Ever since his first solo record 1980’s Blizzard of Ozz which came about after the split from Black Sabbath which was partly down to severe substance intake, Ozzy has defied those who would thought he was a spent force or that his troubles would consume him.
Now he is clean and dry there is no sign of the doddering almost fool like person that Ozzy was seen to be on the show The Osbournes, He seems on this album to have a desire to produce good rock and metal music for his fans to enjoy. Having seen Ozzy live, I know full well he adores his fans and gives his all at each show.
Here we have Ozzy’s latest album which is his tenth album featuring a new guitarist Gus G who replaces long time collaborator Zakk Wylde and a new drummer Tommy Clufetos who replaces Mike Bordin.
The album artwork for me isn’t much of anything special really, being a bit bland to my eye. None of the classic album artwork of the old Ozzy albums, which is a shame. However in this digital age where download is increasingly more and more important, artwork seems to be less of a concern than perhaps it would of been in the days of vinyl where you would of gotten a big 12” artwork sleeve to look at and it was something that had to be special. Is that a bad thing? I think so to some extent, the small booklets with CDs cannot really give a good representation of the artwork I feel as they are just too small to be worthwhile.
It was originally going to be called Soul Sucka, but fan objection forced a rethink and the name of Scream was applied instead this in my opinion is a much better and fitting title.
The album opens with punchy crunchy doom track Let it Die. A gritty song. Opens the album nicely with pounding double kick drums and a serpentine guitar accenuate the brooding lyrics.
Let Me Hear You Scream is the first single to be taken from the album. A pounding screamer of a track. Short, fast paced and thumping with hints of an industrial sound to it probably thanks to Blasko and Clufetos who used to be in Rob Zombie’s band. This is one of my favourite songs on the album and I can see this being a fan favourite maybe even an anthem at Ozzy’s live shows as a crowd pleaser this reminds me most of the Ozzy of old.
Soul Sucker Is a bit if a sludgy song with hints of both Sabbath and Black Label Society [former guitarist Zakk Wylde’s band]. I quite like it, but for me it sounds a bit too much like BLS.
Life Won’t Wait is a typical sounding Ozzy ballad, which is kind of obligatory on any Ozzy album it seems now. This is clean sounding and with Ozzy’s vocals on good form. With no distortion or down-tuning present it doesn’t really sound like the rest of the albums tracks, but sounds like it would fit in amongst No More Tears or Ozzmosis.
Diggin’ Me Down after a short acoustic intro kicks into a thumping Sabbath-esqe sounding song. Ozzy’s vocals are strong, and the song lyrics are strong also I feel which deal with challenging Jesus. their are very heavy sounding Wylde style riffs [not really a bad thing as such] and a heavy fast drum sound. I quite like this one.
Crucify sounds so very much like a song title for Ozzy. With similarities in subject and sound to Diggin’ Me Down in places. Not quite as heavy with the guitars being less distorted and cleaner, giving Gus G a chance to shine on guitar.
Fearless returns to a high tempo, distorted crunchy heavy sound. I think this could be a good live song again to build the crowd up with. The lyrics are dark and doomy, just as Ozzy should be in some respects. The lyrics also sound like a battle cry for courage and keeping going with Ozzy singing ‘I am Warrior, I’m fearless // No pain, no mercy, no weakness’
Time is another ballad. A slow number. The lyrics for some reason remind me a little of Changes [a song that really gets me emotionally as it rings with me quite heavily]. The song is to me about the passing of time and not to let it slip past you by longing for the past. Gus G’s playing on this song is fine with good riffs and he is accompanied by a hard drum lick with Ozzy’s vocals sounding good.
I Want it More opens with thundering crunchy guitars and a pounding drunk beat, and then in comes Ozzy’s signature vocal style. A pounding rousing track. Gus G’s guitar playing is particularly good in my opinion on this track, with a good selection of heavy riffs and solos. A good foot stomper.
Latimer’s Mercy is a song about the Robert Latimer case which is rather difficult subject matter regarding the 1993 case of Robert Latimer who was found guity of 2nd degree murder of his daughter Tracy, who had Cerebal Palsy. This is punchy and sinister sounding it is also a heart wrenching but thoughtful song about a difficult situation. A song about a difficult subject [assisted suicide]. Ozzy’s vocals are again good on this. The guitars are hard and pounding and work well with the lyrics.
I Love You All is a very short ballad track, which is basically Ozzy thanking fans for sticking by him. Whilst a good gesture, I think it is a bit of a waste on the album. A better use of the time would of been perhaps to have had another full length song or none at all. Would of been better as a single B side perhaps. Could this be a goodbye from The Prince of Darkness? I hope not as he’s been through so much in his life and career I’m sure he has plenty more to say.
Amongst the stand out tracks for me on this album are Let Me Hear You Scream, Time, Diggin’ Me Down and I Want It More.
- “Let It Die”
- ”Let Me Hear You Scream”
- ”Soul Sucker”
- ”Life Won’t Wait”
- ”Diggin’ Me Down”
- ”I Want It More”
- ”Latimer’s Mercy”
- ”I Love You All”
- Ozzy Osbourne – vocals, production
- Gus G – guitars
- Rob “Blasko” Nicholson – bass
- Tommy Clufetos – drums, percussion
- Adam Wakeman – keyboards
- Kevin Churko – Producer
Some of my favourite metal and rock songs are from Ozzy’s solo albums [mainly 80s songs] such as Crazy Train.
So I was hoping for more great songs here, and sadly I’m not sure there are many here, there are good bits and generally overall I feel it is good, but could of been so much more.
It feels like a clean slate should of been made when Gus G came in, as a lot of the songs were already written before he came on board, so there is not really much of his creative input evident on this album.
This really means it sounds like a lot of the other albums that featured Zakk Wylde on them. It feels in places too close to Black Rain which, sadly I really didn’t much like nor appreciate.
Perhaps bringing in a different producer might of been another good move too, because Kevin Churko also produced Black Rain.
However Ozzy sounds like he is enjoying his music on this record, and that is never a bad thing.
So overall then a good heavy record, that could have and in places should have of been better. I’d still recommend it though as I enjoyed listening to it, and I suspect the songs will continue to grow on me over time.
It will be interesting to see however what Ozzy can come up with with Gus G for the follow up that is of course assuming there is one, after all Ozzy isn’t a prolific album maker.
It would also be nice to see some of this album on any future tour or show.