ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 14, 2007
By Steve Newton
If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s an Ozzy Osbourne ballad. Let’s face it, Ozzy’s not a slow-burn kinda guy, he’s a “let’s go fuckin’ crazy!” kinda guy. I don’t buy it when, on the new ballad “Lay Your World on Me”, Ozzman tenderly croons lines like “I didn’t deserve the love you gave, but now I’m telling you I’m here if you need a friend.” Things go similarly sour on the disc’s other ballad, “Here for You”, especially when he drags the dreaded string section into the mix.
Ozzy’s usual headbanger material fares better, although Black Rain opens on a so-so note with the sludgy “Not Going Away”, in which the metal madman keeps promising that he’s not going away. Things pick up considerably with song two, “I Don’t Wanna Stop” (he’s not going away and he’s not going to stop), which benefits from a brutally infectious Zakk Wylde guitar progression.
The title track follows, telling of a deadly dark precipitation that contaminates the Earth, revisiting the antiwar rhetoric of classic Sab tracks like “War Pigs”. “Silver” is the album’s rockingest number, as Wylde uses the speedier tempo as an excuse to rip the frets up Steve Vai–style, with drummer Mike Bordin and bassist Blasko admirably keeping pace.
His first new record in six years, Black Rain is an okay album by current Ozzy standards, but it’s not gonna make anyone forget Diary of a Madman. Then again, what could?