Review Summary: Not even Ozzy Osbourne can make music forever, and Black Rain proves it. The Prince of Darkness' ninth album, to be frank, is quite embarrassing.
In our lives, everything comes to an end eventually. We all know this. Whether we accept it or not is besides the point, but this is something most of us can comprehend. None of us can escape this cycle of beginnings and endings. I can't. You can't. Michael Jordan couldn't. And no matter how much he doesn't want to stop or thinks that he isn't going away, neither can Ozzy Osbourne. Over his nearly 40 year career, Ozzy has enjoyed some great highs, some terrible lows, but with albums such as Black Sabbath, Paranoid, and Blizzard of Ozz (I can't say I'm much a fan of this one though) Osbourne seems to have solidified his position as the "Prince of Darkness." But not even the "Prince of Darkness" can soldier on forever, and his latest album, Black Rain only proves it. The Ozzman's ninth studio album, to be frank, is quite embarrassing.
Now, I am not the biggest fan of Ozzy's solo material, but I will admit that he has some pretty inspired, catchy tunes. However, you won't be finding any of them on Black Rain. Similarly to Osbourne's guitarist's band's latest album (Zakk Wylde, Black Label Society, and Shot to Hell in case you don't know), Black Rain is among the dullest, most uninspired albums I have ever heard. The band, lead by Ozzy and Zakk, merely plod through 10 tracks in roughly 46 minutes and then it's over. Nothing happens throughout the record which could be considered extraordinary or, hell, even entertaining. Osbourne's crew makes its way through seven generic, mid-paced, sludgy songs, two slower ballads, and one which somewhat combines the elements of both. Being the strongest song on a weak album (which is hardly a compliment); The Almighty Dollar sums Black Rain perfectly. It includes some of the album's heavier moments which entail simple, uninteresting riff-work which might as well have been ripped straight from a Black Label Society song. In between the short bursts of aggressiveness, the band's bassist, Rob Nicholson offers up elongated, directionless bass lines which do little more than make the song longer and duller. Unfortunately, this is probably the strongest track on the album, which speaks volumes about Black Rain, if you ask me.
The worst part of Black Rain, however, is Ozzy himself. No matter how far one looks back in his career; whether he was belting out Children of the Grave in 1971, Crazy Train in 1980, or Perry Manson in 1995, he was never one of the best singers in rock (and at times kind of annoying). But on his latest release his voice is completely shot. Just listen to I Don't Wanna Stop or the title track. He sounds like he sings through his nose, rather than his mouth, and it's extremely irritating. However with Black Rain's ballads (Lay Your World On Me and Here For You) it gets even worse. "The Prince of Darkness" doesn't make any changes to his vocal delivery, meaning we get more of his awful, off key performances. Only this time they fit the music even less. As sappy as it is a nice tribute to Ozzy's fans, it is completely ruined by the monotone. Indeed, it's quite excruciating to listen to, even more so than the rest of the album. But, hey, that's Ozzy for you.
I'm going to be blunt. Black Rain is a very poor offering from one of metal's supposed "gods." Not unlike his 1995 offering Ozzmosis or Black Label Society's 2006 album Shot to Hell, it's boring, uninspired, and poorly put together. When listening it feels as though it was released for the sole purpose of cashing in on Ozzy's popularity, rather than a genuine effort at making music. I do not recommend checking this out at all, unless you enjoy bland, listless rock. Ozzy, I know you don't wanna stop but after Black Rain I don't think hanging it up would be such a bad idea. Honestly…
Ozzy Osbourne is such an overrated old fart (here comes the Ozzy fanboys). Seriously, without his fellow musicians he would be nothing. I have no respect for the guy and his voice sounds like shit (wow, im in for walloping on this comment). This is just an opinion.
On a more positive note, Mikesn, your review is a welcome breathe of fresh air in a sea of retarded metal heads who think Ozzy is God. Well written and informative I will add as well.
In response to both those comments, I say that Ozzy himself is a vastly influential man in music, no doubt about it. I honestly think his voice is incredibly unique, and its a total hit for me. But I agree he wouldnt be where he is now if it hadnt been for:
But Geezer didnt help Ozzy steadily rise to fame. I mean Im not putting him down he was a great bassist and songwriter, but Ozzy really headed his bands with his lead guitarists. And if not for Sharon, Ozzy's commercial success and Ozzfest wouldnt have been, and it is likely he would have stopped music a while ago if not for her. I mention MTV also cause of the extremely high ratings of the Osbournes, Battle for Ozzfest, etc.
It's kinda cool to see Ozzy still going, but I Don't Wanna Stop was pretty bad, and its mainly the singing. I've never cared much for his solo work in a while though. Nice job Mike.This Message Edited On 05.22.07
Ozzy never had the range that any Sabbath vocalist that followed him had. That wasn't what counted. Sabbath played better w him singing. Although to me, Sabbath kicked the shit outta Ozzy's solo stuff when he left (minus Born Again, w Ian Gillan - ugh).