Ozzy Osbourne - Patient Number 9 (2022) - Album Review
By Sergio Ariza
Hell will have to wait
An Ozzy Osbourne album is always welcome at Guitars Exchange, but if we add that on his new work one of the founding fathers of heavy music collaborates with seven guitarists to whom we have dedicated a legend special, then we have a real event, a work in which the voice of the Prince of Darkness collaborates with giants like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age, Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers, his regular collaborator Zakk Wylde and, for the first time outside of Black Sabbath, the most important guitarist of his career, the lord of the riff, Tony Iommi.
Perhaps things could have been 'even more legendary' if Ozzy had gotten the last piece of the mythical trio of guitarists who played for the Yardbirds, if Jimmy Page had answered his call, but the Led Zeppelin leader didn't answer. Of course, not only the guitarists are legendary, but the rest of the musicians accompanying Ozzy on this Patient Number 9 are top notch. We are talking about Chad Smith from Red Hot Chili Peppers and the much missed Taylor Hawkins from Foo Fighters on drums, Robert Trujillo from Metallica, Duff McKagan from Guns N' Roses and Chris Chaney from Jane's Addiction on bass. It is a crazy line-up with which the former Black Sabbath singer has confirmed that he is still very much alive and kicking.
The latest news about his health had been worrying, so much so that this time Ozzy, who has been retiring almost since the beginning of his solo career, seemed to be serious and that Ordinary Man, his previous album, was going to be his final farewell. But it wasn't, and here he sounds revitalised by the company, delivering a remarkable and challenging album that makes it clear that the show must go on.
It is wonderful to hear his voice over the guitar of a Clapton who also sounds revitalised, and the fact is that the God of the guitar, specifically his band Cream, was one of Sabbath's main influences, which is why it makes the hair stand on end to hear that wah wah solo, and a lot of Cream flavour, from Clapton in One Of These Days. Also, of course, as could not be otherwise, the best comes in his two collaborations with Tony Iommi, a totally explosive combination that works again, as in the best of times.
The best of the duo of songs with Iommi is Degradation Rules, with several powerful riffs and Ozzy in top form, even daring to throw in a bluesy harmonica that takes us back to the most classic Sabbath; this may be one of the best songs of his solo career. It is clear that there are voices and guitars that are born to sound together and in the case of Ozzy and Iommi and his SG this is the case.
Of course, Jeff Beck's contributions are not bad either, referring to his psychedelic past in A Thousand Shades, or Wylde, for example in the powerful single Nothing Feels Right.
Although it is evident that the album limps a bit at the end, it is great news that Ozzy Osbourne, one of the most important figures in the history of hard rock, is still in this great form. This no longer sounds like a farewell but a sincere declaration that Ozzy is not going anywhere… and hell will have to wait.