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Can't even groove well - 28%

gasmask_colostomy, July 6th, 2016

No, this isn't big and it isn't clever, but it isn't quite the "steaming pile of shit" that some would have you believe. Having abandoned heavy metal as Black Sabbath helped create and indeed as the early Ozzy albums helped define, the majority of 'Down to Earth' is dominated by hulking, lumpen, downtuned riffs, but not in the way that 'Master of Reality' fits that description, since we are deep in the precincts of groove metal. Perhaps it's also worth considering that this was supposed to sound like a nu metal album, what with Ozzfest having played host to bands such as Korn and Coal Chamber, though the style is more mixed than all that, sometimes changing from groove to pop to Ozzy all in about a minute, so some of the songs end up a bit messy.

Beginning with 'No Easy Way Out' seems a good way to explain just what this album is about. The general sound of it is very familiar, right from the opening clean notes that come from something I've heard before, then the juddering nu groove riff that clatters in a few seconds later. Ozzy's vocals are a bit wonky in the verse (the pitch seems a little off), then at 0:53 the same rising chord progression from 'No More Tears' comes in; however, here it ends in anticlimax and goes back into the same grinding verse. We rinse and repeat, break for a quiet and sort-of-creepy-sort-of-ballad section where Ozzy's voice is distorted, which bursts out into a thoroughly overblown solo that keeps the same groove riff behind it and follows up with another 'No More Tears' chorus.

There are lots of other songs on 'Down to Earth' that remind strongly of other (better) Ozzy material and other bands too. The most obvious nu metal steal is the main riff from 'Junkie', which borrows the stop-start buzz of Korn's 'A.D.I.D.A.S.' almost wholesale, while the "lead" section at 2:35 is snipped from Godsmack, though thankfully is just part of a longer solo. The most offputting thing about the songs like 'Junkie' and 'No Easy Way Out' is that the nu groove style wasn't even carried through in its entirety, since it seemed that the whole team of writers couldn't think of a chorus to match. Therefore, after a loping groove verse, we switch back to a more traditional style in the chorus, which frequently sounds ridiculous because it loses the minor amount of coolness that the groove had built up. 'You Know... (Pt.1)' also confuses the fuck out of me, because it isn't really a song, just a random interlude with singing, plus it beats me what happened to part 2, which (mercifully) still hasn't turned up 15 years later. There's also 'Dreamer', which is one of those utterly shit Ozzy ballads that doesn't belong on a metal album and probably wouldn't make it onto a John Lennon one either, but I don't want to talk about that.

As for the strong points of this album, they won't take very long. A few of the songs have vaguely decent riffs for the groove style, such as the riff for the solo in 'Black Illusion' or the main riff of 'That I Never Had' (although I think that's from 'Party with the Animals', the B-side to 'No More Tears'). Some of the solos are not bad, though not really highlighted by the production or within the songs. Although 'Facing Hell' never changes pace, it's easily the best song here and I'm happy to say that I would listen to that without shame or a sense of irony. Other than that, there a few half-decent songs, but we aren't looking at much of a collection - full half the album sucks.

I suppose it's in 'Down to Earth''s favour that it's shorter than 'Ozzmosis', but don't expect much except an attempt at groove metal paired with some poor typical Ozzy parts. I prefer Machine Head's 'Supercharger' to this. Let that be a warning.

Down to compromising - 79%

Genzel, January 2nd, 2010

Down with the groove Ozzman went, and never ever came back. Out of shape, out of ideas and obviously out of money, because Osbourne went on and wrote this album. Its mixture of brand new rock tunes and the shuffly metal compositions. After the release, Osbourne went to a new world tour and published some metal concerts from this tour. Is it a complete waste of time, effort, energy and money? Is it any good after Ozzman quit drinking?

Well, at least the record is without any concept. Its the same old "I aint the Iron Man" stuff. Osbournes last concept album was No rest for the wicked, and it was also more of a rock influenced record. Without any respect toward the Rhoads or Lee eras, the albums songs blatantly last four minutes with a simple lyrical line, a midway solo and the pop hook that just isnt any good.

The records are some throwaway post Sabbath riffing and weird metal tunes. Black Illusion shatters the dreams of the listener with going to the cheesy "yeah baby"- stuff which became Osbournes trademark after Lemmy began writing songs with the madman. No easy way out has some lyrical dimension, so does Facing Hell. The unambigous Junkie isnt that good in itself. Some heart was put onto the writings of Osbournes eight studio album.

Propably you won't hear anything that Ozzy hadn't done before, because its a mix of medicoricity, cheesyness and humilitatingly average solos. All in all, this album is nothing but Osbournes worst studio effort. It has few metal and rock tunes that are good, but otherwise it just doesn't show anything new in the arena of metal. Osbournes singing is the in the worst shape of his career, even though Tim Palmer is a good song writer as you can see in the songs.

It has some mood and will light your mind if you are hungry for getting your mood to elevate. It will elevate your mood, but in short, it does nothing but. If you want a real Ozzy record, go for any record except this. But if you are a freak or in a bad shape in your life, this album might bring you some hope. Its not hopeless to listen to this record, because, as life itself, it has its bright sides. Its like listening to a monday morning garbage dump, because the riffs are schorchy, not that monday mornings are good anyway. Waste some time, have some ball and listen to this record if you are in a state of apathy.

Down to Groovin'. - 26%

hells_unicorn, November 12th, 2007

It’s hard to reconcile the praise that some gave to this rather grotesque album with what one actually hears when it starts playing. Such euphemisms as modern and industrial often get thrown around when discussing “Down to Earth”, combined with the assertion that Ozzy is showing us his human side, reflecting the album’s title. In retrospect, this was the logical first step to the reality show craze that followed shortly after, or more likely the effect of the corrupting influence that reality TV and reality style rock lyrics have had upon the hapless Ozzman. Regardless, the music speaks for itself.

“Down to Earth” is, from start to finish, a groove metal album of the lowest order with the occasional ballad homage to John Lennon. It stands in stark contrast to what metal and Ozzy were all about in the beginning, defying the conventional wisdom, playing music that was innovative and entertaining, and either distorting or outright escaping reality. Although Ozzy’s lyrics have always tended towards the mundane and self-descriptive, they were never quite the drab, dry and arduous auto-biographical prose penned on here.

Musically we get a mishmash of Godsmack, Creed, Marilyn Manson and the Beatles, a veritable stew of musical incoherence to fit the mainstream of 2001. The only thing metal is Zakk Wylde’s solos, which are the equivalent of pouring a mixture of perfume and mascara onto a dung drenched pig. He does his best to liven up a set of garbage minimalist grooves to give the appearance of a riff being present, but to no avail. Ozzy’s vocals are lousy, especially when he goes anywhere above his middle range, but this is hardly unexpected at this juncture in his career.

The album kicks off with the abominable “Gets Me Through”, an opening hymn at Ozzy’s new church of the anti-metal superstar. It’s hypnotic, it grooves, then it’s hypnotic again, then it grooves with a solo over it for a while and then it all starts over again. Other slightly less redundant groove floggers include “Junkie” and “Facing Hell”, complete with the muddy down-tuned goodness one expects from a night on the toilet. Ozzy shows his sensitive side with a charming little unoriginal piano ballad in “Dreamer”, it’s like “Imagine”, but it focuses on the person rather than the act; hooray, at least there is something original on this song besides the guitar solo.

Amongst the rubbish that populates the remainder of this troubled release is “Running out of time”, probably the only song on here that doesn’t completely suck. It’s got a little bit of a Creed aura to it, especially during the chorus, but it’s catchy and inoffensive. “Can you hear them?” is a Godsmack homage with a military drum sound; it could have been on the soundtrack for The Scorpion King alongside “I Stand Alone”. It highlights some of the better groove moments and occasionally throws in some guitar screams, but I don’t buy Ozzy albums to hear Godsmack, it defeats the purpose.

Surprisingly, Ozzy managed to release an album that was even worse than “Ozzmosis”, as impossible as it may sound to those of you who gave up on him after hearing that album. Fans of this who were born before 1987 can only be described as Ozzy cultists, unquestioning adherents to a fallen star who has released the most anti-metal hunk of garbage I’ve heard since Creed’s “Human Clay”. It is the pinnacle of the horror that is the marriage of groove and modern rock. It is the church of groove. It is the groover, the groove, and the holy groove-it of groove. Don’t buy this unless you have a masochistic desire to experience the musical version of Chinese water torture.

Next Time Let Zakk Wylde Contribute - 65%

Painkiller_2142, July 25th, 2004

The legendary Ozzy Osbourne returns with his 8th studio album and first of the new millennium, Down To Earth. This would’ve been a good thing if the Blizzard had got his right hand man Zakk Wylde to write some of the damn songs. Instead Ozzy had a bunch of well known rock/pop musicians write the album and he ignored the killer material that Wylde had submitted to him (Some of them would later appear on his BLS 1919 Eternal album). What a great idea that was! Let’s have a group of guys who don’t know jack shit about Metal tell the Godfather of Metal what to sing.

This album is not all garbage though. Some of the songs end up being pretty good but overall this one is full of songs that are either mediocre or just plain bad.

Gets Me Through - Opener and first single is a decent rocker highlighted by a nice keyboard intro and two amazing Zakk Wylde guitar solos.

Facing Hell - One of the better songs on the album. Again the guitar work is the highlight but Ozzy‘s voice sounds pretty good on this one.

Dreamer - A respectable Ozzman ballad but not as good as previous ballads such as Mama I’m Coming Home or Revelation (Mother Earth).

No Easy Way Out - Not bad. Not great either. Ozzy’s vocals again sound really good.

That I Never Had - Great guitar intro and solid playing through the song. That’s about it.

You Know (Part 1) - I love this short little acoustic song. Biggest problem with it is it’s just over a minute longer.

Junkie - Boring. Again Zakk’s solo is the only good part.

Running Out of Time - A half decent ballad.

Black Illusion - Average. Like on most of the album the guitar work is the highlight.

Alive - My favorite song on the album. It’s still nothing special though. Ozzy gives another surprisingly good performance.

Can You Hear Them? - Nothing special. The military drums sound cool.

So Ozzy releases a mediocre album. It’s not the first time and I wouldn’t be shocked if it’s not the last time. I just hope that next time he let’s his band write some of the material. Mike Bordin and Zakk Wylde are much better songwriters than the guys who wrote this one. Maybe Ozzy will realize that when he goes in the studio to do a new album but I highly doubt he will.

Steaming pile of shit! - 4%

GrimAndFrostbitten, January 30th, 2004

Sometimes, I like to subject myself to bad music, perhaps to refresh my value scale of music and make good music sound better, so I decided to track this down, recalling the "Gets Me Through" song from a few years ago.

This album was written by people like Dave Grohl and members of the Offspring, and produced by the same guy who produced Tears for Fears and U2. Boy, does their mediocrity ever show in this -- the songwriting is utter shit. The songs are amazingly boring, with little to point out, and the end result of this album is utterly bland and pathetic pop rock. It's also horribly overproduced and sterile, with all kinds of unecessary shitty warping and echoing effects thrown in everywhere.

At that point in time, Ozzy still had a good voice, but he proved that he's just a drug-addled tool commanded to piss on the legend of Black Sabbath. If he died in the 70s of an overdode, he would be revered, but now all people will remember is some babbling old British washed up rock star, as this album clearly demonstrates without having to watch an episode of The Osbournes. Zakk Wylde also admits in an interview that he's just doing it because a bunch of greedy idiots want to sell records, and was quite angry at the time. There's songs about Ozzy himself that probably wasn't written by him, and songs about junkies that don't sound the least bit heartfelt.

I'm pretty sure some of these hooks in the songs like "Gets Me Through" and "No Easy Way Out" are only played on one string, as they sound really pathetic and simplistic. Whatever developed in the 90s, where they rely on guitar tone and distortion alone to sound "heavy," prevails here. However, there are plenty of guitar solos, but none of them fit in the songs at all. It seems almost certain that there was a conflict of interest where Zakk was trying to insist to the listening audience he didn't suck like today's guitarists do, even though he was forced to play something very similar to the insipid shit they play. Other songs include standard, boring, very forgettable cookie-cutter ballads.

Avoid this like the plague, it's a total mess and an utter disgrace. I'll give it 4 points, just because I know there are actually worse things out there.

Very heavy, but forgettable - 84%

HealthySonicDiet, January 12th, 2004

On Ozzy's latest solo album Down to Earth, Zakk Wylde's shredding is particularly vicious and uncompromising and his general tone will tear through yours and your next-door neighbor's apartments. Mr. Wylde's muscular axework(damn, i love that term...'muscular axework'. haha) is the true highlight of this album. Although not many of his riffs are very memorable or epic such as on No More Tears, it's possibly the heaviest he's ever played for Ozzy. Ozzy's vocals are quite mediocre on this album. They're not totally terrible, but they're not nearly as good as they were in his earlier solo days and Black Sabbath days. I suppose we can blame it on all the sex, drugs, and rock n' roll, but then again we could just blame it on his 'old' age. He sure doesn't seem old though. He has the demeanor and figure of a teenager still. It's refreshing to see that he's taking care of himself at home on his treadmill. The first single, Gets Me Through, is very driving and syncopated and should rouse all the headbangers, but there's not much memorable about it. It sucks that the radio version cuts the song awfully short, deleting much of the closing soloing, which adds drama and power to the music. Dammit, they did that to No More Tears too, and though many people may not care, it bothers the hell out of me. Black Illusion is ridiculously heavy and Dreamer is a worthy ballad where Ozzy bares his thoughts on humanity's abuse of Mother Earth and other related topics. It's uncanny to hear this 'satanism-obsessed' metal god to put his heart and soul out so painfully in the open like this. Lyrically, this album has Ozzy trying to erase old assumptions about him and to form a new image. For example, on "Gets Me Through", he sings "I'm not the person you think I am, I'm not the Antichrist or the Iron Man". He just wants people to realize that he's a human being like everyone else and he wants to be seen as the real person that he is sometimes instead of just people associating him with the image he portrays in his music. It certainly doesn't help his plight to promote his real image if he has a picture of himself morphed into a wolf in the album booklet, though.
Overall, this album is sub-par, but it's still quite catchy and heavy, and I would recommend heavy metal fans to pick it up.

Mostly average, sometimes awesome - 70%

SufferingOverdue, May 24th, 2003

One of the most noticable things about this album is that Ozzy has tried to modernise his sound. The guitar riffs are definitely 90s inspired, theres a few industrial "alt" touches here and there and the songs are quite simple and straight forward. Where as No More Tears was a firm heavy metal record, this is more like a modern alt-metal record.

However, the modern sound turns out to be quite good in places. Facing Hell starts out with an industrial-ish intro before going into a 1919 Eternal-era sounding riff which sounds very fitting. However there is definitely something lacking about this album. The riff structures are incredibly bland in places and it's quite obvious that Zakk Wylde didn't write anything on this album. It's a shame really cause the last time Zakk and Ozzy actually sat down and wrote together with no other main contributers, they came out with the masterpiece No More Tears. This album is a far cry from those days.

The guitars have a distinct "Zakk" style to them still, the tone is heavy, the pinch harmonics are scattered throughout and the guitar solos are something only Zakk could play to it's full effect. Ozzy's voice sounds good, and generally the band plays well together. The piano driven Dreamer is something which you'd expect a guy half way into his 50s to be playing and the rest of the music is quite an interesting blend of modern metal sound with old metal ethics.

Despite this not being as good as it could/should have been, it's still a solid effort and worthy of a place in Ozzy's back catalogue. I doubt we'll be getting another No More Tears any time soon, but at least this is an improvement on Ozzmosis.