?

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 3 at

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
I Don't Know - Live
Ah, the live version of the first track on his debut killer "Blizzard Of Ozz" - what is there not to like about this track? It has raw lyrics, Randy Rhodes' guitar and all the feeling of live performance, which is where Ozzy truly shines. 
Mr. Crowley
One of my personal all-time favorite tracks, the lyrics are dark, occultish, post Black Sabbath. Combine this with Randy's blistering guitar, and you have a complete masterpiece.
Crazy Train
Has anyone not heard this song? Does anyone who knows anything about metal not immediately identified this song to Ozzy? If you answer yes to either of these questions, check into your nearest hospital and request your lobotomy now.
Goodbye To Romance - Live
One of the lesser played tracks from "Blizzard…", this is a beautiful guitar arrangement with strong vocal sentiment. It proves the madman truly does have a soft side.
Suicide Solution - Live:
I have to admit that this was never one of my favorites until I heard this live version, including Randy's guitar solo. This track shows how truly great this guitar virtuoso was.
Over The Mountain
This is another of my favorite guitar tracks. The rhythm that Randy put down for this is nothing short of breathtaking. Ozzy lays down very strong vocals on his sophomore effort.
Flying High Again - Live
This version I feel is truly better than the original studio version. It proves again that live is always the best way to listen to Ozzy.
You Can't Kill Rock and Roll
The whole intro to this song is unbelievable. Randy's guitar playing is something that I can not sing enough praises about. Ozzy states it best when he says - "Rock and Roll is my religion and my love."
Diary of a Madman
Ozzy returns to a somewhat Black Sabbath-esque type of song on his 2nd disc. Once again, this is recorded and pulled off like the true master he is.
Bark At The Moon - Live
This is the B-side to the UK "So Tired" single. It's my personal opinion that I've heard Ozzy do better versions of this song. This song is the first to showcase Jake E. Lee. 
This is the B-side to the "Bark At The Moon" single. This track is not one of the more powerful songs from Ozzy. This does have a bit of a creepy feel to it though.
Rock 'N' Roll Rebel
Truer words were never sung. Jake has some of his finest guitar work on this track as well. 
You're No Different
I've always thought this song to be a bit on the depressing side. There is great use of keyboards on this track.
Disc 2
Ultimate Sin - Live
The notes say that this is from "The Ultimate Ozzy" video, however the only part of this track that was used was only the introduction to it. The video went directly to the actual video of the song instead of staying with the band live. This is a good recording of this track. I'm glad to see the actual live part surface. 
Never Know Why - Live
Again, this is from "The Ultimate Ozzy" video. There is neat use of effects pedals from Jake at the beginning of this track. It's not one of my favorite tracks but still will get your foot tapping.
Thank God For The Bomb - Live
Once again from "The Ultimate Ozzy" video, this is my favorite track from "The Ultimate Sin" disc. This song just has a drive that doesn't quit. You gotta love the explosions towards the end of the song.
Crazy Babies
Enter Zakk Wylde! This song is incredible! Zakk's style of playing fits so well with Ozzy's vocals.
Breakin' All The Rules
There is great contrast in this track. Zakk's solos sound like they are being played down some hallway when his rhythm playing sounds right on. It also has great lyrics - "Nobody thinks the way I do, I guess that nobody dares." 
I Don't Want To Change The World - Demo
Ok, so the minute I see the word "demo" I figure it's gonna sound like it was recorded in a bathroom or in some garage somewhere. This is really quite polished for a demo - note the harmonizing in the chorus. You gotta love Zakk's southern rock guitar playing during the bridge as well. 
Mama, I'm Coming Home - Demo
Another excellent demo that does have some choppy places in vocals as well as playing. But, hey, that's why they call it a demo!
Desire - Demo
This is one of the more obvious demos. Musically not much is changed. The sound effects are even included at the bridge. The lyrics are again on the choppy side. It provides great insight on how the songs take shape.
No More Tears
This has probably one of the most recognizable bass lines ever to be used in a song. It also has eerie guitar, powerful drums, and cryptic vocals - vintage Ozzy.
Won't Be Coming Home (S.I.N.) - Demo
This is my favorite demo on here! I like the unpolished sound of this track. Ozzy's vocals still sound great.
Perry Mason - Live
This is from the "Ozzfest I" disc. Enter Joe Holmes on guitar, and this is the debut track on this set for Robert Trujillo of Metallica fame. There is no experience like Ozzfest as you can hear on this track.
See You On The Other Side - Demo
This track pretty much sounds the same...until you get towards the end of this track. That is when you have, yes, a saxophone doing filler solos and background singers. I'm glad this was just a demo.
Walk On Water - Demo
From the "Beavis and Butthead Do America Soundtrack", I love this track! It has a very Mid-East feel to it. It also has very strong vocals and very well produced music.
Gets Me Through - Live
From "Live At Budokan", Zakk is back and back with a vengeance. I love Ozzy's reference to Iron Man in this track. Zakk proves that not only is Ozzy great live, so is he.
Bang Bang (You're Dead)
This is Ozzy on his soapbox again addressing TV preachers, TV ads and online activities. Musically this track is unbelievable. 
This is a beautiful ballad with very soulful lyrics about the destruction of the world. "Wondering will mother Earth survive." This was a great choice to close Disc 2.
Disc 3
Iron Man - Ozzy with Therapy?
This is from the first "Nativity In Black" disc. This is quite a bit faster than the original. I get a real creepy feeling at the beginning of this track where it sounds like steel rods are hitting trashcans to create effect - it worked! 
N.I.B. - Ozzy with Primus
This is from the "Nativity In Black II" disc. The bass solo at the beginning of this is, without a doubt, very impressive. Again, this track is a bit faster than its original counterpart - very well done.
Purple Haze
This was done for the "Make a Difference Foundation Stairway To Heaven/Highway To Hell" disc. It's my opinion that this is not one of Ozzy's best covers. Zakk doesn't even sound like he's completely into this song either. You've gotta take the bad with the good.
Pictures of Matchstick Men - Ozzy with Type O Negative
This was for the "Howard Stern: Private Parts Soundtrack". This song is great! The dry humor/seriousness of Type O is coupled with Ozzy at the helm. How could this NOT be included in this set? 
Shake Your Head (Let's Go To Bed)
Ozzy with Was Not Was - This was on the Was Not Was disc: "Born To Laugh at Tornadoes". WARNING!!! To all metalheads! This track will HURT! This may be one of those songs that will grow on you after a while. But that would mean you'd have to listen to it often. 
Born To Be Wild - Ozzy with Miss Piggy
This is from the disc (don't laugh) "Kermit Unpigged". This track is also on the difficult side to listen to. But I do have to admit that the mixing for this is not that bad. Miss Piggy's quote "Ozzy get off of the floor" is priceless.
Nowhere To Run (Vapor Trail) - Ozzy with Crystal Method, DMX, Ol' Dirty Bastard and Fuzzbubble
This was on the disc "Chef Aid: The South Park Album". I sat with my mouth hanging open when I heard this track -what a combo. This one is censored numerous times, but still pretty good. 
Psycho Man - Black Sabbath
This was from the "Reunion" disc, when all 4 original members got back together and put out two new tracks. Is it gonna be anything but perfection? Dark lyrics and Dark music equals Black Sabbath!
For Heavens Sake 2000 - Ozzy and Tony Iommi with The Wu-Tang Clan
This is from the disc "Loud Rocks" - interesting mix, the bump of Wu-Tang, then the crunch of Tony and Ozzy. I'm glad this was included.
I Ain't No Nice Guy - Ozzy with Motorhead
This is from Motorhead's disc "March Or Die". It's a great match when these vocalists combine their talents. Ozzy also joined Motorhead to make the video for this track. Musically, be prepared for a ballad-like beginning with a crunch halfway through that will crack your ribs. 
Therapy - Ozzy with Infectious Grooves
From the Infectious Grooves disc, "The Plague That Makes Your Booty Move", this has a great funk beat and drive. Ozzy gets away with singing only one word over and over... you guessed it - "therapy". This track also includes Robert Trujillo on bass with his former band-mate in Suicidal Tendencies Mike Muir.
Stayin' Alive - Ozzy and Dweezil Zappa
I've read reviews where people completely diss this track. All I can say is listen to the guitar work on this and see if you aren't impressed.
Dog The Bounty Hunter
This is the unreleased theme song from the A&E television series of the same name. It's not much of a tune in length (:53) but the beat is there and who can deny that laugh at the end? I'm glad this was included as well.
Disc 4
21st Century Schizoid Man
This was originally done by King Crimson. This is much heavier than the original. It has great drive and crunch. Beware world - the madman is back! 
Mississippi Queen
Originally done by Mountain, this track actually has Leslie West on guitar. It's mega heavy! This is a great redone version of an often covered classic.
All The Young Dudes
Originally done by Mott the Hoople, Ian Hunter helps with vocals on this track. This is a track not to be missed.
In My Life
Originally done by The Beatles, Ozzy covers his idols in awesome fashion. This is the current video to push the box set, which includes Lola doing some "business" on a guy's shoe on a bench. Great song, it's like The Beatles wrote this one especially for Ozzy.
Originally done by Arthur Brown, this is not one of the strongest tunes on this disc. The guitar work is very well done.
For What It's Worth
Originally done by Buffalo Springfield, Ozzy's vocals fit perfectly with this track. Musically, this is definitely heavier than the original, but put together tastefully heavier.
Sympathy For the Devil
Originally done by The Rolling Stones, this is completely different from the original and the popular remake by Guns N Roses. This has more of a methodical drive with some interesting rhythm guitar in it. The guitar solo will kick your teeth out.
Working Class Hero
This song builds with intensity. Musically, it's Ozzy singing over an acoustic guitar - very Bob Dylan-like. However, I do like this track.
Good Times
According to Ozzy,"My wife has been driving me mad to record a cover of 'Good Times'. So Sharon, this one's for you, now you can leave me alone." There is a nice drive to this one with a great piano fill at the end of the track.
Changes - Ozzy with Kelly Osbourne
I truly love this song and the sentiment that both are putting forth in their vocals. There really couldn't be a better conclusion to this wonderful set.
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