"Since his dramatic departure from Black Sabbath, heavy metal fans the world over waited with bated breath, for news of their hero . . ." reads the press sheet for singer Ozzy Osbourne. Well, Ozzy and his group, Blizzard of Ozz, have finally appeared and his followers can rest easy -- he hasn't changed a bit.

Last night at the Merriweather Post Pavilion, Osbourne and Blizzard of Ozz proved, in every way, to be the equal of Black Sabbath -- and a more dubious compliment would be hard to imagine.

Flanked by a wall of amplifiers, guitarist Randy Rhoads sent out flurries of distorted guitar notes and crashing chords. Drummer Lee Kerslake and bassist Bob Daisley had a steady if somewhat monotonous rhythmic accompaniment, complete with pounding percussive outbursts and thudding bass lines.

On top of it all was Osbourne's voice -- a curious cross between a scream and a yell. He growled his way through a series of ponderous blues bashers and then (for a change of pace) held along with the hard rock numbers.

Ozzy Osbourne and Blizzard of Ozz have all the volume and pretentious postures of his former group. And like that group, Blizzard of Ozz is also something of a musical snowjob.