The Ultimate Sin

Ozzy Osbourne

CBS Associated Records, 1986

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Way back in 1985, I received my first CD player as a gift. The very first CD I bought was Ozzy Osbourne's latest at that time, The Ultimate Sin. Osbourne had made a solid impression on my mind with the first single "Shot In The Dark" (and no, it wasn't the body of the female star that made me want to buy the album, it was the song)... and besides, the CD I received with the player was getting lonely. (One day I'll get to reviewing that one.)

It's now twelve years since that day. Osbourne has had several dry spells and battles with the bottle since this time, has retired, has un-retired (thanks a lot, Magic Johnson), has occasionally reunited with Black Sabbath, and has started his own record label. I, meanwhile, have expanded my musical tastes past the metal which dominated my adolescence, though I still like to slam my head against the plaster now and then. (Memo to my new landlord: Just kidding.)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

But The Ultimate Sin still can make me smile, even if some of its messages are a tad dated, and this remains one of the few guilty pleasures I still allow myself.

This album proved to be the swansong for guitarist Jake E. Lee, who had come into Osbourne's band following the tragic death of Randy Rhodes. And while Lee may never have replaced Osbourne's favorite guitar player, he managed to carve out his own niche quite well. As for the rest of the crew, well, neither bassist Phil Soussan or drummer Randy Castillo put out enough power to light a fire underneath me.

"Shot In The Dark" still remains one of Osbourne's solo career highlights, while "Lightning Strikes" is a little more fast-paced and intense - kind of like Osbourne himself. Probably one of the best tracks on the album is "Secret Loser," though Osbourne's vocals are restrained. And while he never was much of a screamer in his solo career, I kind of keep hoping he'll abandon the control and cut loose with a killer vocal.

Osbourne does come close once on The Ultimate Sin- too bad it's on the laughable "Thank God For The Bomb" (end of the chorus: "Nuke ya / Nuke ya" - give me a fuckin' break). And while Osbourne sings about the "glories" of the atomic age on one cut, he laments the damage it can do on "Killer Of Giants," which is one of the most beautiful metal songs I can remember ever being recorded.

But for every hit The Ultimate Sin has on it, there is a song whose firecracker failed to go off. "Never Know Why" was supposedly an answer to all the charges levelled against Osbourne around that time ("You've missed the message that says it all"), but it just doesn't have the anger that I think it was supposed to. (Give Osbourne some credit for dealing creatively with his detractors, however.) Two other songs, "Never" and "Fool Like You," have similar sounds, and neither works very well. As for the title track, it's not bad, though Castillo's drumming shows its limits. (I thought Osbourne didn't like drummers who sounded like the video game Space Invaders.)

Despite the weaknesses, The Ultimate Sin is not a bad album, and is enjoyable for an occasional spin on the CD player. It is not, however, one which you'd want to keep available on a regular basis, and it ranks in the "average" category of Osbourne's career. Still, I can think of worse ways to spend an hour.

Rating: B-

User Rating: C+



© 1997 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of CBS Associated Records, and is used for informational purposes only.