This is Ozzy’s fourth solo record, last to feature Jake E. Lee on guitar, first album for Randy Castillo on drums, and the only record to feature Phil Soussan on bass. I learned all this on the interwubs.
So of course I cranked this sucker, because OZZY. Every song has that Ozzy swagger and sound that you just can’t deny.
Some detractors say the songs over the course of the album are too same-y, and some say the production on this copy is a bit sketchy, but I didn’t have a problem with it. Mind you, my ear isn’t audiophile quality, but to me the sound is just fine, and the tunes are varied enough. You get the singles (the title track and Shot In The Dark, the latter is almost flirting with 80s pop/rock fighter jet movie soundtrack territory), plenty of solid rockers (mid to faster tempos), and even an epic like Killer Of Giants, which is one of my favourite tracks here.
I had good fun rocking this one!
Deke and I are doing a dual review of this one! He’s gonna be a helluva smarter and more in tune about it than I ever will be, so GO READ HIS EXCELLENT POST RIGHT HERE!!
Right, so I don’t even know where I got this CD, but it was probably in the $5 bin at Wally World. I’m a sucker for a bargain.
We open with the title track, and it’s a stone classic. Everyone knows this song, right? Of course you do! It’s a fun Ozzy greatest hit with a killer guitar solo section. You’re No Different slows things down a bit, Ozzy all 80s ballady though it can’t quite hide its metal leanings. Now You See It (Now You Don’t) brings back the rock with a really satisfying bluesy chug.
Rock ’n’ Roll Rebel keeps the stomp alive with another distinctive kick-ass rocker that only Ozz could muster. Center of Eternity starts off with some chanting and bells ringing that leads to a big church organ… is this a nod to his Sabbath days in some way? When the song kick in it’s another kick-ass rocker. Nice one!
Up next is a 3-fer of song titles that would make one believe Ozzy wanted a break. So Tired is a bit of a plodding ballad. The title’s pretty apt! The strings give it lift, but the backing vocals made me giggle. Still, it’s a pretty tune that’s just a wee bit too fast for a slow dance at the high school prom. Slow Down does anything but, pummeling us from the get-go and refusing to drive less than 100 mph. The synth stabs were a bit cheesy, though I suppose it was the times. This would sound great on some 80s fighter jet movie soundtrack. Waiting For Darkness brings us back to hard-hitting Ozzy mid-tempo rocker mode, with a synth line that screams L.A. cop movie circa 1985. It has good energy, and I like the orchestrations.
Spiders is suitably slinky and creepy and still rockin’ as you’d expect. The bassline makes this track, and is front and center. And finally, One Up The ‘B’ Side rounds out the album with another Ozzy rocker. Fun times.
I liked it! Ozzy in 1983 is fun, light, and a little cheesy. There’s enough crunchy guitar and big hairy riffs to keep me satisfied, but I only heard the one certified greatest hit in the whole lot (the title track). Ah well, it’s not like it mattered. Ozzy has a sound, and he milks it for all it’s worth. My favourite parts of the album were probably the orchestra/string sections.
As Ozzy ages, he gets more interesting. What, you say? How could 40 years of being on a bender be less interesting that what he’s doing now? Well, his has been an incredible life, no doubt. But I would argue that all those years drugged out of his mind have led to his current state, as some sort of media darling. The safe and tame media darling, who used to be crazy but now is just pretending to be evil… isn’t he?
It’s the only way a TV show like The Osbournes could have happened. And it’s the only way a concept like Dr. Ozzy could ever have come about. And yes, it seems obvious that someone else wrote the book after cobbling together Ozzy’s mumblings and rantings, especially the sensible bits. But who cares? There is actually some great advice scattered through these pages, if you’re looking for that sort of thing. But more pleasingly, there are tons of opportunities to laugh out loud, more than you would probably credit. They should have called this book Advice From Left Field, because that’s what you get from him.
Same as when I read his recent biography, Ozzy made me laugh. He’ll make you laugh, too. Something that coked-out-of-his-ass Ozzy from the 70s would have been unlikely to achieve. Or, if he did, you need more help than this book can offer.
He’s been at it so long, and had so many unbelievable things happen to him, that it’s hard to get any real sense of Ozzy anymore. But this semi-autobiography is brilliant. He says right up front that he may not remember things as others remember them – he’s done A LOT of substances over the years, and had a lot of experiences he couldn’t reliably tell a court was true under oath. You’ve seen the TV show – how could you hold THAT accountable? But that didn’t stop him from putting this book out into the world, though.
Maybe you were a Sabbath fan first. Or maybe his solo career. Or maybe the TV show. Wherever in the decades you’ve entered the story, this book covers it all in a light, funny, engaging way. It’s like he’s talking to you personally – with someone else writing coherent sentences for him – as he tries to lay out how fundamentally bewildered he is that most of this has happened to him. And man, some shit has happened to this guy.
The self-deprecation wears, after a while, but the stories are so great it’s easy to overlook such small complaints. If you want to laugh out loud while reading a book, get this. If you want a serious book to add to the vaunted Sabbath Legacy, forget it. This is Ozzy pissing out the window and hoping he’s offering up something you might find valuable. It’s a lark, but it’s also one of the funniest books I’ve read all year (so far).
The Prince of Darkness is sober, kids, and it doesn’t make a lick of difference. His new record rocks.
Everyone has an opinion. Me? Oh, thanks for asking! I think he’s an unstoppable rock force, a legend whose sense of what works is pretty infallible indeed. Detractors say he’s a doddering, drug trip-addled and incoherent mess, that age has taken away his title of metal god, or that he’s just a lapdog to his queen bitch wife Sharon (all opinions I’ve heard before, not my own thoughts).
So here comes his latest effort, Black Rain. I had so much fun listening to this record. It’s all here – the inimitable Ozzy vocals, the rip-your-head-off histrionics of Zakk Wylde’s guitar attack, the clear and pounding one-two KO punch of the bass and drums… Just awesome.
I love the way this album opens. The first two tracks are heavy enough to blow out your speakers if you play them loud enough (and you will, oh yes, you will). What a guitar sound! And there are plenty of other tracks here that will knock you back a pace or two, too.
As with every later-era Ozzy album, there are the slower (but still heavy) adventures too, and each one is exactly the way rawk ballads should be played. Formulaic? Hell yes! Get your lighters out!
I loved this record, and if you’re an Ozzy fan at all, especially one who’s well aware of just how great No More Tears was (and still is), then Black Rain is going to put a huge grin on your face. It’ll be a record you return to for years to come, and I’m willing to bet that no matter how many times you play it, it’ll always get your head banging and your fist pumping in the air.
Turn it up!
01 Not Going Away
02 I Don’t Wanna Stop
03 Black Rain
04 Lay Your World On Me
05 The Almighty Dollar
06 11 Silver
07 Civilize The Universe
08 Here For You
09 Countdown’s Begun
10 Trap Door
Ah, Ozzy. Unfortunately, most people now think of him as a washed out, drug-addled fuck-up, thanks to his recent foray into television. It may all be true, I don’t care. I only came here for the music, thanks.
Something happens to Ozzy on record (and in a live setting). He comes alive. He’s coherent. He’s going full speed ahead, in complete control of losing control. Whatever this is, it completely negates that other, doddering image of him.
To be honest, I don’t like most of his later albums. He’s been involved in so much good music in his career that it seems inevitable he’d repeat himself and/or schlep some crap too, as time went by.
But No More Tears holds a special place in my heart. I know every word and every note on this record. It’s the only later-period Ozzy album I’ll play. Every song is a fist-pumping gem. Check out Zakk Wylde’s guitar work! Awesome.