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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.