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Black Label Society: Kings Of Damnation 98-04

Even though Zakk Wylde has left the Spitfire Records family he did release a total of seven albums under their banner. Five of these were with Black Label Society and the other two are Pride & Glory and Book Of Shadows. Resulting from that partnership was a lot of great guitar laden Metal and it spawned a legion of supporters for Zakk. It was a smart move of Spitfire to offer the fans a compilation based on these albums and it's the perfect introduction to you should you be interested in knowing more about Black Label Society if you have not already been exposed to them. The material that Black Label Society doles out is pure and simple aggressive Metal. Their music trudges along with Doom-like qualities and has some similarity to Black Sabbath in riffing. Perhaps a lot of the BLS sound was influenced by all of the years Zakk worked alongside Ozzy Osbourne. The Pride & Glory stuff has more of a heavy Southern feel to it, almost as if Southern Metal was preparing to make a comeback. The samplings from Zakk's time with this band are good and the CD itself is worth looking into. In the case of the BLS material they included a lot of the tracks that you would expect them to have and among them are my personal favorites like "Bleed For Me" and "The Blessed Hellride". The gentler side of the New Jersey giant can be found on the tracks from Hangover Music. In addition to the previously released stuff there are two new tracks to be found in "Doomsday Inc." and "SDMF". The new tracks continue along the natural progression of the band. Musicians who take part in the tracks are James Lomenzo (bass) and Craig Nunenmacher (drums).

There is no real special attributes to the packaging, just some simple artwork and the track listing with their original albums. There is also a note from Zakk to the fans. While I felt the release would have been better as a double CD anthology, I think releasing it as a single disk gives Spitfire the chance to generate additional interest in the Black Label Society back catalog. Zakk Wylde makes new fans every day and this CD offers the existing fan a nice sampling of their favorites as well as being a great introductory piece to new fans.

Track Listing

  1. Losing Your Mind
  2. Horse Called War
  3. Between Heaven And Hell
  4. Sold My Soul
  5. Bored To Tears
  6. Bleed For Me
  7. TAZ
  8. Counterfeit God
  9. Stronger Than Death
  10. Speedball
  11. Demise Of Sanity
  12. We Live No More
  13. Stillborn
  14. The Blessed Hellride
  15. Crazy Or High
  16. House Of Doom
  17. Takillya
  18. Doomsday Inc.
  19. SDMF

Added: October 14th 2005
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: BLS Website
Hits: 2546
Language: english

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Black Label Society: Kings Of Damnation 98-04
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-10-14 22:38:45
My Score:

Black Label Society's long association with Spitfire Records left behind a large & solid body of work, many of the highlights contained on the grooves of Kings of Damnation 98-04, a single disc retrospective of some of the bands finest songs with the label. While most Zakk Wylde fanatics probably have all these songs, and will probably grumble that so many other classic songs were left off here ( a 2CD set might have been the ultimate tribute to their time with the label, but perhaps a bit indulgent), this is still a fine introduction to the band for those who have yet to discover the doomy metal of Black Label Society.

Whether it be the Southern Swamp metal of the Pride and Glory days ("Losing Your Mind", "Horse Called War") the acoustic Book of Shadows ("Between Heaven and Hell", "Sold My Soul") or the metallic sludge of the actual Black Label Society albums Sonic Brew (of which sadly there are only 2 tracks here), 1919 Eternal, Stronger Than Death (perhaps their best album), The Blessed Hellride, and the acoustic themed Hangover Music Vol. VI, this CD collection is ultimately all about the talents of Zakk Wylde. His guitar style and tone is unmistakable, and so important to hard rock & heavy metal of the last 15-20 years. Combining the crunch of Tony Iommi with the emotion of Robin Trower and the technique of the flashiest neo-classical shredders, Zakk launched a legion of imitators, but none who could create music this lethal, this heavy, this kick ass. Songs like "Bored to Tears", "Bleed for Me", "Demise of Sanity", "Stillborn", and "Stronger Than Death" are just fist- pumping, doomy metal anthems, filled with Sabbath styled riffs and blazing wah-wah lead guitar solos. Zakk's beer drenched vocals are like a cross between Ozzy, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Motorhead, and the rhythm section of James LoMenzo and Craig Nunenmacher plod ahead with reckless abandon. As an extra bonus there are two never before heard rockers "SDMF" and "Doomsday Inc.", a nice teaser for the completist which will make the decision to shell out the extra bucks for this set all the more easy.

If you haven't yet checked out Black Label Society (and if that's the case shame on you) this is a good place to start, although a few passes through this CD will probably have you investigating the complete Spitfire back catalog before long.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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