On October 16, 2001, Ozzy Osbourne broke a 6-year "drought" with "Down to Earth" - his eighth studio album.
After his previous album "Ozzmosis" from 1995, Ozzy devoted most of his time to the "Ozzfest" festival premiered in 1996. He said that engaging in the metal festival was so much fun for him, that all he wanted to do was to just keep performing like the "Grateful Dead". But the record company demanded new material and the result was "Down to Earth," one of Ozzy Osbourne's most beautiful albums of the current millennium.
For the album Ozzy Osbourne gathered around him "A Dream Team", there is simply no other definition that can explain the collection of talented musicians in the band. Drummer Mike Bordin of "Faith No More" who joined Ozzy's backing band in 1996, but this is his first album with The "Prince of Darkness". Bassist Robert Trujillo who soon after the release of the album will join "Metallica" and guitarist Zakk Wylde who returned to the band after most of the material for the album was already written.
As is well known, Ozzy Osbourne used to write the material for his albums with the help of his band members, especially the talented guitarists who accompanied him. Therefore, in the absence of Zakk Wylde who joined at a later stage, Ozzy relied on two talented musicians and producers. Tim Palmer who has worked with many good artists like Robert Plant, "U2", David Bowie, and more and even mixed albums of bands like "Mother Love Bone" and "Pearl Jam" on their masterpiece album "Ten". Palmer was the main writing partner, he also produced and mixed the album and plays rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, and keyboards and sings background vocals. The other partner was Marti Frederiksen, a talented producer, and songwriter who has worked with "Aerosmith" and "Mötley Crüe", among others.
This album is very reminiscent of the excellent "No More Tears" released exactly a decade earlier. The musical line is similar and includes a combination of catchy and melodic songs alongside classic heavy metal pieces. Like "No More Tears" the production is very clean, polished, and balanced and the lyrics are very personal, with almost all of them dealing, in one way or another, with Ozzy's private life.
For example, the opening song and first single "Gets Me Through" is Ozzy's letter of thanks to his fans, in which he also declares and confesses: "I'm not the Anti-Christ or the Iron Man", the short track "You Know… part 1" is Ozzy's apology to his son and daughter with the words "Tried to be your father Things just made it harder Sorry if I made you cry ..." and the song "Running Out Of Time" is a kind of mental recognition that no one lives forever and that our time on earth is limited.
Musically it is one of the more balanced albums from "Prince of Darkness". It has almost no falls and it flows very nicely in continuous listening, without having to skip songs. Starting with the piano opening of "Gets Me Through" which immediately cuts with Zakk Wylde's monotonous and mesmerizing riff, through "Facing Hell" with the semi-grungy sound, "That I Never Had" whose riff sounds to us like something guitarist Randy Rhoads could have written, The amazing "Junkie" with the crazy riff in which Ozzy tries to warn his fans of the consequences of drug use, using his experience, "Black Illusion" whose leading riff sounds to us like a combination of "Stone Temple Pilots" with "Black Sabbath" and "Can You Hear Them?" 'ho seals the album with the marching drumming.
Ozzy takes care to balance the heavier tracks with ballads and slower tracks like the excellent "Dreamer" which Ozzy called his version of John Lennon's song "Imagine", in which he laments humanity destroying the planet, "No Easy Way Out" which it's acoustic opening also reminded us for some reason of "Alice in Chains", the short segment "You Know… part 1" in which Ozzy apologizes to his children and of course the moving "Running Out Of Time".
There is no doubt that Ozzy went on this album on the cautious side designed to please as many people as possible, especially the record company and his pocket. A catchy album that does not have the boldness and emotion of the first albums. Sure, Ozzy like Ozzy will always "deliver the goods" and this album is definitely not bad, but he lacks the spark and genius we knew at the beginning of his career.