The Ozzy Osbourne album that he wanted to record again: “There was no imagination”

Rock and roll has never been about achieving perfection. Even though bands can spend years trying to chase after one distinct sound, there’s a good chance that they are better off making something that’s from the heart than what’s technically perfect. Although Ozzy Osbourne has had more than his fair share of rough times both in and out of the spotlight, he always wanted a chance to go over one of his classic albums.

At the start of his solo career, though, Osbourne was dangerously close to becoming yet another casualty of the music industry. After being kicked out of Blak Sabbath, Osbourne was wasting away at home before he could find some inspiration from guitarist Randy Rhoads. In the young guitar hero, Osbourne found a brother in arms, helping him translate his dark lyrics into metal masterpieces like ‘Mr Crowley’ and ‘Over the Mountain’.

Once Osbourne seemed to be back on top again, everything came crashing down when Rhoads was killed in a freak tour bus accident midway through the tour for the album Diary of a Madman. While Osbourne was gutted not to have his trademark guitar star by his side, he knew the best way to carry on would be with replacement guitar Jake E Lee, who perfectly blended the hair metal gloss of the modern era with Rhoads’s trademark flash on his debut with the frontman, Bark at the Moon.

Though the project marked one of Osbourne’s spookiest albums yet, The Ultimate Sin was where he started to get in tune with songs that were a lot heavier. Tuning down much more than usual, songs like the title track and ‘Shot in the Dark’ brought Osbourne back to the ‘Boogieman’ persona that he was known for, alongside sinister ballads like ‘Killer of Giants’.

When talking about the making of the record, though, Osbourne would say that he didn’t enjoy the sessions for the album at all. While the songs were decent pieces of Osbourne’s catalogue, he felt that most of it fell apart when it came time to mix with producer Ron Nevison.

Discussing the lacklustre sound of the final product, Osbourne desired to do a proper remix of the album as he thought it should sound, saying, “Ron Nevison didn’t really do a great production job. The songs weren’t bad, they were just put down weird. Everything felt and sounded the fucking same. There was no imagination. If there was ever an album I’d like to remix and do better, it would be The Ultimate Sin.”

Then again, change was already in the air for the madman in the next few years. After becoming one of the titans of heavy metal, Osbourne would part ways with Lee in favour of a young upstart named Zakk Wylde, who would bring a bluesy flair to albums like No Rest for the Wicked and No More Tears.

Even though The Ultimate Sin may get lost in the shuffle among Osbourne’s classics, what he created is still head and shoulders above any other metal act at the time. Osbourne may have felt like he was flying blind, but sometimes, when taking one’s foot off the gas, they can create their best work.

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