Black Rain-Ozzy Osbourne

Black Rain

Ozzy Osbourne

2007

Epic Records

There seems to be an underlying theme running through Ozzy Osbourne’s ninth studio album “Black Rain.” Released in 2007, it was the first album Ozzy had released in about six years. Combing over this album, it seems the Ozz-man felt he had something to prove to those criticizing his abilities to perform any longer. His attempts were not in vain, however, because the album went Gold in the United States.

This album was not in the least, “typical Ozzy,” and it’s safe to say that was exactly what he had in mind while creating it. Songs like “The Almighty Dollar,” even came off as sounding as if they were diving into a 90’s alternative territory, a place one wouldn’t expect to find an Ozzy tune. “The Almighty Dollar” begins with a strong bass line that continues onto the first verse, overlayed by Ozzy’s vocals, where the 90’s sound works. Many of the songs had a powerful metal sound, but at times lacked substantial lyrics.

For over 20 years, guitarist Zakk Wylde leant his musical talents to Ozzy Osbourne’s records. However, with the release of “Black Rain,” the musical relationship between New Jersey native Wylde and the Prince of Darkness came to an end.  Although there was no clear reason for Wylde’s departure, “Black Rain” would be the last studio album to feature the guitarist.

The riffs on this album are complicated, but aren’t always riveting. Wylde’s signature pinch harmonic makes an appearance in nearly every song, making the sound distinct to Wylde and not Osbourne. This really hurt the album, as it could be construed (obviously without having heard the vocals) that the songs could be from Zakk Wylde’s band, Black Label Society.

There were promising songs on this album, but nothing extraordinary. Ozzy has showed over the years that he is never afraid to let his emotions show in his music. “Black Rain” features two ballads “Lay Your World on Me” and “Here for You.”  “Lay Your World on Me” is a pleading slower song with a deeper tone, where “Here for You” seems a bit more uplifting and features more instrumental pieces.

The radio hit “I Don’t Wanna Stop” solidifies Ozzy’s reassurance that he, unlike many other rock stars of his stature, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. However, once again, it comes off sounding similar to Black Label Society. Still, it’s a fast and heavy tune with a lot of energy.

A benefit to this album would have been to show and not tell. Ozzy is a music icon, a founding member of Black Sabbath and a musician who has had a hand in creating heavy metal.  He didn’t need to say anything about still being capable of kicking metal in the ass, just making an album would have been sufficient. His vocals are still as strong as ever—I mean, come on, the man can really belt out a wicked note. His music is still a conduction of high energy and passion, and it’s evident on every song on this album. Proving anything just seems unnecessary, and gnaws at the back of my neck while I listen and can be quite distracting. The fact of the matter is that fans still would have bought the album, because it’s Ozzy Osbourne.

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