Review : OZZY OSBOURNE – "Scream"

Ozzy OsbourneScream
Release Date: 2010Jun22 (US)
Label: Epic
Rating: 3.5/5

Ozzy Osbourne has spent time with many a great guitarist. The longest post-Sabbath relationship was with Zakk Wylde, but some 22 years later, that man has parted ways with The Prince of Darkness and returned to his Black Label Society full time. New to the fold is Firewind‘s Gus G. on guitar, keyboardist Adam Wakeman (Yes, Rick’s son) and drummer Tommy Clufetos, who has ably worked with sinister company like Alice Cooper, John 5, and Rob Zombie.

I want to begin by talking about the ballads, because they are actually the best he has written in several albums. The first is “Life Won’t Wait”, which has fantastic bass work by only returning band member Blasko, echoing Bob Daisley on “Goodbye to Romance”. The second is “Time”, and focuses on better mellow fodder like legacy and mortality, thankfully replacing the lovey songs on Black Rain.

What’s clear is Ozzy’s ferocity. He has been somewhat gritty on later efforts, but is often smoothed out with studio effects. The opposite product is achieved on opener “Let It Die”, as his vocals take on an eerie robotic quality, which make his explosive execution all the more interesting. I was surprised at the title track’s effectiveness, even if it was a featured song on Monday Night Raw. And yes, I think it goes without saying that Scream was a wise album name change from Soul Sucka (internet forums did something positive!). Goofy as it may initially sound, it rocks pretty hard with an industrial slant and oddly infectious chorus; not bad for what is essentially a pop song.

The thing is, he co-wrote the entire album with producer/engineer/mixer Kevin Churko, whose stamp was also throughout Black Rain. The difference in personnel helps change some of the overall sound, but not significantly enough to properly spotlight Gus G. on guitar, above all else. I feel that this latest group will release more unique material once they become more comfortable playing with one another. Still, this is a remarkably consistent offering from Ozzy, his tenth studio solo release. Commodified as he may have become, it is reassuring to see one of Metal’s originators trying this hard.

FCC OK
Try: 1, 5, 7, 10

01. Let It Die
02. Let Me Hear You Scream
03. Soul Sucker
04. Life Won’t Wait
05. Diggin’ Me Down
06. Crucify
07. Fearless
08. Time
09. I Want It More
10. Latimer’s Mercy
11. I Love You All

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