Review: Ozzy Osbourne, “Scream”

I will keep this review shorter than usual. Or at least I’ll try.

The first thing you need to do when placing the new Ozzy album, “Scream” on the CD player is manage your expectations. This is not going to be another “Diary of a Madman.” But that’s all right; if we judged every Ozzy CD on whether it was going to measure up to “Diary,” we’d have to throw out everything Ozzy has recorded over the last 25 years. That wouldn’t be fair. “Bark at the Moon” and “The Ultimate Sin” weren’t classics like “Diary,” but they were still excellent albums. “No More Tears” and Ozzmosis” also had really strong moments. Perspective is needed here.

“Scream” is the debut of guitarist Gus G in Ozzy’s band … and we all know how exercised Ozzy fans get about his guitar players. I’ve read more than few customer reviews of “Scream” on places like Amazon.com, and there are many, many people out there who dismissed “Scream” out of hand because of Ozzy’s decision to replace Zakk Wylde with Gus G. I understand the loyalty (hey, I always thought Jake E. Lee was a better shredder than Wylde), but to shoot down the album because a new member is in the band is petty. Wylde fans need to put aside hurt feelings (Zakk got over it, so you can, too!) and judge “Scream” on the musical merits.

So, is “Scream” worth your $12? Overall, yes.

First, let’s talk about Ozzy’s voice. He still has one. While it might be hard to believe, Ozzy at 61 can still belt out a full-throated anthem.”Let Me Hear You Scream” is a prime example, with Ozzy in full control and loaded with power.

There are several musical highlights here, including “Let Me Hear You Scream,” “Let It Die” (a song that threw me at first but grew on me with repeat listens), “Soul Sucker” and “Fearless.”

“Life Won’t Wait” is more than a bit reminiscent of “Goodbye to Romance,” but that’s not exactly a slur; as not-quite power ballads go, “Life Won’t Wait” beats the hell out of other Ozzy attempts (“Dreamer” anyone?). “Digging Me Down” is interesting enough to keep me listening and while “Crucify” doesn’t measure up to what has come before, it does give Gus G, bassist Blasko and drummer Tommy Clufetos a moment to showcase their skills.

“Time” is a difficult track. Ozzy has worn his Beatles influences on his sleeve before. Frankly, sometimes it works and sometimes not. For a Ozzy Beatles track, “Time” is pretty successful, with a sweet vocal melody and a powerful enough chorus. The lyrics are a rather syrupy, but you expect a bit of that from Ozzy, no?

There are some filler tracks here, such as the aforementioned “Crucify” and “Latimer’s Mercy.” Those songs aren’t bad per say, but they’re not terribly memorable. “I Want It More” could have been filler, but Ozzy redeems the song with the surprisingly strong chorus. “I Love You All” is more of a fragment than actual song; I suppose it encapsulates Ozzy’s philosophy, but musically it’s too short to really make an impression.

In short, I don’t want my money back for “Scream.” I don’t know if I’ll be spinning it one year from now, but I’ve enjoyed it enough to keep on regular rotation since picking it up. Ozzy’s not dead yet and he proves it. Frankly, I’d given up on the man, so I’d say I’m quite pleasantly surprised.

The entire “Scream” album is streaming on Ozzy’s MySpace page.

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1 Comment

  1. I am excited about Gus G. because I was never a zakk Wyld fan anyway.


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