How Ozzy has survived this long is a mystery to everyone. Known for his god like abilities for alcohol and drug intake that have plagued his career and health since the early 70s it’s amazing that at 70 he has managed to churn out a new album.
Lost in a musical wilderness of his own making for the last 10 years, before a now famous guest spot with modern pop star Post Malone, a meeting with his producer mate Andrew Watt awakened something in Ozzy that saw a studio band quickly organised consisting of Watt on guitar, drummer Chad Smith and Duff McKagan on bass.
You can read elsewhere how quickly the music just come together amongst the four musicians, as well as extras such as Slash and Elton John who join in on this exciting hard rock journey. Opening with the heaviest (and possibly only real metal) track courtesy of a great Slash riff, Straight to Hell comes in with a chorus of angels before that famous stacked Ozzy studio vocal comes in and instantly everything is better in the world for the next three and a half minutes. Ozzy and the band are completely on point with an aggression and venom that only he has ever been able to produce with his unique vocal ability.
Follow up track All My Life really sets the tone for the album, one of a man reflecting solemnly on his life and career in an unflinching light. All of the positive and negatives he has managed to put himself through in his storied life are covered from here until final track Its a Raid plays out with an almost Motörhead homage as it hammers along fast and loose. There are some surprises throughout, from Ozzy questioning if tea served in heaven on the outro of Goodbye, showing a playful side he tends to keep from his records, or the almost Enter Sandman riff lift on Today is the End before the vocals pull the track into line.
The biggest surprise is the title track, with piano and vocal contribution from Elton John. Ozzy and Elton appear like the oddest couple on paper, but surprisingly on record they combine to make what might just be one of the best ballads on an Ozzy Osbourne album. Osbourne’s unique vocals have never really lent themselves to the ballads he enjoys doing, but here it all fits together neatly without any of the usual pomp that feels pushed upon the listener in an attempt to always show that there is more to him than his Prince Of Darkness tag.
The immediacy of the recording sessions also plays well into the album. Watt’s production pays close attention to the legacy involved and as such there is no modern drum n’ bass part or overtly programmed sections to take attention away from the music at hand. That is, of course, as long as you ignore the Post Malone bonus track shoved on the end to add no doubt to streaming sales.
If this is indeed Ozzy’s last recorded output, then it is a decent enough swansong, although if he does manage to get this group together and push out another album with the same kind of ruthless efficiency it would not be unwelcome. Perhaps it is time for him to get off the road and just focus on leaving a great recorded legacy, and continue to prove he is anything but ordinary.
- Straight to Hell
- All My Life
- Ordinary Man
- Under the Graveyard
- Eat Me
- Today is the End
- Scary Little Green Men
- Holy For Tonight
- Its A Raid
- Take What You Want