Whatever veneration one might have for Black Sabbath’s legacy, there’s little point in denying that Ozzy Osbourne’s latest album Patient Number 9, is an extremely silly record – notwithstanding its recent Grammy Awards success. With this single, for instance, I honestly lost count of my snorts of amusement. I mean, just the irony of such onanistic heavy-metal harmonica soloing on a song so prominently featuring the word ‘masturbation’ – highlighted with a pitched-down effects spin at 1:39 no less!
Comedy potential aside, though, I was far from thrilled by the snare sound here. There’s just something choked and unnatural about it, such that it feels more like a rather dislocated sample than a genuine part of the kit, thus undermining the overall illusion of size for me – not only for the kit, but for the band sound as a whole. It doesn’t help the drum’s punch, of course, that the master’s been hammered into the endstops, taking the integrated loudness (around -5.5dBLUFS, with a loudness range of just 1.7dB) well beyond the bounds of common sense now that loudness-normalised streaming is so widespread. To be fair, the snare sound seems to improve a little as the track progresses, and the copious buss-compression pumping seems well-judged to enhance the mix’s sense of energy and movement. But it does still seem like a bit of a waste somehow to hire a drummer like Chad Smith (of Red Hot Chili Peppers fame), and then short-change the snare in the weight and sustain departments relative to the guitars.