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After the infinite boredom of the previous "Black rain", a very poor cover album and the departure of guitar player Zakk Wylde, I thought that this would mean the end for the prince of darkness and I didn't expect anything from the new album.
Well, I was completely wrong and got blown away by this album. Maybe it's because this is the very first album that Ozzy entirely reminds to have written, sung and composed or because of the influence of the new guitar player Gus G. Whatever the reason is, Ozzy sounds fresh and hungry on this album and has nothing of an old and broken madman. This album really kicks ass and is not only concentrated on the older Ozzy albums from the eighties, but adds some new and interesting elements as well.
The opener "Let it die" is already a big suprise and really heavy and controversial stuff. The song structure is cut into pieces with its industrial sound and eerie rap like verses with weird voice effects and may shock the old and traditional Ozzy fan. But he seems to be amused to shock us from time to time, like in the very modern, industrial and almost Neue Deutsche Härte like "Latimer's mercy".
But don't be afraid, there are also some more simple and traditional songs like the very powerful first hit single "Let me hear you scream" or the more melodic "I want it more".
The rest of the album contains a few average heavy rock songs and one or two expected ballads. Those songs are more traditional and ordinary, but there is still nothing bad about them and no fan of Ozzy Osbourne should be in a mood of deception about this album.
But the two very experimental songs as well as the more traditional but very powerful other two songs are just great and make me hope that the prince of darkness will not transcend into hell and dig his grave, but work on another ressurection. He really shows us here that he still has something to say and that he is quite well alive!
For an alternative title, I would like to present ‘The Ozzy Problem.’ Is there any figure in metal so universally praised and equally hated as Ozzy Osbourne? He’s praised somewhat indirectly for his invaluable contributions to the first six Black Sabbath albums, and a lot of people really dig his early solo stuff, but he’s also really hated for the fact that he had a reality show about his family on TV and also for the numerous acts of douchebaggery that he has committed ever since. Goddammit, you horse’s ass, THE NAME OF BLACK SABBATH WILL NEVER BE YOURS!
Ahem. Like I was saying. He has a new solo album out. And it’s called Scream…which I am sure many people will want to, after hearing this pile of computerized vocal effects and downtuned guitar chugging. But I’m here to offer a more balanced perspective, as well as an answer to the question of, why hasn’t he died yet? You might be saying that’s bullshit. You might be asking, if a team of crack-commando scientists couldn’t do it, how could one music reviewer from Florida possibly find the answer? Well, I did. It took me hours and hours of poring over evidence compiled from years of listening and observing, but I finally did it. Are you ready? I’ll give you an extra line to prepare, for those who are faint-hearted among you. Be warned. This might be shocking.
If you remember the jokes about Fidel Castro living so long because he had clones over there in Cuba ready for when he died to take over for him…well, that’s true about Ozzy. It really is! You see, Ozzy in the 80s knew his life would go downhill soon, what with the increasing amount with which he needed to take drugs. He knew he would become a vegetable. So as he got richer and richer, his wife Sharon started to realize this, too – fearing, no doubt, for her thinning wallet if this ever did come to pass. So they hired a team of renegade scientists to come up with a formula to keep him alive. However, the only conceivable way to do this was to create a new duplicate Osbourne each time the original one decomposed too far, using the flesh and bones of selected fans at his concerts to construct a new body each time. This was covered up every time, and all accusations denied.
So he lives on, creating mediocre works like this one, while countless promising young people are sacrificed for his benefit!
I will now review this piece, for the good of mankind altogether. I must reveal the truth. Scream is a confused work, an album with the notion that it is doing something new and different from the works of previous albums, which featured the super-downtuned and simplistic American stylings of Zakk Wylde. It tries to accomplish this originality by bringing in Firewind shredder Gus G…who does not do anything any differently. Yes, this guitarist famous for shredding solos and classic metal riffs does little to distinguish himself from Wylde’s shadow here, honestly begging the question of why the hell even bother changing guitarists if they’re both going to be playing the same kind of stuff. Weird.
The songwriting here is a little more varied from what I vaguely remember of the previous Ozzy studio album Black Rain, with a few nods to old school Sabbath in the surprisingly progressive structure of “Life Won’t Wait,” which has bleak acoustic guitars that build up into an atmospheric crescendo, and the dreary epic “Diggin’ Me Down,” which has a few really rocking moments after the initial slow build up. A lot of songs are shorter and more pugilistic, as was expected in the first place…”Let Me Hear You Scream” being the penultimate one, with groovy guitars and a big shout along chorus for all the mall kiddies to sing along with. It is as catchy as any given cancer you could think of. After the first four songs, though, there is little to really break up the monotony in both songwriting and mood.
I really do think the main problem with this is the emotional mood and texture. It’s just too pessimistic and dark, but it doesn’t even seem to know what it’s pessimistic and dark about. These songs are layered with a thick coating of overly sentimental sorrow, but there isn’t much direction to it; the songs do not really seem to know where they’re going. I like some of the chord progressions in the more detailed songs (“Life Won’t Wait” being the best one by far), but there aren’t enough of those, and a lot of the rest of the songs are indistinguishable from one another. “Fearless” kicks up a little dust, but snoozers like “Time” and the grueling “Latimer’s Mercy” drag the album right back down.
And that brings us to the Ozzman himself. The keeper of the graves, the master of brooding, the one we all fear at night…pfft, who the hell am I even kidding? His nasal whine has degenerated into a hoarse, overly loud croak, aided mostly by computers. Think of it like Darth Vader from Star Wars, if Darth Vader was a wacky 70s drug addict who turned into a robotic, near-catatonic zombie instead of what he really was. Ozzy here is a shadow of himself, trying his best, but seemingly unable to do anything without the aid of his trusty vocal special effects panel. And it’s annoying. Really annoying at times, even. I think the worst offenders are that vocoder thing at the beginning of “Soul Sucker” and his strained squealing on “Let Me Hear You Scream,” but even then, pick any song and you’re liable to find some other candidate.
Ozzman, I’m afraid to tell you…your age is showing. And has been for years now.
So that’s Scream. It’s mostly weird and annoying, with the occasional good part here and there. It’s not one of the worst of the year, but it sure as hell isn’t one of the best, either. It’s mostly just kind of there; without really doing much to offend or please anyone in any way. The murky fog of morose depression that is caked all over this really makes it hard to enjoy, and the vocals pretty much put the final nail in that coffin.
But please, Ozzy, just retire. There’s no shame in that. And to the readers, I urge you to call 1-800-699-4357 if you know anyone who has been to an Ozzy Osbourne concert and who may not have returned from it. This is an epidemic that must stop, I believe, for the good of all mankind in general.
The Final Frontier
Sure, there are depressing moments, akward singing and somewhat one dimensional lyrical production, but no one can argue if Ozzy didnt this time deliver a solid studio album once again. I wont listen to the other comments about this masterpiece, because music isn't rational: its all about emotion. And if you arent a sensitive person who likes to talk about feelings, dont listen to Ozzy! Because Ozzy is all about emotion. Ozzy clamped up a solid metal album and is now the ruling prince in the metal industry. Not Ozzy only in his solo career defined classic rock, he also made a truly groundbreaking revelations with the Scream- album. Scream album is an original release, which defines modern heavy metal music.
Scream consists on hard rockers, sheerly sensitive love ballads and some Black Sabbath- inspired atmosphere. Let It Die sets Dio in grave for good, with being testosterone filled badass rocker. Let Me Hear You Scream wins the old school Sabbath fans into Ozzys side with this two dimensional effect. Life Wont Wait is the testament of the Godfather of both classic and modern rock, while Digging Me Downs digs up very deep brain orgasms. Soul Sucka sucks the listener into a hypomania. There are also lots of aquistic intros, that fits for Ozzys artist profile. Ozzy screams and rages through his songs in this one.
Ozzy sounds evil, fresh and emotional like never before. Ozzy has showed up to this point that he is a capable song writer. Scream is one of Ozzys strongest albums and best since Ozzmosis. Lyrics creates a deep and dark atmosphere, although they start at some point to be somewhat repertitive. Lyrics are one of Screams highlights. On Latimer's Case Ozzy sings like in Eternal Funeral or Little Dolls. The doomy sound and the asswipe styled band playing gets the job fairly done. The new Guitarist Gus. G sounds excactly like Zakk Wylde, althought being a way better. Lets hope this is the last chapter in Ozzys career, what a great way to finish a career! Get this album or Ozzy will get you!
As if Chris Cornell's "Scream" wasn't enough to make us forget about the great album that Tony Martin put out with the same name, the Osbournes and their merry band of yes-men decided to also use the title after the infamous "Soul Sucka" idea fell through. This album is also noteworthy for being the first to feature Rob Zombie/Ted Nugent drummer Tommy Clufetos and Firewind/Dream Evil guitarist Gus G., the latter of whom replacing longtime collaborator Zakk Wylde. But as the old saying goes: The more things change, the more they stay the same...
While this album was hyped as taking Ozzy into a more Sabbath-like direction, it's fairly safe to say that the sound on here is more or less the same as that of 2007's "Black Rain." Granted most of the songs on here are fairly ballad-like and focus on slower tempos but the sludgy riffs and processed vocals from the last few albums are still around and used extensively. There are also a few more complex numbers than usual but most songs typically stick with the expectedly accessible hooks and choruses.
As expected, the band performance is somewhat disjointed though it's not for the reason that the Zakk fanboys may expect. On a technical level, Gus does a pretty good job with what he's been given though he never really puts his personal power metal stamp on anything here. I'm going to guess that this has a lot to do with him not having written anything on this album and thus being forced into a sessional role for the time being. Hopefully this changes on future efforts; "Down To Earth" similarly faltered when Zakk was left out of that album's writing sessions. In the meantime, Ozzy himself continues to struggle through the effects that have completely taken over his voice and the rhythm section doesn't really stand out too often. Another talented lineup overall though still a little sad when you take past ensembles into consideration...
But for what it's worth, the first three songs do start the album off on a fairly decent note. "Let It Die" and "Soul Sucker" are both particularly memorable tracks due to the former's verse/chorus contrasts and the latter's use of talk box during the main riff (Are you sure Zakk is gone? They're still milking his trademarks for all they're worth!) and "Let Me Hear You Scream" is a fairly catchy track in spite of it feeling rather forced at times. After that, nothing stands out quite as much though songs like "Diggin' Me Down" and "Latimer's Mercy" attempt to go into more adventurous territory. Unfortunately it's never fully realized and "I Love You All" seems to only add insult to injury in spite of it being an affectionate note to the man's legion of fans. I can't help but think Saxon did that sort of thing better with "Denim And Leather" but that's just me...
Sadly the lyrics aren't much better and you can tell just by the titles that these are some of the most generic that Ozzy has ever sung. At this point, the tried and true themes of personal introspection and enjoying yourself have really worn thin and end up sounding more preachy than fun. There are some signs of promise in the ethical dilemma of "Latimer's Mercy" and the religious themes on "Diggin' Me Down" and "Crucify," but it feels like it may be too little, too late. And didn't Ozzy just co-write a song on Slash's solo album called "Crucify The Dead?" That and some of the other titles like "Time" just scream (no pun intended) laziness to me!
I'm rather sorry to say this, but this is one of the weakest albums of Ozzy's career and may only be above "Down To Earth" in the overall hierarchy. The musicians are still plagued by modern influences, the songwriting is still written and executed in a rather mechanical fashion, the production is sterile, and the band doesn't feel as unified as it could be. At this point, the only thing that could save Ozzy and his crew from the creatively bankrupt path that they are going down would be if the band got rid of the outside collaborators and just wrote all the music by themselves. After all, that is why "Blizzard Of Ozz" and "Diary Of A Madman" are still such terrific albums: They were BAND efforts! If anything, it'd have some damn interesting results when looking at the band member's backgrounds...
Whatever the case, here's hoping that Black Label Society's "Order Of The Black" is stronger than this collection. Especially since the rejected songs that Zakk wrote during the "Down To Earth" sessions became the foundation for the surprisingly solid "1919 Eternal..."
My Current Favorites:
"Let It Die," "Let Me Hear You Scream," "Soul Sucker," and "Diggin' Me Down,"
It is said that there is nothing new under the sun, but apparently Ozzy decided to take this mantra a little too literally in the past few years. Sure, there are nuances that can be found here and there between his various studio offerings since “No More Tears”. Perhaps a little more keyboards here, perhaps a heavier, muddier guitar sound there; but the overriding formula of sludgy rock, heavily restrained by the confines of modernity, continues to dominate the Ozzman’s musical paradigm. This model, although it can vary pretty strongly in overall quality, imposes a glass ceiling somewhere between the upper reaches of mediocrity and the lower realms of quality songwriting that Ozzy has yet to be able to break through.
The replacement of longtime guitarist Zakk Wylde with famed Mystic Prophecy, Firewind, Dream Evil, and Nightrage axe man Gus G. has done little to change the overall character of Ozzy’s studio offerings, as the Greek born shredder can boast of a very adaptive and versatile approach to the instrument. The only thing that really jumps out as a huge difference in the guitar presentation here is a somewhat chunkier, but still fairly muddy rhythm tone and a lead approach that goes easier on the scream harmonics and generally complements the arrangement rather than fighting it. Even the token ballad “Life Won’t Wait”, which has a strong “See You On The Other Side” character to it, is blessed with a set of somewhat fancy leads that manage not to be so flamboyantly in your face.
But for all of slightly improved areas and general consistency in Ozzy’s newest lineup of support musicians, “Scream” doesn’t really succeed in much apart from coasting on right where “Black Rain” left off. Only a couple songs on here really make any waves apart from the standard, by the book, modern rock formula with some doom metal smatterings that have been present from the past 15 years or so. “Let It Die” throws in a fair number of remembered elements from Sabbath’s early 70s glory days, complete with a direct homage riff to “Children Of The Grave” just after the guitar solo section, and pretty well succeeds in being both catchy and hard hitting. “Diggin’ Me Down” also reaches into the past a bit with an acoustic intro that distantly resembles a number of acoustic intros during the Rhandy Rhoads era of Ozzy’s career, meshed in with plenty of slow trudging, muddy sludge out of the current model that Osbourne has been playing off of.
Having said all of that, the bulk of the contents on here generally range from formulaic rock to annoying quasi-grunge drivel. “Let Me Hear You Scream” is a somewhat more animated and more riff happy version of “I Don’t Wanna Stop” with Ozzy making a half-hearted attempt at sounding aggressive. It’s catchy enough, but it wears thin pretty quick and becomes interchangeable with a number of songs put out here and there since “No More Tears”. Beyond this, most of this stuff simply sees Gus and company continuing the tired mixture of tinny sounding clean sections and droning, effects heavy mud piles that could almost be mistaken for Godsmack or Machine Head about 6 years ago. “Soul Sucker” stands out in being a near 100% throwback to Ozzy’s most decrepit creation “Down To Earth”, but more than half of the contents on here can be seen as referring back to that era and simply pumping a measured amount of energy and flash in to give it a little more appeal.
In the end, perhaps newness can still be found in the approach that one takes towards mixing and matching all of the established methods of song creation, but there isn’t really much of that to be found here. The only thing that I really got out of this album is yet another confirmation of why I prefer Gus G. as a player to Zakk Wylde. There isn’t really a recommendation that can be given here apart from those who enjoyed “Black Rain”, and rabid Ozzy completists are encouraged to seek this well below full price. Instead of titling this album “Scream”, Ozzy might have done well to call it “Coast” or maybe “Stagnate”, if for nothing else than the sheer sake of full disclosure.
You know, I've always been an Ozzy fan ever since I was about 3 or 4 and my father introduced me to him among bands I still love to this day. I remember the awesome guitar riffs thanks to the god of the six string, Randy Rhodes. I also remember the crushing atmosphere of songs like Bark at the Moon and Diary of a Madman. When I think Ozzy, I think nostalgia. I also think of how I began my journey on the metal road that I still walk this day. Nobody hasn't heard of Ozzy Osbourne, especially since hits like Crazy Train, Flying High Again and No More Tears hit the radio, not to mention his media exposure with the Osbourne's Show. The problem is that he's so washed up now that it's tough to listen to him. He broke his neck, struggled with addiction and has had many tough aspects with his life. It's no wonder his music has taken a dive, only he still decided to continue his career. After a long hiatus, Ozzy returned with the sophomoric release, Black Rain. It was a...well...different sound to his melodic heavy metal. I did in fact enjoy the release, but it was way worse than anything that he released before No More Tears.
Scream is the newest addition to the Ozzy discography. I first saw the cover when I logged on to this site about a month ago and all I could say is "goddammit". I then instantly went to youtube and listened to the title track, "Let Me Hear You Scream" and I wanted to vomit. I seriously cried at the fact that Ozzy was this bad. I remember seeing him do live shit last decade and he was horrible at that as well. He's one of the geriatric old men of metal that should have quit, especially concerning his past uses of drugs and hospitalization.
Zakk Wylde was fired in late September 2009, but you know, I really can't tell at all. All the riffs sound exactly like Zakk's. I thought this was horribly ironic. Gus G is a great guitarist and I enjoy a lot of Firewind's music, but on this it seriously sounded like he just tried to mimic Zakk. I even wondered if Zakk would sue him for copyright infringement it was that bad. Ozzy stated that the reason that he let Zakk go was because his music was "beginning to sound like Black Label Society". Now that is a perfectly legitimate reason to fire a guitarist, however, hiring a power metal guitarist and telling him to sound exactly like the previous guitarist is asinine.
Ozzy's vocals are (as always) the central focus of the album. It's slightly better than Black Rain, but it didn't impress me all that much. I thought it basically sounded like a raspy, tone deaf, less melodic Ozzy. Even the lyrics were horrible, not that they were ever amazing. I felt a little less depressed then when I heard Black Rain. Honestly it was mediocre, but it was extremely boring to hear Ozzy say something along the lines of "I am black and I'm bruised, beat up but still I take blows" every song. Yeah, Ozzy, you've dealt with a lot, but you're still a has been.
All in all, I guess I liked the title track a bit, as it's a bit catchy, but other than that, nothing stood out to me due to the fact that I was just so used to the way Ozzy used to sound. Everybody loves the original Ozzy. Diary of a Madman, Blizzard of Oz, Bark at the Moon...all great, all classics. Scream will go down in history the same as Nostradamus did - a crappy attempt to re-energize the band and start a new sound. Well Ozzy, Just quit while you're ahead, so you can at least end your career with some dignity.
Highlights: Let me Hear you Scream