Review Summary: Really, what did you expect?
For some time now, Ozzy Osbourne a.k.a. The Prince of Darkness' career has been nothing more than a joke. The original Black Sabbath frontman went solo in the early 80's after he'd been fired from the band following heavy drug and alcohol abuse, and pairing up with the young and talented guitarist Rhandy Roads, he released two quite enjoyable records in the form of Blizzard of Ozz
, still his most popular work, and it's follow-up Diary of a Madman
. After Roads' death at only age 25, Ozzy moved on with different guitarists and line-ups altogether, but despite making some worthwile songs since then, his albums have been utterly predictable, his last record Black Rain
having been what is perhaps the lowest point in his career yet.
His tenth and newest solo effort Scream
makes no effort to do anything else than Ozzy has been doing for years now. It is common knowledge the man can't sing, and his main trait is still the recognizable nasal tone in his voice, which at least makes him distinguishable, and has identified him ever since his days with Sabbath. Because of his lacking vocal talent, Osbourne has always been smart to make sure he's got a bunch of good back musicians behind him, though his guitarist is always the only guy that really matters on his albums beside Ozzy himself. Having parted ways with his longtime collaborator Zakk Wylde, Osbourne hired Gus G. for his new album, and Adam Wakeman, son of keyboard virtuoso Rick Wakeman is here, too. Does it makes a difference? Not really. Although G. knows his way around six strings, it is still the songwriting that counts.
And as far as that goes, Scream
is, surprise surprise, predictable and boring in every sense of the words. We've got the generic but still somewhat catchy single (Let Me Hear You Scream
), perfect to lure Ozzy's loyal sheep to his new album once again, the obligatory metal ballad (Time
), and of course the opener Let it Die
on which Ozzy tried so hard to keep his image in place:
'I'm a rockstar, I'm a dealer
I'm a servant, I'm a leader
I'm a saviour, i'm a sinner, i'm a killer
I'll be anything you want me to be
Silent as a witness
Make your heart race with a death kiss
I'm a soldier in a blood war
In the peace corp I'll be everything you'll ever be
Loser number zero
Play the victim, end up a hero
I'm a teacher, preacher
Liar, I am everything, anything
I'm a mover and a shaker
The oppressor, stimulator
I'm a coward I'm a fighter
Sure Ozzy, you're everything. Just keep thinking that.
The rest of the album's tracks of course manage to sound exactly the same: mid-tempo, generic riffing, and Ozzy's boring and unvaried vocals high in the mix. But wait, because Ozzy has done something NEW here. Scream
's closing track, I Love You All
, is a one-minute song that has the singer conveying a clear and simple message. He just loves us all. Isn't that sweet of him now? Talk about innovation.
Even before it was released, we all knew, more or less, how Scream
was going to sound. If there was an award for most predicatable metal artist, Osbourne would surely get it. He's recycled his music many times before, and he's going to do it again next time. His tenth solo album is a tepid, uninspired metal records that plays the only strengths the Prince of Darkness has got left: his status in the metal community and his recognizable voice. Ozzy's new album isn't a new low in his career, it's just the same low he's been stuck in for a long time. The sad thing is, criticics will find a way to praise it anyhow. And more importantly for Ozzy: he can keep filling his pockets.