Decades before he became one of the world’s most abnormal reality television stars, Ozzy Osbourne was the undisputed Godfather of Metal. The self-styled Prince of Darkness fronted Black Sabbath and infamously hit the headlines for biting off the head of a bat.
Since a diagnosis of Parkinson’s in 2019, Osbourne has delivered two studio albums. The second, Patient Number 9, is fantastically overblown, preposterously over-produced, and features an eye-catching roll call of guests that varies from the respectable (legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi) to the horrific (legendary dose Eric Clapton).
There’s still something very comforting and reassuring about Osbourne not going gently into that good night and just unashamedly being Ozzy with a little help from his friends, who also include Jeff Beck, Zakk Wylde, Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers, the late Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters, Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses, and various other members of the hard rock elite.
Getting all that hair and those tattoos and egos into one room comes with its own hazards. Some of the guitar solos are so overcooked the songs are charred beyond recognition, but a pummelling riff, such as on the opening bars of Parasite, magically banishes such misgivings.
Ultimately, this doesn’t sound like a long goodbye from one of heavy metal’s foremost heroes and founding fathers, but a playful, defiant and gloriously over-the-top statement that screams the show must go on.