Ozzy Osbourne has recorded nine songs and is working on several more for his new album, which his producer calls "a contemporary rock record."
Tim Palmer (U2, Robert Plant) said the Black Sabbath founder has been picking up ideas from the young metal bands that have shared the stage with him on recent Ozzfest tours.
"He's got a new set of tricks," Palmer said. "He's a big Beatles fan, and that's going to come out. But it's still going to sound like him. You can have a track that is way out there, and as soon as he lays the vocal track down, you know it's Ozzy. He has the most recognizable voice in rock music."
The as-yet-untitled project, Ozzy's first studio album in six years, is being recorded with a band that includes solo artist and longtime Ozzy guitarist Zakk Wylde, Suicidal Tendencies bassist Robert Trujillo and former Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin, who filled in when Korn drummer David Silveria hurt his wrist on tour a year ago.
Producer and ex-Black Grape collaborator Danny Saber (Marilyn Manson, David Bowie) wrote some tracks for the album (see "Ozzy Preps New Album, Ozzfest Run"), as did Wylde, Palmer and producer Scott Humphrey (Rob Zombie, Methods of Mayhem).
Some guest musicians may appear, but Palmer would not give names. "I don't want to let the chicken out of the basket or Ozzy might bite the head off it," he said, jokingly referring to the singer's infamous stage antics.
Another eight tracks are set to be recorded before Ozzy and Black Sabbath the original lineup of bassist Geezer Butler, guitarist Tony Iommi and drummer Bill Ward leave to headline this summer's Ozzfest, Palmer said. An October release date is planned.
"If we don't get everything done, I'm just going to stalk him on tour," Palmer said. "With today's technology, you can record vocals in a tour bus."
Ozzy's last studio album, 1995's Ozzmosis, featured the single "Perry Mason." The British metal pioneer released the collection The Ozzman Cometh: Greatest Hits, which featured such solo hits as "Crazy Train," "Mama, I'm Coming Home" and "No More Tears," in 1997.