OZZY OSBOURNE — Scream (review)

OZZY OSBOURNE — Scream album cover Album · 2010 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
By the time the second decade of the millennium hit, OZZY OSBOURNE had more or less settled into a career of constant touring as well as America’s favorite deviant dad on the reality TV show The Osbournes. Despite it all, he still found time to head into his own home studio to record one more album, his tenth overall. Originally intended to be titled “Soul Sucka,” it was changed to SCREAM and was released in the summer of 2010 and to date remains his last solo album as he would hook up with his old buddies Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi to reform Black Sabbath (without Bill Ward). Jumping on board is newbie guitarist Gus G who replaced OZZY’s longest lasting guitarist Zakk Wylde who would focus on his Black Label Society. Also departing was Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin who would be replaced by Kevin Churko who also served as producer, engineer and mixer as he did on the previous release “Black Rain.” As Wylde also played keyboards on previous albums, Adam Wakeman, son of Yes’ own Rick Wakeman joined the crew to take over that part.

Despite OSBOURNE’s metal creds diminishing over the decades as more extreme forms of metal had long taken root and grown into veritable monsters, OSBOURNE still remains quite popular and his album hit #4 on the Billboard album charts. Part of OSBOURNE’s continued endurance is not only due to his reputation as the godfather of metal but a brilliant marketing strategy with SCREAM being promoted by downloadable content for the Rock Band video game series as well as public stunts at sports events. While not biting off heads of bats any longer, OSBOURNE proved he still had a knack for getting the word out. OZZY learned a while back that outside forces in the songwriting department were the breath of fresh air that he needed to spruce up his musical charm and therefore all eleven tracks were written by OSBOURNE and producer Kevin Churko with four of them finding extra help from Wakeman.

Stylistically SCREAM pretty much continues what OZZY began in the 90s with “Ozzmosis,” namely a blend of his 80s classic metal that utilizes heavy metal guitar riffing, bass and drums with a more down-tuned sort of 90s alternative metal approach finished off with OSBOURNE’s signature poetic vocal style. One thing about SCREAM that differs from previous albums is a more distinct use of industrial electronic effects especially on tracks like “Let It Die” and “Let Me Hear You Scream.” Gus G proves to be a more than suitable replacement but isn’t allowed to really shine in his own way as OZZY’s musical cast is more of a brand name at this point and the individuality isn’t allowed to let loose however he does shine a bit with a classical guitar intro on “Diggin’ Me Down.” Generally speaking, the emphasis of guitar solos that were prevalent in OZZY’s earlier years has been replaced by heavy thrashy riffing with the Zakk Wylde squeals still in play. In fact, i’d never know that this was a different guitarist if not for the credits.

Whether you can appreciate SCREAM depends on how well any of the albums after “No More Tears” worked for you. There is nothing substantially different and SCREAM is very much an OZZY-by-the-numbers affair with a few electronica additions that stand out. The tracks consist of the usual catchy melodic guitar hooks rooted in 80s classic metal and the production is bass laden with a continued alternative metal feel. Guitar solos do occur but are rather brief and there are more bridges and slower paced segments which add some needed contrast. Once again OZZY delivers a fairly decent album but certainly will never go down as his crowning achievements either. It does seem at this point OZZY was growing rather stale and despite mustering up an album’s worth of material, it was becoming apparent that it was time to move on to something new so when the Black Sabbath reunion took place, it was the perfect time to do so.
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