“Black Rain” by Ozzy Osbourne

Artist: Ozzy Osbourne
Title: “Black Rain”
Label: Epic Records
Release Date: 5/22/2007
Genre: Heavy Metal/Hard Rock
Rating: 2/5

“Blizzard Of Ozz”, “Diary Of A Madman” and in some cases “Bark At The Moon” are all long regarded as masterpieces from the productive solo career of the legendary Ozzy Osbourne so when the singer announced he would be releasing his first studio album in six years the Metal community was a buzz with excitement. The return to the studio would find him releasing “Black Rain”, an album that that the singer announced was comparable to the work on “No More Tears” in terms of quality but as I listened to the album I found that this was very far from being the case. From beginning to end the new Ozzy album is pretty much a dud with absolutely little in the way of exciting material or songs that stick in one’s memory past the initial listen. I admit that it was disappointing for me to get this perception about the album from the man who gave us “Over The Mountain” and “Crazy Train” but I am sure you will find the same when you hear the overall flatness of songs like “I Don’t Wanna Stop” or “The Almighty Dollar”. For the most part Ozzy is telling us how much he loves doing what he does and how he is “Not Going Away” because he is still crazy and nothing we can do will change what he will say. While the track starts off with a chugging groove that might make for a better Black Label Society tune, the lyrical content of the tune is just simple sing song drivel.

During “I Don’t Wanna Stop” it’s almost like he is trying to create to have the tune be the one that the audience will sing along with but it’s so unexciting except for Zakk’s lead break that I hardly see it happening. Ozzy shows his emotionally supportive side during “Lay Your World On Me” where he informs the audience that he is there for their pain, their anger and to be the rock that they need in life. Now, I am really having problems coming up with a response for that one since it just raised the cheese factor of the release up a few notches. “I’m Here For You” comes up a few tracks later and its the one where you need to use your lighter or cell phone during the show and brighten up the crowd as you hold hands with the one you love or perhaps its level of sappiness would find you using the cell phone to find out where friends are gathered so you could get away from the tune as quickly as possible. You see I am not against the Ozzman delivering a ballad but this stuff just seems too contrived for my liking. I did enjoy the title track more than most of the others and should you be one of those who love to read the lyrics as you listen, well you get them in the enclosed booklet but as I said they are not that spectacular and rather mundane when it comes down to it.

The band for the release is of course Zakk Wylde on guitar, while Mike Bordin plays drums and Blasko the bass. They sound solid and locked into one another but outside of songs like “11 Silver” and “Trap Door” there is very little that we are offered that allows them to kick the level of ass that they are quite capable of. I want to think of this album as an experiment that failed for the singer because its either that or he is no longer able to give us tunes that will withstand the tests of time in Metal’s history book. I honestly don’t know how he compared this to “No More Tears” as that release had some good numbers on it and is still an album that I listen to today – I can’t see this happening with “Black Rain” and fear it will become one of the forgotten CD’s in my collection. It’s not even a release that you would want to give to a new Metal fan as it could possibly sour the whole genre for them. Given the fact that Iron Maiden and Judas Priest are still able to release strong material that is exciting in concert I am hoping that Ozzy will be able to get back on track himself. If he doesn’t then it will not matter that he is never going away and here for us because the audience will have moved on by then most assuredly.

Editor’s Note: A re-release of this CD was issued six months after its debut and this one includes a bonus CD that features live versions of some of the albums tracks (oh joy) and a couple of unreleased numbers. I did not have a copy of that one to review but perhaps if you choose to adventure into “Black Rain” territory it would be better to buy the one with the extra tunes.

Track Listing:
1. Not Going Away
2. I Don’t Wanna Stop
3. Black Rain
4. Lay Your World On Me
5. The Almighty Dollar
6. 11 Silver
7. Civilize The Universe
8. Here For You
9. Countdown’s Begun
10. Trap Door

Official Website: www.ozzyosbourne.com

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