“I’m not going to come out alive,” sings the Black Sabbath star, his mental wounds still screaming. “I am not getting out because I am patient at No. 9.” The atmospheric epic opens deceptively with the gentle keyboard as Ozzy says, “I want to go home,” only to be taunted with frantic laughs.
Then Jeff Beck’s flamboyant riff powers, and a heartbreaking verse leads to the interplay between the surprisingly melodic bridge and Jeff’s dazzling guitar play.
In six minutes, the mood shifts with Beck’s solo twisting, twisting and building with balletic grace.
Osbourne was at his best since the Sabbath on the 1980 multi-platinum Blizzard of Oz album, largely thanks to the skill of guitarist Randy Rhoads, who tragically died at the age of 25.
How do you fill that gap? Proceed to rock’s greatest axes… Also Beck, we get Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready on snarling rocker, Immortal, and Eric Clapton playing with emotion on one of those days.
Then Sabbath legend Tony Iommi supplies a crushing heavyweight riff on Degradation Rules, which is all about onistic fantasy, and a brutal solo on No Escape From Now.
Ozzie guitarist Zakk Wylde carries the bulk of the six-string load. She’s at her best with a tough, effective riff of Parasite and with Dark Sister Evil Shuffle.
The musicianship is outstanding, with contributions from Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, Duff McKagan (X-Guns N’ Roses) and late Foo Fighters star Taylor Hawkins.
Surprise includes some Beatles-style melodies and crazy choral albums closer to Darkside Blues.