Wednesday, March 6, 2002

Review: Ozzy Osbourne - Down To Earth (2001)

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Down To Earth

Ozzy Osbourne, the undisputed Godfather of Heavy Metal, comes at us with his first solo studio album in six years. Joining Ozzy on his eighth album are guitarist Zakk Wylde, bassist Robert Trujillo (Suicidal Tendencies) and drummer Mike Bordin (Faith No More) - a lineup that can arguably be considered a super-group. Anyhow, Ozzy has a trademark sound that he has perfected over the years, and Down To Earth sticks to the tried and true formula. This album returns to a heavy sound not heard since No Rest For The Wicked, but the highly polished production takes the edge off slightly. No new directions for the Oz-man on the disc, but it is pure Ozzy that his fans will love.

The second track on the album, "Facing Hell", is probably the best of the disc. Very heavy with just a touch of keys for atmosphere, this tune kicks some serious ass. "Get Me Through" (a very Sabbath-like, heavy, chunky tune), "Alive", and "That I Never Had" keep pace and definitely do not disappoint.

Now, this wouldn't be an Ozzy album without the obligatory ballad or two, and the three on Down To Earth are the best I've heard since "Mama, I'm Coming Home". "Dreamer" is typical introspective Ozzy not only in lyrical content, but on first listen I immediately thought of "Goodbye To Romance". "You Know...(Part 1)" clocks in at just over a minute, but the Beatlesque influences are unmistakable.

Overall I was pleased with Down To Earth. Ozzy has had an illustrious career in the world of heavy metal, but it's still great to see him unleash an album of this caliber (I have to admit that I was worried after Ozzmosis). If I were to have a complaint, it would be about the production. Don't get me wrong, the work is perfect. Problem is, it's too perfect. To much polishing can take the hard edges off, and a metal album needs to retain some of those edges in order to be great.

Track Listing
1Gets Me Through
2Facing Hell
4No Easy Way Out
5That I Never Had
6You Know... (Part 1)
8Running Out Of Time
9Black Illusion
11Can You Hear Them?

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