Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man (2020)

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Amid tour cancellations and postponements and major health concerns, The Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne has made the time to create a new album, and it’s good.  Really good.

Straight to Hell gets the album off to a great start, with ripping guitar riffs from Andrew Watt, and a trademark “alright now” from Ozzy himself.  Apparently the creation of this album was quite spontaneous and natural, yet it feels like this group of musicians have worked together for years.  The band, rounded out by Chad Smith on drums and Duff McKagan on bass, gels perfectly together.

While the previous track was a ball tearer, All My Life follows a semi-ballad formula that Ozzy has always done so well.  There’s a killer groove that runs beneath the surface of this track, and Ozzy sounds great.

A pitch shifted voice intro ushers in Goodbye, in what is an obvious homage to the Sabbath classic, Iron Man.  The verses to this track are a little hollow, but the choruses flesh it out, and it reaches its full potential at about the half way point, when it launches into an almost punk rock section – fast, chaotic, and complete with ripping guitar solo.

The title track, Ordinary Man, is another ballad, but quite possibly one of the best of Ozzy’s career.  Elton John lends piano and superb vocals to the song, really helping it stand out.

Under the Graveyard, the first single to be released, could have been a perfect fit on any of the last three Ozzy albums.  It has a bit of a timeless feel.  As the track approaches it’s climax, there is some more really wonderful guitar solos that are quite out of the ordinary for an Ozzy album, but it works.

Eat Me opens up with some harmonica and incredibly fat bass guitar, before building up in to a massive groove, with massive riffs and some very hard hitting drumming from Chad Smith.  The song also features the most fun set of lyrics so far.

Today is the End returns to the semi-ballad formula, but ultimately becomes my least favourite track.  Scary Little Green Men on the other hand, is killer.  Opening with a familiar sounding guitar intro and Ozzys vocals, it soon becomes an all our hard rock banger.  The choruses are awesome – and Jason Momoa playing Ozzy in the video is fantastic.

Holy For Tonight slows things down again, and sees the band doing some very different style material.  In fact, this is virtually country rock – if not for the voice of the Ozzman.  It’s unique, and quite interesting.

Post Malone pops in for a guest spot on the frantic, It’s A Raid.  It’s one of the heaviest tracks on the album, and actually an awesome closer.  It’s fast, furious and features a very punk rock feel.  Even Post Malone goes well on the song – generally, I’m not a fan, but I can deal with this.

As a bonus, the album also has Post Malone’s Take What You Want (featuring Ozzy) tacked on to the end.  Again, I’m not a Post fan, but I quite like this song.

Everything about this album screams Ozzy Osbourne, and if it’s his last ever, it’s an excellent epitaph to a storied career.

9/10

Shayne McGowan.

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