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The Prince of Darkness returns with new album 'Patient Number 9' // review

“This album took my mind off of my problems.”

Birmingham’s legendary rock god Ozzy Osbourne returns with a brand new album titled ‘Patient Number 9’, the first since the release of his 2020 record ‘Ordinary Man’. It marks a complete resurrection of an Osbourne we haven’t heard for some time; he’s wielding heavy metal’s flag and returns to his throne ready to raise hell.

Back in June we heard the title track ‘Patient Number 9’ and it was everything we needed to hear right then. Seven minutes of pure electricity, a revival of 70s heavy metal, an institutional echo, accompanied by prestigious guitarist Jeff Beck - one of many superstar collaborators on this record. Ozzy says: “The song is about a mental institution. Having someone like Jeff Beck play on my album is just incredible, a total honour. His solo on ‘Patient Number 9’ is just jaw-dropping.”

Conjuring what promises to be the heavy metal album of the year, the record demonstrates an incredible scale of musicianship and a league of rock and roll icons such as Zakk Wylde, the Chilli Peppers’ Chad Smith, Eric Clapton, Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, Metallica’s Robert Trujillo, Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan, and the late Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters. As well as this, we hear from Sabbath’s very own Tony Iommi for the first time on an Osbourne solo record on ‘No Escape From Now’, which boasts a dynamic composition with an abundance of rumbling bass lines and dirty hooks. Be ready for the four minute mark, because bloody hell, just as you'd expect, it is insane.

Notable tracks on the album include [my personal favourite] ‘Immortal’ - which features guitar craftsmanship from Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, who, over the years, has showcased dexterity with his instrument - and ‘Parasite’ where we hear face-melting riffs in epic proportions from long-time Osbourne partner Zakk Wylde. You almost begin to feel like a kid in a sweetshop; just as you think you’ve found the golden ticket you’re presented with a dirty jar of sweets that leaves your tongue tingling, your heart pounding, and your ears ringing.

The record is somewhat contrasted by its ceremonial notes and a melancholic aura in tracks such as ‘Thousand Shades of Darkness’ where we encounter a passionate solo paired beautifully with a string accompaniment. ‘Mr Darkness’ is yet another stand-out track, emphasising just how much passion has been put into this release, into the music, into the lyrics. It tells us that this is His album, he’s still got it and the maestro won’t back out just yet; and his latest single ‘Nothing Feels Right’ is a true heavy metal ballad where he explores his anxiety and paranoia. Ozzy, along with Iommi throughout the album, stay true to their Sabbath roots. The record finishes with the somewhat eclectic ‘DARKSIDE BLUES’ which showcase a western undertone which standouts from the rest. It’s an acquired ending but interesting nonetheless, and the final laughter from the Madman himself screams ‘It’s not over just yet’.

Patient Number 9 is an album fuelled by pure ‘heavy f*cking metal*. It’s like a warm shot of whiskey hitting the back of your throat, and in a fiendish way, leaves you longing for more.

‘Patient Number 9’ will be released this Friday on Columbia records - order it here.

Words: Tate Powell (@tatepowellx)

Image: Ross Haflin


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