It's June, which means the year-a-month project has finally made it to 1980, the year I've been waiting for. This month we have a bunch of big changes:
Black Sabbath: Heaven and Hell - the first Black Sabbath album featuring the late great Ronnie James Dio, who came in to replace Ozzy, who was fired for heavy alcohol and drug abuse in April 1979. This album marked a powerful shift in Black Sabbath's sound, and contains the massive hit song by the same name as the album.
Ozzy Osbourne: Blizzard of Ozz - Ozzy's first solo album. I actually had some trouble with this one. The MP3 album at Amazon, it turns out, is the 2002 re-release in which the original drum and bass parts had been stripped out and replaced. Oooh, the customer reviews were not kind to Sharon Osbourne about that. Luckily for me, Sony re-re-released a "30th anniversary edition" on, I kid you not, May 27th, 2011. This version appears to be, if not exactly the original arrangement, at least a lot closer.
Judas Priest: British Steel - Scott Ian of Anthrax said that this album defined heavy metal, doing away with the "last shards of blues" and ushering in the great 1980s heavy metal sound. I'm not sure I'd go that far, but Judas Priest never fails to impress.
Last but not least, Iron Maiden's eponymous debut album was also published in 1980. As I mentioned last month, Iron Maiden is one of the reasons I started this project, so finally catching up to them is rewarding. And the album rocks.