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On disc: Black Label Society



Boozed, Broozed & Broken Boned (DVD) - Amir Djawadi -
Hangover Music Vol. VI - Sandra Bucher - 8 stars
Order Of The Black - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars
Order Of The Black - Mike Thompson - 8 stars


www.blacklabelsociety.net







Order Of The Black

Order Of The Black
(Roadrunner Records - 2010)


Zakk Wylde started Black Label Society back in 1998, now 12 years later the 8th studio album - called Order Of The Black - get in stores. Beside some singles BLS released a live album, 3 DVDs and two best-of albums. Last year Zakk Wylde had to cancel a tour and get hospitalized to due to blood clots. On the other hand he Wylde just got an Gold God Award as best guitarist.
It's been 4 years since BLS released their last studio album Shot To Hell, but songs like the fast Parade Of The Dead show BLS as we know them. Zakk Wylde is still firing stellar riffs and offers cool solos. The opener Crazy Horse is infectious. The unique vocals of Zakk Wylde - and his guitar play - always been the essential of BLS, no matter what song you'll listen to. Crazy Horse is a good opener, but it's not one of the highlights. The piano-based ballad Darkest Days show the soft side of the rocker, something he showed on his solo album Book Of Shadows. And Time Waits For No One is another ballad with piano, but also with some nice guitar part. Black Sunday kicks off with guitar and seems to cite Ozzy Osbourne, but as it's Zakk's past it's no surprise - and it's heavier. And Godspeed Hell Bound seems to combine the two sides of Mr. Wylde with fast riffing and slow passages. Southern Dissolution is a Southern metal tune la BLS, but I have to say that I prefer songs like Parade Of The Dead or pick up Pride & Glory for some heavy Southern rock sounds. The instrumental War Of Heaven is over too fast and leads into the balladesque Shallow Grave. With the following Chupacabra Zakk Wylde shows his talent at the Flamenco guitar, just a short interlude, but who knows Mr. Wylde might embed something like that in a song in future... After the heavy rocker Riders Of The Damned the album closes with the acoustic tune January. As a bonus on the international release you get Can't Find My Way Home, another slow, acoustic tune and a cover of the Blind Faith classic.
The album offers the whole range of BLS sounds - and some surprises. If you want some straight forward rockers, then this isn't what you are looking for. But it's a great album anyway.


8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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Order Of The Black

Order Of The Black
(Roadrunner Records - 2010)


I'm a relative newcomer to Black Label Society only having listened to them properly within the last month or so. Of course I know Zakk Wylde and have heard BLS before but they've always been a band I have tended to overlook for one reason or another. That being said I have thoroughly enjoyed what I've heard from this band so far with The Blessed Hellride being one of my most played albums lately and so I was really happy to hear of a new album.
One thing that cannot be overlooked with BLS and even I can tell this after only a short time is the heavy use of squealing pinch harmonics and fans will be pleased to know that they are back in full force for this album!
Order of the Black starts with the incredibly catchy Crazy Horse, a song which showcases all of Black Label Society's trademarks from the aforementioned pinch harmonics, the groovy riffs and Zakk's Ozzy-style vocals. This style continues through Overlord and Parade Of The Dead, giving the album a really solid and enjoyable opening segment.
Things slow down in true BLS style for the next song Darkest Days, which is the first piano-driven ballad on the album and a very enjoyable song overall. After this the band go back to their bluesy, Southern groove metal base and unleash Black Sunday in an intro of relentless soloing. Southern Dissolution continues with more of the same before they slow down again for Time Waits For No-One; undoubtedly the weakest track on the album to this point although there is some nice soloing in there. Godspeed Hellbound is the fastest track on the album and the neck-breaker I needed after the previous song! I know Black Label Society like their ballads but I much prefer the heavier side of their music! War Of Heaven is a short, dark, interlude that functions as an intro to the ballad Shallow Grave another slowy that fails to hit the target for me I'm afraid!
Chupacatra is another short song that shows something a little different Flamenco guitar! To me this interrupts the flow of the album somewhat but luckily BLS carry on proceedings with another storming grooveathon in Riders Of The Damned! The regular album finishes with another ballad entitled January. To be honest its another let down for me but is blessedly short! The bonus track is Can't Find My Way Home and will be included on the limited edition release of the album. Another ballad but at least one where Zakk sings with a bit more grit and has a little of the feel of The Blessed Hellride (song) about it. To be honest I preferred the bonus track over the majority of ballads on this album!
The album will be released with four different covers available in different territories; one for North America, one for Europe, one for Australia and one for South America & Asia so BLS purists will be hunting those down I think! Overall this is a really strong and enjoyable album that long-standing BLS fans will really enjoy. I don't think it will bring new fans into the fold as it is very similar to the other BLS albums I've heard but this may actually take the place of The Blessed Hellride in my regular playlist!


8 stars

Mike Thompson
 

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Hangover Music Vol. VI

Hangover Music Vol. VI
(Spitfire Records - 2004)


He first stepped into the spotlight as the guitarist of Ozzy Osbourne where he replaced the passed Randy Rhodes. Later he started Pride & Glory, but they recorded only one album. Next stop in his career was founding Black Label Society. With BLS he brought back the heaviness and power to his music - some missed that in Pride & Glory... But Hangover Music Vol. VI is showing a different side of the beer drinking guitarist. Here - like on Book Of Shadows - he uses a lot of acoustic guitars and piano. The music is still heavy and has some screaming guitars here and there, but is more emotional - especially the vocals. A tune which shows this quite well is House Of Doom. While Damage Is Done and Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow represents the piano-based side of this album. Very catchy is Steppin' Stone, a good track to check out, too. Mr. Wylde also recorded a cover version - Procol Harum's Whiter Shade Of Pale - which been recorded a hundred times. Actually I think that this is the weakest track of the album... And I heard better versions before, but well... His music is what counts, isn't it?
Perhaps not heavy enough for real metalheads, but for fans of heavy / biker rock and the ones who liked Pride & Glory this one I can just recommend. Give it a try!


8 stars

Sandra Bucher
(translation: Claudia Ehrhardt)
 






???

Boozed, Broozed & Broken Boned
(Eagle Vision - 2003)


In the beginning this was planned as a side-project of guitar wiz Zakk Wylde who is / was mainly guitarist for madman Ozzy Osbourne. After the release of several albums, successful tours - among others he supported Ozzy - and festival appearances it's time to release a DVD. It's all about the music and so the main part of the DVD is a concert which was recorded in Detroit. But there is more then just this show. There are two songs from a show in Japan which obviously wasn't recorded with the same equipment as the Detroit show, but there for the atmosphere is more authentic.
An interview with Mr. Wylde was a must, even if it's hard to get everything right, coz he has a heavy accent. During this interview Zakk tells about his childhood and that in the early days he spend more time playing baseball, later playing guitar became more important and part of his daily life. The fans get a short look into the family life of the guitarist, in detail he sings a duet with his little daughter. Zakk - shaved off the beard - plays acoustic guitar and his sweet, little girl sings with him.
For the guitarists the master decided to play some tunes and then to split them up and explain how to play them. A great help for young guitarists. And so Zakk Wylde presents Ozzy's Miracle Man, Pride & Glory's Cry Me A River and The Beginning... At Last of Black Label Society. A good chance to take a lesson from Mr. Zakk Wylde!


Amir Djawadi
(translation: Claudia Ehrhardt)
 

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