Ozzy Osbourne – ‘Affected person Quantity 9’ assessment: hard-rock magic

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It appears like one thing of a miracle that Ozzy Osbourne is about to launch his thirteenth solo studio album. The metallic icon’s well being struggles have been well-documented lately, whether or not he’s been making ready for “life-changing” surgical procedure, inflicted by repeated bouts of staph or testing constructive for COVID-19. However, on ‘Affected person Quantity 9’, he sounds removed from the frail man the swirl of headlines would possibly recommend. As an alternative, that is Ozzy invigorated and able to do what he does greatest – rock the fuck out.

You’ll be able to inform his well being has been weighing on his thoughts, although. The album’s lyrics usually return to the themes of mortality (or lack thereof), Hell and a bleak outlook on the longer term. “My coronary heart’s beating, buried alive,” he sings unsettlingly on the crunching ‘Useless And Gone’. “Open my eyes, my soul gained’t survive.” However for each despondent second, there’s a flash of resilience and stubbornness. “God solely is aware of what’s happening / My life has grow to be the setting solar,” he begins in resignation on ‘God Solely Is aware of’, however swiftly throws a constructive spin on all of it: “Higher to burn in Hell than fade away.” Earlier, on the scorching six-string wizardry of ‘Immortal’, he makes a promise as gigantic as his legendary standing: “However I’ll by no means die / ‘Trigger I’m immortal.

Simply because Osbourne isn’t precisely hurtling in direction of tomorrow with pleasure, it doesn’t imply he’s wanting again with rose-tinted spherical glasses, thoughts. There’s no room for wistful nostalgia within the Prince of Darkness’ newest missive – positive, proper now, there’s confusion, paranoia and ache on the planet, and a scarcity of hope for what’s to come back, however he’s clever sufficient to know there’s little level in reliving previous glories. “There’s a thousand totally different shades of darkness colouring our destiny,” he declares on ‘A Thousand Shades’. “The previous is lifeless; the longer term’s haunted.” Life, it appears, is a lose-lose scenario for the Prince of Fucking Darkness.

‘Affected person Quantity 9’ isn’t doom and gloom, although. It’s an exhilarating rattle by way of a number of the sludgiest, most blistering riffs dedicated to document this yr – and the Satan Osbourne so usually cites seeps into his nature sometimes. ‘Degradation Guidelines’ is a harmonica-laced ode to debauchery and a few very dangerous alone time. “Asphyxiation, masturbation / Degradation guidelines,” Ozzy narrates. All of it seems OK, although, the Brummie legend catching up with the protagonist the morning after: “Used up all his power / He wakes up with a twinkle in his eye.”

Osbourne’s second album in two years, this new document takes 2020’s ‘Odd Man’’s lead and goes massive on the collaborations. As an alternative of that album’s unlikely team-ups with Submit Malone and Travis Scott, right here issues make much more sense. ‘Affected person Quantity 9’ is chock-full of huge rock names equivalent to Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, who seems on ‘Immortal’. In but additional proof that cancel tradition isn’t actually a factor, Jeff Beck – set to tour North America with Johnny Depp – lends a hand on the eerie title monitor and ‘A Thousand Shades’, whereas Eric Clapton spools out a craving melody on ‘One Of These Days’.

Most enjoyable of all, although, is the looks of Ozzy’s former Black Sabbath bandmate Tony Iommi. The guitarist pops up on two songs – maybe unsurprisingly, they’re two of the very best cuts on this document. In addition to ‘Degradation Guidelines’, he electrifies ’No Escape From Now’ with a towering riff that drives the track with fittingly darkish tones and chords that land like sledgehammers. It’s the primary time Iommi has appeared on one in every of Ozzy’s solo albums and he greater than lives as much as the momentousness of the event.

As miraculous as ‘Affected person Quantity 9’ feels, not each track fairly earns its place on the document. The ultimate monitor, ‘Darkside Blues’, may very well be nice if it had been fleshed out extra. As an alternative, it appears like one thing you hear within the distance, blown over by a gust of wind. A harmonica units the bluesy tone earlier than Osbourne’s indecipherable, echoey vocals drift in after which, lower than two minutes later, it dissipates once more. ‘Mr Darkness’, too, appears like somewhat little bit of a dud, the muddy guitars that make up a lot of the remainder of the document diluted into one thing watery and missing influence on the verses. Guitarist Zakk Wylde ramps issues up for the refrain, but it surely doesn’t reside as much as the usual that he, his legendary boss or any of Ozzy’s different collaborators set elsewhere.

At 73 years previous and battling along with his well being, you won’t count on Osbourne to maintain that bar significantly excessive. However, for essentially the most half, ‘Affected person Quantity 9’ does simply that – it’s a fizzing piece of hard-rock magic. The superstitious metallic frontman may need revealed in a current Impartial interview that he tries to “keep away from taking a look at” the quantity 13, however we’re fortunate to have his magnificent thirteenth solo album.

Particulars

Label: Columbia Information

Launch date: September 9

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