From the opening ‘you don’t have to be mad to work here’-type noises of the opening, title track of Ozzy Osbourne‘s thirteenth studio solo album, Patient Number 9, something feels right.

It certainly feels better than his last album, 2020’s Ordinary Man – which my esteemed colleague (Boss, actually – Ed) Scott Adams labelled “A stinker, by anyone’s standards” – even if the track itself is a little on the simplistic side, save for Jeff Beck‘s quite staggering lead guitar work. It’s a nice way to open proceedings, however, and things only get better as the album unfolds over it’s slightly bloated sixty minute duration.

Beck’s at it again on A Thousand Shades, too, proving if any proof were needed just what a unique guitarist he is; These are the team-ups Ozzy fans want to see (no offence, Post Malone, whoever you are), a point rammed home by the fact that – and I’m not making this up – the best thing here is One Of Those Days, a bluesy, woozy psychedelic romp bolstered by some startlingly good lead playing from… Eric Clapton! Slowhanded by name, and, it seems, by nature too, but his solo here simply smokes, complementing Osbourne’s heavy metal mania in ways you just wouldn’t have thought possible. Track of the year and then some.

Pearl Jam’s Mike McReady adds spiky accompaniment to I’m Immortal, whilst former Janes Addiction man Dave Navarro works his magic to transform the slightly rambling God Only Knows into something quite transcendent and otherworldly. And then, of course, there are the two collaborations with Osbourne’s longest-standing guitar foil, Tony Iommi.

One – No Escape From Now – is vastly more successful than the other – Degradation Rules – but both will manage to get the juices of any self-respecting old heads bubbling away nicely after even the most cursory of acquaintences. Robert Trujillo’s bass adds real heft and authority to the song, but of course it’s Osbourne and Iommi you’ve come to hear – and neither disappoint.

In fact Osbourne’s performances throughout are nothing short of amazing; Producer Andrew Watt’s sympathetic production adds real colour to the man’s vocals, which understandably don’t quite carry the madcap killing power they once did. Throughout Patient Number 9 our hero shines – have a listen to the caustic Parasite for conclusive proof.

Zakk Wylde makes a welcome return, adding his trademark howls without ever trying to steal the show, with the overall result being the most enjoyable Ozzy solo album since, well, 1991’s high watermark No More Tears. He surely can’t have many more albums in him, if any, and if that’s the case then this is one hell of a way to bow out. Congrats to all concerned.

Patient Number 9 is out now.



“I mourn with my country the passing of our greatest Queen. With a heavy heart I say it is devastating the thought of England without Queen Elizabeth II” – Ozzy Osbourne.