Album review: Ozzy Osbourne – Scream

Is there anything you haven’t heard about this man before? Legend, Godfather of Metal, Prince of F***ing Darkness, and so on, Ozzy Osbourne has spent the better part of half a century earning his accolades. So when the big guy drops a new album, possibly even his last solo album, everyone sits up and listens intently.

Ozzy Osbourne Scream ArtworkThe interesting thing about Ozzy’s solo career has been the complete lack of variation of sound. Not one to tinker with a formula that millions adore, the basic formula for all his solo work has been the same since ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ – a ballsy, heavy rock n’ roll sound with loads of hooks. More than any other artist, Ozzy has proved you don’t need to change your sound to stay relevant and interesting. So, as expected, ‘Scream’ is no different. If anything, he sounds rejuvenated after two decades with Zakk Wylde on lead guitar duties.

Ozzy said he fired Zakk because he didn’t want the new record to sound like Black Label Society, and that objective has certainly been achieved. Gone are the incessant pinch harmonics that Zakk favoured so heavily, and Gus G. has brought in a tone that is crunchier and beefier than anything you’ve heard in years, by any metal band. Opener ‘Let It Die’ is as much a showcase for the new stringslasher’s shredding ability as it is an incredible, pounding, pulsating introduction to a classic Ozzy record.

‘Let Me Hear You Scream’ has been doing the rounds for a while now and it’s easy to see why, with its instantly catchy yet heavy riffing, topped by one of Ozzy’s best vocal performances on ‘Scream’. ‘Soul Sucker’ slows things down to crawling pace but cranks the heavy up to 11 – think ‘Sad But True’ style Metallica. The great thing about Gus G. is that he’s extremely versatile so he can pull a ballad out of his hat (the excruciating ‘Life Won’t Wait’, one of the few disappointments, though that is more down to the cheesy lyrics than Gus G.’s guitars) just as easily as more modern, palm-muted riffing (‘Diggin’ Me Down’, one of the finest slabs of pure f***ing metal on ‘Scream’).

As for the legend himself, it’s reassuring to know that the mumbling man-child you see on television can still produce the magic when he heads into the studio. He co-produced this album and it really does sound like he’s having a whale of a time. Sure, not all the tracks are great – the ballads in particular make for some cringe-worthy moments –  but that’s been a complaint ever since ‘Blizzard Of Ozz’. The fact is that when the songs are good, they’re great, and there are more good songs than bad.

Is ‘Scream’ worth downloading? Don’t be silly – it’s worth buying. If rumours are to be believed, this may well be the Prince Of Darkness’ last album and it would be an act of treachery not to get it.

Rating – 9


About Abhijeet Ahluwalia

Abhijeet Ahluwalia – I’m a freelance journalist who goes back and forth between London and Bombay. A huge metalhead, but I have an eclectic taste, from reggae to punk. Oh, and Manchester United are the greatest team in the world. Follow me on Twitter or drop me a line via Email.

One Response to “Album review: Ozzy Osbourne – Scream”

  1. Man! You are the maker of metal proselytes…