years (yes, that's right, 10 years) after Scream
, and seven years after the titanic final Black Sabbath
album 13, Ozzy Osbourne
surprised the world with a brand new album entitled Ordinary Man
. As a huge fan of Ozzy, I went ahead and purchased the album in question and threw it in my computer as soon as I had torn it from the shrink-wrap.
Unfortunately, this belongs in the same category as No Rest for the Wicked
. Eschewing the squealing shredwork of Zakk Wylde
, or even the speedy Euro-shredding of Gus G
, Ozzy has for himself...a relative nobody in the rock world on guitar: Andrew Watt, who has played backing guitar for pop stars like Justin Bieber, Cardi B, Selena Gomez, and recently made a name for himself as Post Malone's producer. As such, his guitar tone is all off: audio-files may call it clipping, but there's something harsh about his guitar tone that says more "hissy techno fuzz" rather than "buzzsaws in Heavenshore". Despite
who it may offend, I'm going to say it: like Jake E. Lee
, Andrew Watt isn't bringing any memorable riffs to the party. Hell
, his solos are so generic that I couldn't even tell that Slash
made an appearance on the title track. With him are Duff McKagan
, an average bassist from an average hair band, and Will
Ferrell lookalike Chad Smith, an average drummer from an average pop rock band.
The result, unfortunately, is that Ordinary Man
is quite thoroughly an ordinary album. "Heavy" songs feature too much start-and-stop with the instruments, jerking you around willy nilly and not giving the listener any time to get to know the instrumentalists. I'd say that's Watt's fault more than Ozzy's, considering that he's a pop music producer. Most of the album feels, like Ozzmosis
, to be made almost exclusively of ballads.
's not to say it's a total loss. "Scary Little Green Men" is so full of 80s cheese I'm surprised Jake E. Lee
isn't suing for writing credits. Hit songs "Straight to Hell
" and "Under the Graveyard
" at least feel like the Ozzy we know and (mostly) love. And
speaking of Austin Post, he actually gets to shine in a guest spot on the punk rock-infused closer "It's a Raid", despite the fuzzy tone of Watt's guitar towards the end.
Unfortunately, with many in the music world leaving us in the past five years, this could very well be the last offering from the Prince of Darkness
. If so, it's going out with a whimper of "fuck you all", a quotation of the badassery of the 80s. If, darkness willing, we get Ozzy for a few years more and he makes another album, let's hope it kicks Ordinary Man
in the balls.