His band mates this time around are Zakk Wylde on guitar, Rob “Blasko” Nicholson (Rob Zombie) on bass, and Mike Bordin (Faith No More) on drums.
I must admit that my first impression with Black Rain, is that this is the heaviest Ozzy disc in years. Zakk Wylde has been wanting to something heavy with Ozzy for a long time, and was pretty disgusted with the writing on Down to Earth. On that record, Zakk Wylde played on all of the songs, but did not have any writing credits. Zakk Wylde co-wrote eight of the 10 tunes on Black Rain. The end result is a far heavier disc, and probably the closest thing to Ozzy’s 1995 disc, Ozzmosis.
The first track, Not Going Away starts off with a monstrous, Black Sabbath type of riff. This track gets better with each listen.
The track, I Don’t Wanna Stop is getting airplay just about every where now, and Ozzy is playing this live in various TV programs, in an effort to promote Black Rain. I agree with what seems to be the majority opinion on this song. I love this track!
The title track, Black Rain is a mid tempo track with a heavy bass sound; and a cool song that is nearly a throw back to early 80’s Ozzy. I can see this track being a hit on the radio, easily.
A nice change of pace is the number Lay Your World on Me on which Ozzy’s voice is the most powerful instrument. On this low tempo track, Blasko’s bass is mixed louder than Zakk’s guitar 95% of the time, but it comes across sounding very cool.
The Almighty Dollar is kind of weird to me. This sounds like Ozzy trying to do a Nine Inch Nails song. Its not all bad, but it has some strange music elements to it. I like the heavy parts, but when this song gets a little bouncy, it doesn’t work. At least not for me.
11 Silver is an extremely upbeat sounding song, but is different from anything I recall Ozzy doing in the past. The bass groove is extremely springy, and Zakk Wylde’s guitar solo in the center is great! I didn’t like this song at first, but its growing on me with every listen. In 2007, its hard to make Ozzy sound fresh, but this is pretty damn good attempt to do so.
Civilize the Universe reminds me a lot of the sound Rob Zombie’s band has. Blasko really shows his influence in this song. This is another good, foot-stomping, rock and roll hit.
Here for You is a piano based ballad that is actually very good. I have heard Ozzy do these type of songs before, but I think this one is one of the better ones in a long time.
Something about Coundown’s Begun reminds me quite a bit of Lynch era Dokken. The whole guitar and heavy bass riff is very Dokken like. Zakk Wylde and Blasko reproduce a sound that is very complimentary of one of the best metal tandem’s of 80’s style hard rock (Lynch and Pilson). Very cool!
Trapdoor is probably my 2nd most favorite song on Black Rain. Zakk Wylde’s riff on this track has a real mean sound to it. This is the kind of song that could make me go to Ozzfest, so I can see it live. The whole bass and drum sound in the center of the track are cool as hell. What an amazing way to close out this record!
On my first listen to this disc, I wasn’t extremely impressed with this disc. Successive listens have changed my mind. I keep hearing and noticing different things each time I listen to it. Ozzy Osbourne sings his ass off on this disc, and sounds great all throughout Black Rain. The Zakk Wylde neigh sayers will be happy to know that, Zakk does not over use the pinch harmonics on this record. Zakk’s playing is stellar, end of story. Blasko and Mike Bordin are not fill in musicians. They are excellent additions to Ozzy’s band, and truly add to the music on this record. I hope this group stays together for another record. Until then, I will enjoy this record repeatedly. Hopefully Ozzy wont make us wait six more years for another one.
Don’t even hesitate to pick this disc up! If you are an Ozzy fan, it is required listening!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Not Going Away
2. I Don’t Wanna Stop
3. Black Rain
4. Lay Your World on Me
5. Almighty Dollar
6. 11 Silver
7. Civilize the Universe
8. Here for You
9. Countdown’s Begun
10. Trap Door
Ozzy Osbourne band is:
Ozzy Osbourne – Vocals
Zakk Wylde – Guitars
Blasko – Bass
Mike Bordin – Drums