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Inconsistent, but not bad. - 74%

Nightcrawler, July 26th, 2003

This is actually not all as bad as it's made out to be. Ozzy's vocals have definitely improved from the previous albums, sounding somewhat stronger and much less whiny. He still sounds quite weak and whiny, but not as bad as on previous recordings.
The guitarwork of Jake E. Lee is as usual solid, but unspectacular. He can pull off some nice fucking riffs and solos at times, but sometimes he forgets about this and puts out some meaningless wankery instead (Never opening riff comes to mind).
The basswork is as usual on Ozzy's albums quite prominent in the mix, but what separates the bassplaying on here from his early offerings (the first two especially) is that it's actually good, instead of plodding and boring.
Randy Castillo is a pretty average drummer. He's got some catchy beats nailed down, but for the most part he gets pretty predictable. The crash and ride cymbals also sound pretty damn pathetic, so they completely lose their effect for the most part.

The style hasn't really changed alot from previous Ozzy albums. It's all pretty straightforward, somewhat melodic heavy metal going on at a generally midpaced speed. But, like on all of his albums, there are deviations. Some examples are Secret Loser, which is unusually upbeat and melodic, and Shot in the Dark, which aims mainly for atmosphere and does so very well.
The songwriting is pretty inconsistent, unfortunately, which is something Ozzy suffers from alot.

The album starts off really good. Title track is a nice, midpaced headbanger. Secret Loser just fucking owns; classic heavy metal with excellent melodic ideas and awesome riffs. Never Know Why is fun and catchy, and not bad at all.
But after that, he doesn't really get it together. Thank God for the Bomb has a fairly cool riff, but the verses are overemotional and the chorus is like the dumbest fucking pile of goo known to mankind. Never is one of the worst songs he ever wrote- boring and completely forgettable- and let's not forget that shitty excuse of an opening riff. Then suddenly, Lightning Strikes comes out of nowhere with that awesome midpaced opening riff, and moves on with intense dark-yet-upbeat verses and a catchy bridge... and then it suddenly sucks even more than Never. The over-happy, cheesy and horribly annoying chorus pretty much completely ruins what could be the greatest song on the album. Killer of Giants is an above average ballad for Ozzy standards- that acoustic intro is really excellent. Fool Like You... I still can't remember anything at all from this song, except that it's very, very forgettable.
Then, Shot in the Dark closes the album in a great fashion. Atmospheric, melodic and insanely catchy- the best song on the album.


The Ultimate Sin features some of Ozzy's greatest songwriting up to date, but also some of his worst. I think Never qualifies as my least favourite Ozzy Osbourne song of all time- yes, it may even be worse than Spiders in the Night.
But it shouldn't be easily dismissed either, it's definitely worth getting for the first three tracks and Shot in the Dark.