Ozzy Osbourne – Patient Number 9

Spread the metal:
Ozzy Osbourne - Patient Number 9
Ozzy Osbourne – Patient Number 9

Reviewed: December 2022
Released: 2022, Epic Records
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Simon Wiedemann

Even for people who know absolutely nothing about heavy metal, Ozzy Osbourne is a man who needs no introduction because of his…peculiar behaviour. But he is much more than a bit eccentric: with his first band Black Sabbath, he pioneered not only heavy metal, but doom and even sludge metal, too. When his band fired him in 1979 for being, let’s say TOO peculiar, he quickly formed his solo project with guitar legend Randy Rhoads and released two of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time. After Randy’s death, he released another great album with Jake E. Lee called ‘Bark at the Moon’, and when Ozzy took on guitarist Zakk Wylde, he released more great material such as the classic album ‘No Rest for the Wicked’. Is Ozzy’s latest album ‘Patient Number 9’ just as good? Let’s find out!

Perhaps one of the more interesting features of this music, is the choice of some of the guest musicians. How does it sound when relatively light rock guitarists such as Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton (!) play on heavier metal songs? A bit weird to me, at least. Not terrible, not even bad, but a bit ill-fitting, maybe. There is some soloing by the guitarists in question over lighter backings, but still there are better guitarists to choose from. Well, ill-fitting AT FIRST. On repeated listens, I have come to appreciate the soulful style the guitarists bring to the table. Soulfulness + Ozzy? Different, but being different is almost always welcome, right? Of course there are exceptions, you don’t want to listen to music so different it’s demented, (i.e. ‘Second Ring of Power’ by Unholy) but this album is far from demented. Sadly for shred fans, the just mentioned guitarists whilst legends, let’s face it, come from an era where solos weren’t very flashy and they seem perfectly happy continuing that trend. I would have liked more flashiness, anyway. But that’s not really a criticism, rather it shows my musical immaturity. 🙁

On track ‘Immortal’ Ozzy (fittingly) sings ‘I’m immortal.’ Whether he meant that literally, I don’t know. If he does, his strange beliefs could explain his prior drug use that most are genuinely surprised wasn’t lethal. Wow, nothing can kill him. But maybe that’s a matter for a different piece of writing, perhaps a psychiatric journal. But there’s nothing wrong with occasional interesting theories in music reviews to spice things up a little?? Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready plays on the track which makes far more sense (at least in theory), as the guitar riffs do have a bit of a down-tuned grungy feel. The first track featuring classic band member Zakk Wylde ‘Parasite’ in contrast to the earlier songs has some shredding in it that is maybe a tiny bit OTT when compared to the slower backing. Maybe that’s the Jeff Beck/Clapton talking. On second thoughts, I like the shredding. The vocal melody has an interesting dreaminess to it, much like in the style of more modern metal. Maybe he’s been influenced by music, maybe by his drug use. 

Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi makes his first of two appearance in ‘No Escape From Now’, but it has one of the most cliched doom metal main riffs imaginable and you certainly get a lot of it. Expect evil tritone intervals and basic power chords, and not much more at all. The riffs in the solo section and the speeded up part aren’t as bad, but again… safe stuff. Doomy and stoner in style, like an early Sabbath jam session where people are only starting to come up with ideas. The cleaner parts of the songs do have a certain eeriness about them, but the vocals on top of them are a little bland. ‘One of Those Days’ does have a catchy chorus, but is it a classic rivalling ‘Crazy Train’? I wouldn’t have said so and I can’t really picture anyone saying it does. Sorry Clapton, but you didn’t help save the day. ‘A Thousand Shades’ has a fairly nice vocal melody that’s similar in style to his I guess partially classic ‘Dreamer’ but different enough for it to be more than welcome. It almost sounds a bit like Pink Floyd in places. Jeff Beck’s playing is perhaps a bit more fitting than the earlier heavier tracks. Either that or not as interesting…

‘Mr Darkness’ does capture the energy of Ozzy’s late 80s albums however, when a soft and melodic intro quickly escalates into classic heavy metal with exciting drum fills and passion from all band members. It has a damn fine main riff, too. It features legendary band member Zakk Wylde yet again, but for better or worse he doesn’t shred too much. He does however, have one of the craziest vibratos in the whole of metal. Oh scratch that, shredding comes later on, just another build up of tension! But there isn’t TOO much. Just right. One of the strongest songs on the album, in my opinion. ‘Nothing Feels Right’ is a fairly solid rocker too, with a perfectly reasonable chorus, and it shows Zakk can speed pick as good as he ever could. 

‘Evil Shuffle’ has some really cool on and on riffing at times with Ozzy filling the gaps, (in a way, think a heavier version of ‘War Pigs’ but not quite as epic and proggy) and the way stylish drums work with the pounding guitars makes the song even more enjoyable. Excellent riffing. The same song has a dark mystique to it times which works very well. Nice contrasts without being random. The end of the track has Zakk shredding on his own. Kind of like his version of ‘Eruption’ just shortened! ‘God Only Knows’ has some surprise chords that work very well. Maybe they make the band sound just a tiny bit serious and intellectual for more casual fans, but it is composed well. As if very often the case in this album, the vocal lines aren’t as interesting as the backing, however. It’s maybe a bit strange the band is called ‘Ozzy Osbourne’ when his parts don’t seem to be as important much of the time. ‘Darkside Blues’ is a pretty dull acoustic blues song with some guy playing a harmonica, but as it lasts under 2 minutes and it closes the album, I’m assuming it wasn’t supposed to be an album highlight. Rather an interesting mood to end on, maybe. In that respect it’s fine. 

In conclusion, this album is a long way away from the quality of the Randy Rhoads albums, ‘Bark at the Moon’, and ‘No Rest for the Wicked’. However, it does have some decent songs. Only occasionally VERY good, but to be fair, it’s not a bad album at all. Personally, I wasn’t exactly wowed by the more surprising guest musicians, but they do at least partially take heavy metal into new directions. Weird directions, but not TOO weird. The album is only rarely boring, and there are enough highlights to make the listener (i.e. me) want to keep it in his CD player and see if it will grow on him. I’m sure it will. The album is more in the style of his Zakk Wylde albums, so if you want more neoclassical Randy stuff, you’ll likely be disappointed. However Ozzy Osbourne has his own style (again, kind of like a grungy heavy metal) and having such a distinctive sound is somewhat unusual. If he wants to carry on with it, I’m not going to complain. This album is recommended, but it’s certainly not life changing. 


Video:


Tracklisting:

1. Patient Number 9 (featuring Jeff Beck)
2. Immortal (featuring Mike McCready)
3. Parasite (featuring Zakk Wylde)
4. No Escape From Now (featuring Tony Iommi)
5. One of Those Days (featuring Eric Clapton)
6. A Thousand Shades (featuring Jeff Beck)
7. Mr. Darkness (featuring Zakk Wylde)
8. Nothing Feels Right (featuring Zakk Wylde)
9. Evil Shuffle (featuring Zakk Wylde)
10: Degradation Rules (featuring Tony Iommi)
11. Dead and Gone
12. God Only Knows
13. Darkside Blues

Band line-up:

Ozzy Osbourne – Vocals
Zakk Wylde – Lead Guitar
Rob Nicholson – Bass
Adam Wakeman – Keyboards, Rhythm guitar
Tommy Clufetos – Drums

Websites:

Facebook
Amazon