I got caught in a bit of a pinch today. I wasn’t totally prepared to do a Music Review Tuesday. But as I was going through my mp3 player I discovered I did have an album on it that I have been meaning to review since it was released earlier this year. Who was the lead singer for seemingly the first heavy metal rock band? Who’s name is synonymous with bats and Satan? Who is the self-proclaimed “Prince of Darkness”? Who has abused themselves on drugs and alcohol so much over the years they are almost unintelligible? Who had their own reality TV show that introduced millions of new fans to his family? That’s right the King of “most everything wrong” with heavy metal music, the artist known as Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy will be sixty years old this year. After over ten years of singing and writing for Black Sabbath, He became a solo performer in 1980. In doing so he took the heavy metal genre to new heights with the legendary guitarist Randy Rhoads. He has worked with many great musicians over the years including Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath)Jake E. Lee, Brad Gillis (Night Ranger), and current guitarist and bandmate Zakk Wylde. But would this new album come close to some of the heavy metal genius we have pummeled our cranium too in the past?
Enter “Black Rain” the new release from Ozzy Osbourne. The album was released on May 22nd, 2007. The band lineup is Zakk Wylde on guitars, Mike Bordin on drums, and Rob Nicholson on bass guitar. The album slams my head with the opening track “Not Going Away”. The combination of Zakk Wylde and Nichols’ bass is so heavy, it reminds me of Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi in their Black Sabbath heyday. Ozzy actually tries his hand, or voice as it were, with some screaming on this track. The next track “I Don’t Wanna Stop” comes screaming out of the gate into a head crushing rhythm that is a killer. There are plenty of patented Zakk pinch harmonics to go ’round on this track. It definitely rawks your face off. Part of the chorus goes:
All fired up, I’m gonna go till I drop
You’re either in or in the way, don’t make me,
I don’t wanna stop
The album title “Black Rain” is the next song on the album. It slow things down a bit. But the same heavy pounding guitar and bass is very evident. The next four tracks are pretty lame for a hard rock album and do not even compare to the given title “King of Heavy Metal”.
Album hightlights are “Not Going Away”, “I Don’t Wanna Stop” hey can someone find my face for me, “Black Rain”, “Countdown’s Begun” with it’s full force guitar driven crunch riff, “Trap Door” starts out with the typical Ozzy filler formula but builds to a very cool rockin’ song.
This Ozzy album as a whole does not compare very well to some of my past favorites. But this sixty year old burn out can still put together some heavy songs. The songs in the middle are downright lame in comparison. I give this album a BarryDean three and a half stars out of five.
Please check out the music video for “I Don’t Wanna Stop”.