Black Label Society
Mafia


4.0
excellent

Review

by circleofdeadchildren USER (18 Reviews)
September 3rd, 2005 | 67 replies | 14,236 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist


4 of 5 thought this review was well written

Black Label Society: Zakk Wylde (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, mini-Moog synthesizer, talk box, voice box, bass guitar); Barry "Lord" Conley (piano, synthesizer, mini-Moog synthesizer); Harry Conley, Eddie Mapp (mini-Moog synthesizer); James Lomenzo (bass guitar); Craig Nunemacher (drums).

Seven albums in seven years. Sounds like a recipe for increasingly lousy music. For many bands it would be, but for Black Label Society, it's merely a testament to this band's talent and love of music. Their latest album Mafia is so strong it makes the whole seven in seven thing sound like a strange joke.

Founded by former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde, Black Label Society delivers no-frills, guitar-driven hard rock that is both emotional and headbang-inducing. Fans of Ozzy will easily enjoy this, as his former axeman carries a good amount of Ozzy influence, mainly in the vocals. But there is enough to make Wylde and his band stand out on their own, as Mafia is a distinct yet back-to-basics rock album.

So many tracks on Mafia are worthy of being cranked to high volumes. From the opener Fire It Up to Been a Long Time, heavy rock fills this album to the brim. Some songs exhibit a gritty toughness such as Say What You Will and What's In You?. Other songs such as Electric Hellfire ( "You're gonna meet Jesus if you're messing with me" ) and first single Suicide Messiah ( "Crawl through the flames that eat your flesh" ) display in both message and delivery a darker side worthy of the skeletal images that adorn every BLS album cover.

Though Wylde is the centerpiece of the band, the other members are not to be overlooked. Nick Catanese (guitar), Craig Nunenmacher (drums), and James Lomenzo (bass) - along with some guests - provide a great deal of the heaviness that makes this album so enjoyable. For example, You Must Be Blind starts off great, but it's when the rest of the band enters that this song really takes off. Every member lends a hand in making this fierce, stomping number one of the album's best. But of course, Zakk Wylde is still the star of the show. For evidence, just check out the sweet, minute-long guitar solo that makes up the entirety of Dr. Octavia.

In addition to the guitar, another driving force on this album is the piano. In its first appearance, it's used to create an eerie intro to the otherwise hard-rocking Forever Down. But immediately after that, the piano sticks around for all of In This River, a beautifully somber hymn about loss (as is the heavier Too Tough to Die) that exudes emotion while easily getting stuck in your head for days. The piano returns for the album's final two tracks. First is Dirt on the Grave, a haunting song made even darker by the piano. Lastly, an untitled track takes us out with a heartfelt, Guns 'N' Roses-like breakup song, culminating with one last excellent guitar solo.

Seven albums in as many years is a tall order for most artists Ė even if one is live (I donít think that takes away from their productivity level). Obviously quality is more important than quantity. I'm sure Wylde knows that, but I'm also sure he knows he has the talent and drive to pull off both. Here's looking forward to the next seven.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Shadows
Moderator
September 3rd 2005



2530 Comments


Good review. I don't like BLS much at all, but I still have a lot of respect for Zakk Wylde.

Dead_Trench
September 3rd 2005



159 Comments


I cannot stand BLS. Zakk does terrible vocals and hisriffs are pretty generic sounding. His lyrics sound like they were written by a thirteen year old just writing about what he thinks is cool. The good part about them is Zakk's guitar solos. But hey, this is a good review.

Tele_Dude
September 3rd 2005



16 Comments


Good review.
I dont like BLS, mainly because of Zakk Wylde. He is such an a$$. But that dont matter, as long as the music is good, right? But it kinda reflects in he's lyrics. Anyway, good review, once again

Thor
September 3rd 2005



10178 Comments


I can't really get into this band because all of their songs sound the same. You did a good job reviewing though.

masada
September 3rd 2005



2733 Comments


Their album prior to this was supposedly a mostly acoustic, quiet record.

StigmataSD
October 9th 2005



43 Comments


OK. This is just completely IMO, but I love this album. The solo's rock the freakin walls, especially Dr. Octavia. Zack's voice is something that'll have to grow on you, but you can get past it for some awesome music.

masada
October 20th 2005



2733 Comments


For the love of God (except you Med ), stop it with the caps.

Storm In A Teacup
October 20th 2005



12687 Comments


Geezer and Iommi's solo carrers>Black Sabbath>BLS>Ozzy's solo carrer

poor Bill Ward

Storm In A Teacup
October 20th 2005



12687 Comments


[quote=Elim Jr.]For the love of God (except you Med ), stop it with the caps.[/quote]

All of that guys posts are in caps. Which is annoying.

Diabulus in musica
December 17th 2005



485 Comments


what the fuck is IMO


masada
December 17th 2005



2733 Comments


"In This River" is a decent piano ballad...

UNTIL ZAKK WYLDE BUSTS OUT AN OFF-RHYTHM WANKER-SHRED SOLO.

I'm Charming
December 17th 2005



332 Comments


Yeah. The solo just keeps completly out of place.

Decent solo just wayyy out of place.

Aakon_Keetreh
December 17th 2005



448 Comments


i could never get into black label society for some reason

Wave.Existance.Tears
December 25th 2005



72 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

B/c they aren't that good, maybe?

KingDanroth1
January 21st 2006



24 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Whoa, enough with the BLS bashing, BLS Rocks and theres nothing you can do about it. Stop listening to the press about what they think about BLS and Zakk Wylde and Pick up an Album and Listen, I mean really listen. They have kickass riffs and the solos kill.
Bleed Black Label

Kyle
January 21st 2006



667 Comments


this album would be a lot better, but it seems to trail off towards the end. It's good, but lacks the wuality of the older albums. I hope the next album sees Zakk back at his best.

Royd Rage
February 9th 2006



419 Comments


compared to the a lot of other music that is wussing out this album rocks for me...some of the songs are not as great...i personally just thought the solo for in this river was too short. zakk can make better music though... hangover music vol 6. was instantly great...why is there no review for it?This Message Edited On 02.09.06

Damage_Inc.
February 12th 2006



2 Comments


MAFIA IS ONE OF THE BEST BLS ALBUMS EVER. YES....I'M TYPING IN CAPS....TRY AND STOP ME ELIMINATOR JR...FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!

mudvayne_bass_player
February 12th 2006



71 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really like this album. In This River is so sad.
R.I.P. Dimebag

NEDM
February 23rd 2006



1113 Comments


Caps are ghey.



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