Ozzy Osbourne - Black Rain
Epic Records
Heavy Metal
10 songs (46:11)
Release year: 2007
Ozzy Osbourne, Epic Records
Reviewed by Jeff
Major event

In a recent interview with Kara A. Medalis of WWE.com, Ozzy Osbourne was quoted as saying, "I'm 59 this year. People keep saying to me, 'You'll be quitting soon, retiring.' I don't wanna stop! You'll know when I want to stop because I won't be doing it anymore. I've tried not doing it, but it's not like I've got a job. I'd miss the fans. I'd miss the buzz, seeing the crowd going crazy." And one thing Ozzy still does well is make a crowd of fans go crazy! Ozzy recently performed at the VH1 Rock Honors, singing I Don't Wanna Stop and Crazy Train. I must say that Ozzy's over all performance sounded pretty good. He did look a bit awkward on stage, jumping up and down and going back and forth to the mic. It's amazing the guy has lasted as long as he has.

If new songs like Not Going Away and I Don't Wanna Stop are any indications of Ozzy's future intentions, then the only things that will ever stop him from continuing are either his wife or good ole Death himself.

Almost six years since his last original studio release, Down To Earth, Ozzy finally returns with Black Rain.

Black Rain seems to continue along the path first set course by Down To Earth. Black Rain has a very thick layered rhythm guitar sound that almost borders something between grunge and new metal. I can't help but feel Zakk Wylde lets too much of his Black Label Society influences take charge of the direction of the music. He even uses some wah wah sound effects, giving the music a trippy feel. The bass guitar has a deep sound and is "loud" in the sense that it really stands out in the mix. The drumming is average but sounds good production wise. Some keyboards are used like some synth string sounds and piano. As for Ozzy, his voice can still carry a tune. Over the years however, he's lost an octave or two from his singing range. This is why the music is detuned to help accommodate him, giving the songs a darker sound and feel. At times Ozzy uses some sound effects on his voice, a little too much for my tastes. Some include high treble settings with some distortion and vibrato with some flanging too.

Black Rain really needs a good four or five listens before you can start to appreciate some of it. Most of the songs are very average. A song like I Don't Wanna Stop is sure to stick in your head after only a few listens with its repetitive main chorus. The title track, Black Rain actually has some harmonica at the beginning; something that Ozzy hasn't been associated with since his Sabbath days. Here For You is the piano ballad of the album, comparable to songs like So Tired and Dreamer. The beginning of Lay Your World On Me sounds like Gary Numan's Down In The Park. The bass playing on The Almighty Dollar has a funky and metallic slap to it. And the riffing on Countdown's Begun reminds me the most of past Ozzy/Zakk Wylde era stuff such as Thunder Underground and My Jekyll Doesn't Hide. The riffing on one of the rhythm sections could almost pass for the one used on Velvet Revolver's Slither.

I was really ready to trash this album after the first two listens. But I knew that it needed a few more listens before I could pass judgment. I wasn't expecting another Diary of a Madman, Blizzard of Oz or even No Rest For The Wicked type of album. Take Black Rain for what it's worth. It's not Ozzy's best but it's not his worst either. It is different enough where you can at least say there is alot more variety in the Ozzy catalog now. I don't think Ozzy made Black Rain for cash reasons. I truly believe he did it because of his intention to continue on rocking until he can't do it anymore.

In truth, the styles used on Black Rain are not much different than what Iommi used on his first solo album Iommi. Speaking of Black Sabbath, it's too bad that the reunion between the two did not work out. If anything, I believe alot of fans were looking forward to that event happening. I believe that Ozzy needed Sabbath more so than they needed him. This is more evident now since Black Sabbath's reunion with Dio, recording new material and touring in the process.

I'm sure Black Rain will have Ozzy fans divided, even have some slamming the hell out of it. The die hards might give it more of a chance than the skeptics.

 

 

Killing Songs :
I Don't Wanna Stop, Black Rain, Civilize The Universe, Here For You, Countdown's Begun
Jeff quoted 66 / 100
Danny quoted 95 / 100
Other albums by Ozzy Osbourne that we have reviewed:
Ozzy Osbourne - Scream reviewed by Marty and quoted 74 / 100
Ozzy Osbourne - Bark At The Moon reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 69 / 100
Ozzy Osbourne - Diary Of A Madman reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 80 / 100
Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard Of Ozz reviewed by Aleksie and quoted CLASSIC
Ozzy Osbourne - Live At Budokan reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
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