Release Date: Feb 21, 2020
Record label: Epic
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Album Rock, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Pop-Metal, Neo-Classical Metal, British Metal
A decade passed between metal icon Ozzy Osbourne's 2010 album Scream and its follow-up, Ordinary Man. His 12th solo studio effort is charged with an unexpected crackle of life that hasn't graced an Ozzy album in a long time. In the time since his last solo endeavor, Osbourne reunited with Black Sabbath for touring and the recording of 13, the first Sabbath studio album he'd sung on since 1978.
A choral lament echoes eerily through the darkness. A single, serpentine guitar riff enters, paving the way for what's to come. Then you hear it, three words so elemental that you are immediately on board for whatever the next 50 minutes might bring - "ALL RIGHT NOW!" With this immortal line, delivered in almost identical fashion to the opening of Black Sabbath's masterpiece 'Master of Reality', Ozzy Osborne reminds the world just how a petty crook from Birmingham with no discernible skills went on to become metal's only true household name.
It's been a decade since Ozzy Osbourne last released a solo album, and he's back with a vengeance on Ordinary Man. While Ozzy has been dealing with persistent health issues over the past while, he comes out on top with what could be his last full-length album, leaving a lasting impression on the world. The last several Ozzy solo albums have felt relatively forgettable, with each one since 1991's No More Tears feeling like a somewhat lackluster excuse to push him back on the road with a small handful of singles that last for the album cycle and get forgotten afterward. This time though, the majority of the material sounds like something fans will be revisiting, alongside the greats of his discography, for years to come..
Ozzy Osbourne has nothing to prove at this stage of his career. He’s occupied just about every role imaginable in the modern entertainment world. He’s the heavy metal progenitor, a hair metal joker, the archetypal bumbling reality show patriarch, he’s a wizened sage of doom metal. And yet he continues to enthral an audience of fans born after his peak had long been and gone, and he still remains a marquee name – so much so that his feature on a recent Post Malone single (which appears here on Ordinary Man as a bonus track) made worldwide entertainment news.
Do they sell tea in Heaven? Ozzy's twelfth studio album is drenched in the macabre; Ordinary Man is an intensely poignant, self-referencing analysis on his accomplishments, mistakes, and the intense love he has for his family and friends. The thing is, while he affirms all the highs and lows of his life on this record, he constantly references his own imminent death. Ordinary Man mirrors the same hazy, dead weight that hangs on the shoulders of David Bowie's Blackstar, the only difference between the two LPs is that Ozzy takes those themes of reflection, what we leave behind, and the constant awareness of death looming over him, and intensifies it with a more overt, almost blasé, taunt to Death himself.
The Lowdown: Ozzy Osbourne is back with his first solo album in 10 years, but the recent road to its release has been a tough one. The metal godfather has experienced the “worst f**king year” of his life, as he put it, but managed to find time to record a new LP, Ordinary Man. Ozzy had kicked off his “No More Tours 2” farewell trek in 2018, and things were going smoothly until late that year.