Ram Jams: Ozzy Osbourne’s Brilliantly Dark ‘Patient Number 9’ is a Perfect 10

The Prince of Darkness’s latest album sees a king defiantly standing over his throne



Ozzy Osbourne’s “Patient Number 9,” released on September 9 is the musician’s 13th studio album.


Genre: Hard Rock, Metal

On a Playlist With: Black Sabbath, Metallica, Foo Fighters

Two years ago marked the beginning of a new era of darkness for the world in the shape of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw a stagnating music industry where many anticipated releases faced unfortunate delays. 

However, Ozzy Osbourne led the charge and dropped the extraordinarily optimistic “Ordinary Man.”

Two years later, on Sept. 9, 2022, Osbourne returned with a modern magnum opus in “Patient Number 9,”  a haunting hailstorm of dark brilliance.

A haunting hailstorm is truly the only description of Osbourne’s 13th studio album — hard and relentless, yet there is an odd sense of beauty through all the pervading darkness of its songs as they rain down on listeners. The darkness is indescribable in the sense that it has been seen before in his discography with albums like “Bark at the Moon,” “No More Tears” and “Ozzmosis,” which were released in 1983, 1991 and 1995 respectively. 

What’s different about Ozzy’s trademark darkness in 2022 is how polished it sounds. The work is uncompromisingly a hard rock/metal album, yet it has the rare potential to be listened to and enjoyed by people who do not typically listen to those genres. 

For all of the album’s nostalgia-inducing rapturous riffs that whisk audiences away to the musical wonderland of the ’80s and ’90s, there is nonstop scintillating singing from a 73-year-old Osbourne whose voice has held up so well. Audiences are sure to be in a perplexing state of awe considering all they’ve heard about his health issues after his Parkinson’s diagnosis, a degenerative nervous disorder for which he received surgery for in June.

The opening and title track “Patient Number 9” is where Osbourne’s odyssey of the ominous begins, delving into life as a patient afflicted with mental illness in an asylum. Between the riffing of guitar legend Jeff Beck and doomsday drumming of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith, Osbourne excellently slithers in to deliver the spine-tingling verse: “Hiding the pills inside your mouth / Swallow them down then spit them out / I hear the laughter scream and shout / No tomorrow.” 

“I’ve been calling out for someone / Mouth around the gun / Nothing feels right / Nothing feels right.” Zakk Wylde, lead guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne

By the time listeners arrive at the first riotous guitar solo halfway through the song, they may feel as if they themselves are the patient Osbourne alludes to in a straitjacket — except they won’t want to leave, because there’s no way of telling what’s coming next with the storm. The album excels in its unpredictability. 

Throughout the 13-track LP, Osbourne proves that he is a sonic sorcerer, as he makes switches to his lineup every other song. Where “Patient Number 9” sees Beck on guitar, the infectious track “Parasite” sees metal master Zakk Wylde on a tear. 

Osbourne even taps into his Black Sabbath days, reuniting with Tony Iommi for the epic “Ozzmosis”-esque ballad “No Escape From Now” and the humorously hard “Degradation Rules.” One would be forgiven for thinking these frequent changes are questionable on the surface. However, these changes keep things fresh as each song sounds different, yet astonishingly consistent. 

A surefire favorite for fans will be “Nothing Feels Right,” which has Wylde monstrously shredding for a solid minute, followed by Osbourne emotionally delivering, “I’ve been calling out for someone / Mouth around the gun / Nothing feels right / Nothing feels right.” The track is Osbourne’s response to the headlines he’s made regarding his battle with Parkinsons and almost sounds like a dismissive middle finger to the now-bizarre notion of him being bedridden. 

Where 2020’s “Ordinary Man” offered more glimpses of optimism, “Patient Number 9” sees Osbourne surprisingly diving deeper into what made him a multi-generational mainstay in the music industry — his unrepentant affinity for darkness.

The Bottom Line: “Patient Number 9” sees Ozzy Osbourne catching lightning in a bottle five decades into his illustrious career, as he takes listeners through a dark descent of unparalleled brilliance in 2022.

The Peaks: “Patient Number 9,” “Parasite,” “No Escape from Now” and “Nothing Feels Right”

The Valleys: “Evil Shuffle”

The Verdict: 10/10