Ozzy albums are always a bit of a hit and miss affair. With such a legendary back catalogue of early heavy metal classics (you can barely fault the first 6 Sabbath albums at least), and classic metal recordings in the form of Blizzard of Ozz
and Bark at the Moon
, it always seems a bit sad to see him pulling out old man rock with more than its fair share of syrupy ballads like Dreamer
. But Ozzy's secret weapon is Zack Wylde. The man churns out some of the most ass kicking riffs this side of Iommi
, and its the perfect fodder for Ozzy's uncouth wail. There's something rather otherworldly about his almost metallic sounding yowl, untutored and unhindered by age, the familiarity is always welcoming.
On Black Rain
, Ozzy's latest album, Wylde is prominent, giving the album a more BLS feel than previous. Most of it is heavy, almost doomy riffing couple with some great soloing but let's be honest, its Zakk Wylde
, the man does little else. 'The Almighty
Dollar' is driven along by an excellent bulldozing riff, and single 'I Don't Wanna Stop' is both catchy and heavy as hell. Depending on your feelings about Ozzy ballads (i.e. if Changes
from Vol.4 is an abomination in your 'has-to-be-heavy' eyes), you'll either love or loathe a track like 'Not Going Away'. There are a number of throwaway, interchangeable tracks however that let the album down, although 'Civilise the Universe
' is probably the best track Ozzy has done since 'No More
Unfortunately, the main failing with the album is that it's more of a Black Label Society
album written for radio than an Ozzy heavy metal classic. It's solidly uninspiring, something you don't really want to hear about an album by a legend of the heavy metal scene. It's enjoyable enough to listen to through, a few tracks may bring you back to it but nothing to call it a classic. Ozzy is now faced with a choice it seems: retire gracefully now and leave us with good memories or continue to sully his legacy with average records like this. It's a shame, because we all know what the man is capable of.