With the 2020s Ordinary man, Ozzy Osbourne re-established themselves with the help of a new producer, an all-star backing band and a seamless recording schedule that lasted less than a week. Andrew Watta guitarist who worked with Justin Bieber before transitioning to a producer role, whose resume now includes Elton John and Eddie Vedderassembled a crew that included artists as diverse as Post Malone, Travis Scott and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith – all of which pushed Osbourne to his best record in decades.
Watt is back with another A-list group for once Black Sabbath the singer’s 13th solo album, Patient number 9an appropriate follow-up on Ordinary man. And if the results aren’t as surprising as they were on the previous LP, they’re more immediately satisfying. Osbourne also sounds committed, which is more than can be said for much of his catalog since the 90s.
The guest list is bigger and more in line with Osbourne’s past this time around: Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton are here and so are former bandmates Tony Iommi and Zak Wylde. Smith and Guns ‘n’ Roses‘ Duff McKagan return from Ordinary manand Taylor Hawkinsthat Foo Fighters drummer there died in Marchappears on three songs. Patient number 9a little too long, is heavier than its predecessor, although this album traces the same basic footsteps.
It is balanced by the melodic footing Watt brought to it Ordinary man. The opening title track, which features a mid-song solo by Beck, is reminiscent of the ’80s metal sweep Osbourne helped pioneer, its seven-and-a-half minutes a mix of pop glitter and hard-rock grit. Wylde’s jabbing guitar in “Parasite” provides a head-banging riff that reminds you of Osbourne’s huge role in the formation of heavy metal. And “Nothing Feels Right”, again with Wylde, is packed with hazy psychedelia. Osbourne even gets to play with his long time The Beatles obsession in “A Thousand Shades”.
Through it all, Osbourne sounds full of life, a contrast to the medical issues that have plagued him recently. And in contrast to Ordinary man, Patient number 9 is a more focused work; the pieces fit together more easily, most likely a result of producer Watt’s growing relationship with Osbourne. “Degradation Rules,” one of two songs featuring Sabbath guitarist Iommi, even achieves the near-impossible: a near-great solo track four decades removed from the classic Blizzard of Ozz. There was speculation all around Ordinary mans release that it could be Osbourne’s last album. Patient number 9 proves the theory wrong. Don’t count him out just yet.
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