Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Ozzy- Scream (2010)
“What’s that? Ozzy fired Zakk Wylde? And he hired, no, you’re joking, Gus G? When the hell did Ozzy start recruiting GOOD guitarists, yes, of course I’ll listen”.
The history of Ozzy really needs no introduction, except that my personal thoughts are that his post Sabbath career is a shadow of what he did in Sabbath (But Sabbath’s post-ozzy career fared even worse, a bad move all around). Hearing that Ozzy had hired a power metal guitarist, and a good one at that, raised my interest in his latest album tenfold, and so my thoughts.
It’s important to note that Gus G doesn’t appear to have any hand in the creative process, but as long as Wylde doesn’t either, I’m willing to accept that. The first song, “Let it Die”, is a very heavy, plodding track that I’d almost have to describe as commercialized doom metal. Ozzy’s voice is in surprisingly good form for being in his 60s, the melodies and harmonies are all very good at being heavy enough to satisfy a metalhead while still appealing to a greater audience. Some might call it selling out, but so long as there’s a creative root, I don’t mind. Gus G’s solo is refreshing to hear in the mainstream as well.
The albums title track and lead single, “Let me hear you Scream” is what really sold me on the album though. There’s very upbeat atmosphere to the song, it’s an anthem, and the world always needs more metal anthems. Somewhere along the lines someone figured out that a power metal solo is just what the world needed to hear and it sounds excellent on this track as well.
Soul Sucka is another slower doomy track, with a refreshing hint of fuzz, and a blazing guitar solo. This has serious potential as gateway metal, which is I assume what its primary purpose is these days. One thing that was bound to happen with the solo career vs. Black Sabbath is that this material is much more effective at showcasing Ozzy’s voice, but I fear he may be getting accidentally upstaged by Gus G here and there.
Life won’t wait is the album’s first ballad. It’s kind of like that token epic ballad that’s on every Finnish Power metal album ever. The song features a nice acoustic rhythm, some surprisingly upfront bass, and some great epic flair.
Diggin Me Down and Crucify are both fairly generic filler tracks that are entertaining to listen to and don’t detract from the album, but don’t necessarily add any new flavor either. The intro of Fearless reminds of something Buckethead would try on one of his heavier albums, and then leads into a much more Ozzy-sounding riff. It’s got some nice syncopation, and an excellent riff.
Time is another ballad, and this one seems to have less purpose than Life Won’t Wait. It’s got massive pop elements and while the song isn’t awful, it is a bit pointless. The next two tracks, (I want it More and Latimer’s mercy) are, like Diggin’ me down and Crucify, vaguely entertaining, heavy riff based songs with great solos, and little distinction from the rest of the album. The closing track “I love you all” is an interesting minute of synth and acoustics, and apparently, Ozzy loves us all. With an album like this, I can’t say I hate Ozzy, but I’m still left wondering how much better this time could have been spent with the likes of Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward.
Alas, it’s got its highlights, and a very good chunk of solid filler, it’s worth a listen, and the first 3 songs are interesting enough to warrant a few repeat plays, but this is a very safe release from Ozzy.