Black Label Society, featuring current Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk "Pride and Glory" Wylde, have developed their small yet devoted fan base by favoring consistency. Their latest offering, The Blessed Hellride
, is a bit of a departure from the standard metal chunk of former staples like Sonic Brew
or Stronger Than Death
. Black Label Society seems to have tried to expand and grow as much as they can without alienating any prior fans.
But, like pretty much every famous guitarists usually superfluous solo project (which Black Label is, don't kid yourself), the songs suffer for Wylde's burning desire to prove himself worthy of the Shredder's crown. As said before, the onslaught of 32nd note sweeping solos quickly wears one down when they happen about every 30 seconds. And Wylde's lyrics are obviously no threat to the songwriter's hall of fame, thrilling metal heads with pearls of wisdom such as "you can never get too low/when you're so damn high", or "in the end we find what's true/suffering overdue". But its worth noting that Zakk himself has written each and every one of these lyrics; considering how rare that is for someone who's day job is guitarist for a mainstream recording artist such as Ozzy Osbourne.
Speaking of "The Lord of Fucking Darkness", he makes a cameo on the naively hopeful single "Stillborn". Even though the overpowering production slathers every part of the song in Ozzy's distinctive moaning, it's all too easy to confuse the two men singing. Wylde has learned much from his mentor, and it seems that he has learned to damn near mimic Ozzy very well. The production of the album is unnervingly clean also, which may or may not have been the intentions. "We Live No More" kicks off slowly with a Top 40-ish drum sound, very punchy and deliberate. Guitar tones on the record dominate, and I had to take a second look at the credits to even realize there was a bass on the record. Sometimes it seems obvious who was at the mixing board that day.
The Blessed Hellride
is a decent addition to any standard metal heads CD collection however. Wylde doesn't come off as laughably pretentious, or as a sexist inbred hick as he's known to be in certain interviews. Southern-fried metal is the order of the day certainly, but there's just the right measure of straightforward teen-type angst to keep some of the younger listeners interested. Also, despite the production errors above, the songs actually cover a good amount of sonic variety, making this record difficult to get sick of quickly due to sameness.
Personally, as a guitarist myself, I find it refreshing to hear someone who knows what he's doing as a player and is playing for the sake of the music. While I do find the constant solo jacking off a bit irritating, its still good to actually hear something; I compare it to a heavy rain after a two month long draught.
This album isn't for everybody. There's nothing new to speak of, no ground being broken, and certainly nothing to rave to your friends about. However, Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society are here to perpetuate, not reinvent. In the process of enjoying themselves, they have managed to create something very listenable, and altogether fun. Even though I wouldn't recommend this album to some single-collecting, elitist fuck, I would suggest that any up and coming serious guitarists check out Black Label Society and learn. Hopefully, BLS will continue to produce work of much higher quality, but for now, this is a nice consolation prize to tide one over. The Blessed Hellride
gets a well-earned 3/5 stars.
-Stayne Falls, Dec. 2003[/font]
|other reviews of this album|
I personally like this album quite a bit. It's not as heavy as the prior BLS, but it shows he can do other stuff as well. If all you like is pure hardcore heavy metal then maybe it's not for you, but otherwise it's quite good. He's already proved how good of a guitarist he is anyways so who cares if he doesn't shred as much here.
My rhythm guitarist loves this album, and he's gotten me into it too. I've heard some older BLS, and I got into this one faster, dunno why. Good stuff....I'd give it a 3.5 probably...but I'd have to hear it again
Suffering Overdue and Blackened Waters are Classics
A solid, wicked album. What else can be said?
This CD, to me, is flawless, you ahve your hard fast songs, your slow and your medium. I bought it about 4 months ago,a nd it's one of my favorite heavy CD's i have. The bst songs on it, are, Blackened waters and Doomsday Jesus. 5/5
I'd agree with Stairway to Hell. This albums got it all. My personal fav off the album is
We Live No More
I decided to put in a track by track one for you all.
Black Label Society - The Blessed Hellride
Zakk Wylde - Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Bass
Craig "Louisiana Lightning" Nunenmacher - Drums
1. Stoned and Drunk
2. Doomsday Jesus
3. Stillborn (feat. Ozzy Osbourne)
4. Suffering Overdue
5. The Blessed Hellride
6. Funeral Bell
7. Final Solution
8. Destruction Overdrive
9. Blackened Waters
10.We Live No More
1. Stoned and Drunk.
This has one of the coolest intros that i've ever heard, it builds up slowly and then busts into a fast paced verse with an awesome riff. The song keeps this pace the whole time. It all ends with a kick *** solo. This is probably the heaviest song on the CD. 5/5
2. Doomsday Jesus
Starts out with a cool palm muted riff and keeps it going through the verse, where Zakk almost sounds like Ozzy Osbourne. When the chorus comes around, Zakk does some awesome screams which reminds me of the verse with how he sounds like Ozzy. The solo on this one reminds me on the first song, but don't worry, it's still awesome. I doubt that BLS could make a bad song. 5/5
If you've heard any BLS songs, then you've probably heard this one. The riff in this song is classic, I think Zakk is the only one who can play one note over and over and make it sound good. Once again, in the chorus, he sounds a lot like Ozzy, who I think might have done backup vocals on this. The solo is one of my all time favorites, it goes great with the song. 5/5
4. Suffering Overdue
Starts out with a nice riff with a lot of pinch harmonic use. His vocals are very hard in this, and it's a pretty angry/heavy song. Near the end it breaks into an acoustic part with soft vocals, and surprisingly enough this works really good. Right after this it goes intro a fast palm muted riffing with the lines "So many years" repeated. Then comes the solo, which shows why Zakk is such a famous guitarist. 4/5
5. The Blessed Hellride
If this is the first time you've heard BLS then you're probably thinking, whoa what? An acoustic song? And yes, it is, and it's also one of the best songs on the entire CD. It's a really good change of pace from the heavy stuff. Zakk really worked hard on the lyrics because they are extremely catchy. There's a nice little blues sounding solo near the end. This song definitely shouldn't be skipped. 5/5
6. Funeral Bell
Once again, sopething simple on guitar that Zakk makes sound so good. The lead guitar in this is some of the best of the CD. Something about this song doesn't really stand out like some others but it's still good. The solo does make up for a lot of it, even though it's short. 3/5
7. Final Solution
Starts out with a cool riff and some really good vocals from Zakk Wylde. The riff stays the same through most of the time until the chorus, which then has some of the coolest guitar work i've heard. It's not fast or anything but extremely well put, just have a listen. The solo in this is better than almost any solo i've heard, Zakk put a lot more emotion than speed in it this time. 5/5
8. Destruction Overdue
Nice fast riff to start off the song. I really like how the music is really fast but the singing is slower, it adds a really cool effect. It sounds a lot like Stillborn when you hear the solo, I think he kind of re-did a part of that for this solo. Other than that there's not much to say other than it's a pretty good song. 4/5
9. Blackened Waters
This is one song that you have to hear. It starts out with slow acoustic guitar and then has some nice lead guitar come in. When Zakk starts singing you can really see how good he is. Just when you think it's gonna be a soft song, the chorus comes in extremely heavy with a really catchy riff. It has a nice build up to the solo, which is amazing, he uses a wah a lot on this solo, giving it a really cool and unique song. This is probably the best song on the whole CD. 5/5
10. We Live No More
This song sounds like a classic rock song at first and it uses the guitar work really good. Zakk had to be influenced by Black Sabbath a lot on this song because it sounds a lot like them. The lyrics are very well written on this track, it's definitely a standout track. The chorus has some really catchy parts in it. The solo goes very good with the song, but it seems like the longer the CD goes on, the solos get shorter. 4/5
11. Dead Meadows
This one starts out with piano playing from Zakk Wylde and it really sets the dark and depressing mood of the song. When the drums and guitar come in, it all goes together great to set the mood. Zakk's vocals are top notch on this one, he should do more songs like this one. This song alone proves that Zakk is one of the greatest songwriters. There's another nice blues solo at the end that reminds me a lot of Eric Clapton. This song has no flaws at all. 5/5
Songs to check out: Stillborn, Blackened Waters, Dead Meadows.
I'd suggest this to any metal fan, and really, any rock fan who can appreciate good music.
This album gets a well deserved 5/5.
You guys seem to know a lot about BLS, recommend an album please. Mafia?
Zakk Wylde is GOD!!!
I mean, he puts a new album out every year, and stays awesome and fresh.
and, acdc91something, you really can't go wrong with any of their albums. My personal favorite is Stronger than death.
Mafia is much to overated, this album or hangover music if you like less heavyness, This album should ahve got much more sales but the lable is terrible. But if i were you i would much rather have this before i buy mafia
Album Rating: 3.5
i like this album a lot, not as much as stronger than death or mafia, but its a great listen. stoned and drunk is one of my favorite BLS songs.
Album Rating: 4.0
I would say this is BLS's best CD baby.
Album Rating: 1.5
I like this album. Spectacular musicianship.
the way i see it if youre as good as zakk why not drop mental solos every 30 secs this album fucking rules its heavy fast and brutal and people many sklate it but noone has tabed a song off it right and ive never met anyone who can play a song off it put it this way if you can play for ozzy at 18 youve got to be good at wot you do
You guys seem to know a lot about BLS, recommend an album please. Mafia?That is the last album you want to buy, so poor in comparrison to the older stuff. I'd get 1919 Eternal, or this one.
I think this is their best album followed by Sonic Brew. I like the "overuse" of pinch harmonics and pentatonic shreddin'. The songs are catchy and kick-ass.
Album Rating: 5.0
Poor review. First you completely omitted the fact that this record is filled with beer - honest - fuck you - attitude, even though it's a standard for BLS record. Considering that, the lyrics have very little importance for this record (some may disagree). Since there is only 1 solo in each song (for the most part), I have no idea where you got the "onslaught of 32nd note sweeping solos every 30 seconds" from. I've yet to hear Zakk Wylde play sweep picking too, so you've just lost the rest of your credibility here. Since you didn't really make more points apart from production issues, that's about it.
I really like this album, even though there are some minor drawbacks, like a few average riffs/some average singing, for the most part its sludgy/rock'n rollish metal with great soloing and good sound. Tracks like Stoned and Drunk, Destruction Overdrive or Doomsday Jesus really makes you wanna grab a six pack and go rock it out on a gig. There are also a few awesome singing parts, like the screams in the above tracks, and some good clean singing parts. The solo in the opening track is one of the absolutely best metal solos I've heard, packing a major punch, straight in-your-face. There are some more laid back, clean songs like Blessed Hellride and Blackened Waters, and they sound quite good too, although Zakk is better at making heavy stuff. Overall it's a really good album.
Ok, but it's far from a 5.
Album Rating: 5.0
I think the blessed hell ride was their best album as far as metal it's got a really good crunchy sound compared to their earlier records which were a little sludgy/grungy far as production.the album absolutely pounds from the start stone and drunk,still born with ozzy is also great along with suffering overdue.Of course the melodic stuff is really good blessed hellride and deadly meadow perhaps has more soul compared to later albums mafia and shot to hell.