Produced by Ozzy Osbourne, Kevin Churko
Released June 21, 2010
Drug abuse, alcoholism, animal blood, quad bike crashes, his wife — many have tried and some have come incredibly close to handing his (im)mortal soul over to the cold embrace of the grim reaper, but it seems nothing can kill rock super-god, Ozzy Osbourne.
I am a huge fan of Ozzy-era Black Sabbath and listening to those albums inevitably led me to the Ozzy solo albums. When I listen to any new Ozzy album I pretty much know what I’m going to get — a livelier, faster, even lighter sound than his previous band, it’s just whether he can deliver on all that hope I reserve for the original Black Sabbath lead singer. So far he hasn’t let me down and this year the Prince of Darkness released his tenth solo album, Scream.
The build up to this latest release was both exciting and a little disappointing. In the time since 2007’s surprisingly effective Black Rain, Ozzy has been on the hunt for an exciting new guitar player to replace the departing Zakk Wylde. His search eventually lead him to a relatively unknown but stunningly talented addition in Gus G. Also on Ozzy’s agenda was a new name for the album. Originally titled Soul Sucka until Ozzy fans, thankfully, let it be known in vast numbers that such a title would be a very bad idea (Soul Sucka? What next – Krazee Train?), he eventually went with — the only marginally better — Scream.
Ozzy is part of a small group of musicians still going strong after 40-something years of making music. He is part of a group smaller still who are still sounding good and Ozzy is really on form on this album. His voice sounds great, especially on tracks “Fearless,” “Soul Sucker,” and “Crucify.” This is the best he has sounded for many years.
With such a rich guitar history, having worked with the likes of Randy Rhoads, Zakk Wylde, and Jake E. Lee, it’s impossible not to listen to an Ozzy album and not spend a great deal of time, at least on the first play, listening intently to what the guitarist is doing. This is Ozzy’s first album with new guitarist, Gus G., who has played with the likes of Firewind, Arch Enemy, and Dream Evil. Let me tell you, the boy can play! He sounds quite similar to Wylde, lots of heavy, aggressive riffs showcased best on tracks “Let Me Hear You Scream,” “Diggin’ Me Down,” and “I Want It More,” but with less of the pinched harmonics and squeals.
Gus G.’s guitar syncs up perfectly with returning bass player Rob “˜Blasko’ Nicholson (Rob Zombie) who in turn links up brilliantly with drummer Tommy Clufetos (Rob Zombie, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper). Let’s face it, the role of the bass and drums is to create a platform for the stars of the show to demonstrate what they’ve got. Well, that should be the case, but Nicholson and Clufetos show that they are not to be ignored by creating a heavy, aggressive yet energetic rhythm section.
If the rumours are to be believed this will be Ozzy’s penultimate album. If that proves to be true that will be a real shame because on this evidence he still has so much to offer. He is still able to write fresh, interesting metal music and “Let Me Hear You Scream” is one of the best rock/metal songs I’ve heard this year. Just get someone else to name the albums.