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Degradation Rules

by Ozzy Osbourne

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.