Onry Ozzborn

Alone

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On the aptly titled Alone, Onry Ozzborn steps out from his usual place in the Oldominion lineup and delivers a powerful solo debut that moves slowly, but gradually insinuates itself in your brain with a combination of murky, minor-key grooves and hyperactive rhyming. Ozzborn's chosen themes are sometimes unusual -- this may be the first hip-hop album to open with a tribute to chess champion Bobby Fischer -- but frankly, that's kind of refreshing in a musical world that is generally all too thematically predictable. Highlights here include "Metalmouth," with its alternating English and Spanish rhymes, the subtly ska-influenced "Spy City," and the terrifyingly Faustian and apocalyptic title track. Ozzborn's religiosity is expressed in strange asides and dark imprecations on songs like "Heaven Is Coming" and "Shout at the Devil" (no, not the Mötley Crüe song, though that would have been fun). Recommended to all adventurous hip-hop fans.

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