Sound — 6
Upon first listen to Ozzy's new album, 'Scream', fans will notice that the sound of this album is a little clearer than that of his previous effort, 'Black Rain'. This sound quality and clarity of guitar tone gives this album an edge over it's predecessor, though it is easily noted that this album is definitely 'Black Rain' Pt. 2. Gus G's guitar tone is great on this album. The new guitarist, previously of Firewind fame, has brought some of his style to this album, but mostly maintains the parts that Zakk Wylde previously wrote for this album. Some shining moments include his melodic guitar solo on 'Let It Die' and the near thrash riff in the verses of 'Diggin Me Down.' The latter is possibly the strongest track on this album overall. Blasko's bass riffs in this album very much resemble the past album. Songs such as 'Soul Sucker', 'Let Me Hear You Scream,' and 'Latmier's Mercy' could easily pass as 'Black Rain' b-sides. However, they are still decent. 'Latimer's Mercy' is heavily driven by Blasko's deep underlying bass with an overlay of Gus G's dissonant chord arpeggios, creating one of the darkest tracks on the album.
Lyrics — 4
Ozzy is getting old, and has done about all he can lyrically and melodically, and this album showcases. Many of the melodies are recycled from the past few albums, as well as the lyrics heavily appearing as if they were written for alternative takes of 'Black Rain' songs. As a loyal Ozzy fan, it pains me to say this, but he holds this album back. Lyrically, the songs are the same themes as 'Black Rain.' Most of the songs revolve around Ozzy wanting to fix past mistakes in his personal life, address his drug addiction, or combine the two. The one track that stands out lyrically is 'Diggin Me Down.' This track is likely the most thought out, well written song on the album for Ozzy. It addresses personal struggle with faith and shows a deeper connection between Ozzy and his songwriting than has been seen in many albums.
Overall Impression — 5
Overall, the sound of this album is good as long as you were a fan of 'Black Rain.' The lyrics are, for the most part, just as weak as 'Black Rain' was, and Ozzy is trying to hold strong without out adding any dynamics to his melodies or lyrics. Even if you weren't a 'Black Rain' fan, this album does have some new musical elements to offer. Many of the songs are a much cleaner, darker sound than 'Black Rain' could boast, setting 'Scream' aside as the darker half of what could easily be considered a double album set. In all likelihood, Gus G will get to truly showcasing his songwriting on a follow up to this album, should Ozzy have another album in him after this one. While the album is definitely worth a listen, I wouldn't buy it if the price went over $10.