Review Summary: A southern milestone.
In ’91, Zakk Wylde was approaching what he then thought was the end of a lucrative job playing guitar for the man himself, Ozzy Osbourne. One can only guess what was going through his head when he thought about the next step he should take on the path of his carreer, but the outcome was a project which not only is stated to be a milestone in Southern metal, it is also deemed to be the start of Zakk’s southern image (let’s face it- the guy is from New Jersey). Whether it was meant as a serious, full time investment or just a way to vent all that southern steam building up in his head (all songs are written by Zakk), one thing is sure- the outcome was ’94 solid piece of southern metal, which is their self-titled debut album, which also turned out to be their only record to date.
The album was recorded as a three-piece. Such a set up us one of the most optimal ones, as the music is usually very dynamic and definitely keeps all musical solutions as fresh as possible, while not being overly complicated. Another advantage of the so called power-trio is that, due to lack of too many egos gathered in one room and getting into each other’s way, it is a perfect way to build jams. And it is due to this characteristic that Pride and Glory have certainly got the southern ‘’looseness’’ to them, which is the first factor contributing to their overall sound. The production might seem rather gritty at first, but the late Rick Parashar definitely knew what he was doing. Known for producing some of the best Seattle based grunge, he managed to smuggle some of the rawness which grunge was known for, into the mix. All the instruments are equally exposed- the bass is very audible, and it’s not covered up completely by Zakk’s guitar mastery. The next factor is an overwhelming heaviness to most of the songs. The riff in Toe’n the line or Troubled wine bring the metal into the equation. But it is the sentimental, southern ramblings of a guy buzzed up on Pabst Blue Ribbon that dominate the album. And if you think I mean that line negatively or ironically, just listen to Fadin’ away or Found a friend and you will see that in fact I mean it in its full sincerest. It is this style that finally lead Zakk to record his famous Book of Shadows, and it is tracks like the two ones mentioned earlier that remind us that powerful music doesn’t have to have all the distortion or low end in the world in order to be powerful. Despite this, the music is top craftsmanship. The solos played by Zakk aren't reminiscent of the ones he tends to play today, which can be rather boring at times- they're actually nice to listen to, and the Wah effect used throughout is also a pleasent addition. The said bass guitar is audible and adds on practically as a rhythm guitar- we even get a solo in one song (Toen' the line). The lyrics also happen to be surprisingly serious for the whole atmosphere in which the album was recorded (hence the burp before Lovin’ woman), oscillating between drug addiction (Losin’ your mind) to the nightmares of war (Machine gun man). In certain bonus editions you can also listen to one of my favorite pieces, Hate your guts. Although this is a bluegrass, joke-song, I find both the lyrics and music a piece of art, introducing contrast between the cheerful music and the lyrics treating about somebody who just won’t stop whining, straining Zakk’s patience a long time ago.
All in all, the album came out at the right time. Grunge, which was the big thing up to ’94, died of unnatural causes together with Kurt, and all the rock fans who found solace in that particular genre, were looking for a new path. Some chose the highly doubtful pleasure of listening to post-grunge, but some decided to go a completely different way. And although Zakk’s playing is a completely different attitude than grunge, I’m certain that many people did value the grittiness and honesty of the music, and this became a gateway for further musical revelations. And although many of Zakk’s later pieces of art are subject to discussion, being accused of cheesiness and monotony, it goes without doubt that this album is one of his best endeavors, and I say this as a big fan of practically anything that he records. Many of people would like Pride and Glory to try and reunite for a second session, but in all honesty, I think that it’s best left at this one album- because the risk of disturbing a monument is too big.