Alright, let's all make a fuss about Ozzy Osbourne delivering another new album. Get it out of your system, and remember Sharon Osbourne is the greatest marketing guru next to Gene Simmons. Honestly, I'm more hot about Gus G (Firewind), one of my favorite guitarists, replacing Zakk Wylde as the lead on Ozzy's latest Scream. If there was any guitarist closer to the seminal and significant Randi Rhoads for Ozzy, then Gus G is the guy. Bold statement, but I'll stand by it.
But on to the music as Osbourne said Scream reminds him of an "Ozzy/Black Sabbath" album. What does that mean? Solo Ozzy revisits Sabbath with Ozzy? Maybe. Scream is definitely heavier than more recent work as Let Me Hear You Scream and Soul Sucker prove. Then Life Won't Wait may remind of mid-era solo Ozzy. Time is definitely old school, 80's MTV-friendly Ozzy: pure metal ballad wrapped in modern Splenda. As expected, and thankfully, Ozzy refuses to stand still with the obvious more modern metal overtones of Let It Down. In terms of arrangement this is one of the more complex and intriguing tracks on the album. Sabbath subtleties with modern heaviness can be heard again on Diggin Me Down. Pacing ourselves through Scream, one can make equivalent analogies on every song but, in the end, this is more modern Ozzy reclaiming roots while at the same time re-imagining himself. If this is a mature, confident, and adventurous Ozzy or merely the result of a good producer and surrounding cast, it's still all good.
As for my guitar hero, Gus G gets opportunity to stretch and deliver the goods. (I would recommend you pick any Firewind albums you can.) Ozzy made a choice that is unlike Wylde, nearly retro, but definitely proactive. Gus G blisters and inspires on Let It Die, Scream, and Fearless, to name only a few. I would love to hear him play some classic Ozzy, like Crazy Train et al, because he will kill, and honor Mr. Rhoads.
For Ozzy's part, he sounds good. It's hard to believe that Ozzy, a bumbling, near dementia, reality show buffoon who can barely speak clearly, can still sing. Or is it studio magic from producer Kevin Churko? Say it ain't so. Then Scream ends with I Love You All. Is this Ozzy's thankfulness or his swan song into retirement. Hey KISS never retires, why should Oz?
Scream is more Ozzy reclaiming his roots while at the same time re-imagining himself with a strong modern feel over an aggressive dose of his successful early solo work.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]