Ozzy Osbourne – Black Rain (2007, Epic)
- Not Going Away
- I Don’t Wanna Stop
- Black Rain
- Lay Your World On Me
- The Almighty Dollar
- 11 Silver
- Civilize The Universe
- Here For You
- Countdown’s Begun
- Trap Door
Ozzy Osbourne – Vocals
Zakk Wylde – Guitars
Blasko – Bass
Mike Bordin – Drums
Total Time – 46:28
I picked this album up hoping that Ozzy made a good album. I wasn’t overly impressed with his last album, 2001’s DOWN TO EARTH, I thought it was average. I’ve been a fan of Ozzy solo since the beginning. I was a young Metalhead that believed Ozzy to be the craziest man in the world and that his music would always be “dangerous”. Not on this record and I’m disappointed. It’s not that BLACK RAIN is a bad album, it’s just average, nothing special after six years. BLACK RAIN had been streaming online over a month before release but I never checked it out. I heard the first single, ‘I Don’t Wanna Stop’, on the radio but I thought it was just OK. Again, nothing special.
The artwork is not the same, neither is the packaging. It’s exactly like the picture above except that the design is raised. It’s a basic cardboard digipak. Nothing in the middle, no booklet, and the titles/credits on the back cover. There was a code inside for my two free Ozzfest tickets though. I’d gladly trade my two seats for full-color artwork and a booklet.
The record kicks off with ‘Not Going Away’, a mid-tempo rocker that sounds more like Black Label Society/Zakk Wylde than Ozzy. It’s heavy but it doesn’t catch me right away. I did notice the autobiographical lyrics and the vocal enhancements Ozzy is using. ‘I Don’t Wanna Stop’ comes in and I immeadiately like it better than ‘Not Going Away’. Maybe I’m wrong about this single? It’s catchy Black Label with more autobiographical lyrics and vocal enhancements. We all know that Ozzy’s voice is shot, that’s clear when he plays live, but did he need that much studio magic?
I like the opening to ‘Black Rain’ until the harmonica kicks in and I immeadiately think of Warrant’s ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’. Don’t ask me why, it just happens. This is a good tune, sounds a little like classic ’80s Ozzy and that ain’t bad. I like the words here, a little inspriation from the Iraq War and the current state of political affairs in the U.S. ‘Lay Your World On Me’ is a very good ’80s-style ballad. Starts with a mellow drum beat and some haunting guitar and keyboards. Ozzy always puts in a good vocal for the ballads and this is no exception. reminds me of Motley Crue’s ‘Glitter’ from GENERATION SWINE. Same tempo, same vibe. So far this is my favorite track on the disc.
I don’t like the funky bass on ‘The Almighty Dollar’, it spoils my enjoyment of the song. More political commentary and vocal enhancers. Halfway through the album and I’ve accepted the fact that the Oz needs help vocally. This is another mid-tempo cruise, like ‘Not Going Away’. It’s OK but I want to Rock! ’11 Silver’ starts faster but Ozzy’s failing voice kills me. Stop the vocal tricks already and sing!
I like the main Wylde riff running though ‘Civilize The Universe’, another catchy Oz tune. By this time, it sounds like I’ve already heard this song before. Catchy but not memorable, not a classic. A fine solo by Wylde stuck smack in the middle. ‘Here For You’ is Ballad #2 and it’s another solid Ozzy ballad. Again, Oz sounds better singing a slow song rather a fast rocker. I like the piano and strings, very nice.
‘Countdown’s Begun’ features another monster BLS-styled main riff by Mr. Wylde. Ozzy sounds good here even though it’s a chugger. Another song that’s sounds like classic Ozzy. Wylde really impresses come solo time. ‘Trap Door’ has good music but the vocals and lyrics kill it, I’d prefer it as an instrumental definitely.
BLACK RAIN is being billed as “the true follow-up to NO MORE TEARS (1991)” but it doesn’t come close, I think OZZMOSIS (1995) is much better than this record. BLACK RAIN stacks up closer to DOWN TO EARTH, it’s decent but it doesn’t blow me away. And I expect to be blown away by Ozzy. I’ve been giving this non-stop play since I picked it up and nothing really jumps out as memorable. There are some good solid songs but the overall album screams mediocrity. After six years, I expected better. Favorite songs here: ‘Black Rain’, ‘Lay Your World On Me’, ‘Here For You’ and ‘Countdown’s Begun’. I’m also starting to like ‘I Don’t Wanna Stop’, probably due to the constant bombardment of local radio. I’m not done with this album yet. I’m going to keep it in my rotation and hope that it’s a grower. Maybe I’ll change my mind on a few songs.