The Ozz-man cometh once again, re-uniting with guitarist Zakk Wylde for a album's worth of metal mayhem that,while entertaining, breaks no new ground.
Perhaps at this stage of the game we really can't expect anything substantially different from Ozzy, but Down to Earth is engaging regardless.
Starting off with the autobiographical "Gets Me Through" puts things immediately on a high note. Featuring chugging guitars and a catchy chorus, this is pure Ozzy, heavy and familiar. The same can be said for "Facing Hell", perhaps one of the heaviest songs on the CD. Zakk gets off some evil riffs, and really explodes during his all too brief guitar solo. Another rampaging rocker, "Junkie", features more angry riffs from Zakk, and emotional lyrics that perhaps are all too steeped in Ozzy's past experiences. Fans of Black Label Society might find interest in the song "No Easy Way Out." Much of Zakk's guitar work on this track will remind of some of the monstrous riffs from Stronger Than Death, but for whatever reason producer Tim Palmer has chosen to mix the guitarist down in the mix a bit. Many of Wylde's trademark harmonic wailings are mixed way down, or cut out alltogether. This is a problem throughout this CD, and could be due to the fact that Zakk came into this project very late in the recording process, and took part in none of the songwriting. Much of the edge that the past few Ozzy albums had is missing here. This is also evident in the two ballads included. "Dreamer" (a poor rip-off of "Goodbye To Romance") and "Running Out of Time" are both uninspired and too similar to songs that Ozzy has done before.
In summary, a solid platter from Mr. Osbourne and Co., but don't expect No More Tears or Ozzmosis. I think if Zakk Wylde would have been allowed to do his thing here it would have made this a possible classic as the grooves are there, but seemingly some have been lost on the cutting room floor.