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Black Label Society: Shot To Hell

Berserker's beware, Zakk Wylde and company are back with their new CD, Shot to Hell, that debuted at # 21 on the Billboard Top 200. Zakk Wylde, one of the last true Metal guitar heroes, serves up 13 new tracks for the BLS worldwide chapter's members. With a new Ozzy CD coming and the release of this new CD, Zakk has been a busy boy. Maybe a little too busy.

Shot to Hell is typical BLS for sure. No real surprises here, but the heaviness factor is a little lacking compared to the previous release, Mafia. The great thing about all of the BLS efforts is that Zakk does what Zakk feels like doing at the time. Whether it's a complete over the top guitar fest blow out or tender piano ballad, Zakk does it his way and apologizes to no one. But on Shot To Hell the material seems a bit rushed, even the production is a little off. But this is Zakk Wylde, can it be that bad?

The answer is no, it's not that bad. Shot To Hell seems to not have the same focus as CD's gone by, but this is a pretty solid record after all is said and done. Does Zakk shred it up? Of course he does. Zakk continues to cement his legend with his usual guitar pyrotechnics. And the single "Concrete Jungle" jump starts the CD and is true BLS, down and dirty. You can almost smell the leather and exhaust. The downside here is the slow paced songs. Usually the ballads that Black Label delivers are full of substance, but on Shot To Hell, they seem to be a bit empty, almost thrown together for the sake of putting them on the record. They seem more like CD fillers than the strong tracks that they have been in the past. Zakk has shown previously that he is fully capable of writing great slower songs ( listen to Hangover Music for plenty of examples), but this is not the case on this record.

The good news is, when BLS makes it heavy it makes up for the disappointment of the slower of songs. Check out "Black Mass Reverends", "Give Yourself To Me", "Faith Is Blind" and the throat choker "Devil's Dime". All steeped in black leather and alcohol.

In this day and age when there are barely any guitar solos or guitar heroes, thank god for Zakk Wylde. He delivers an album and tour just about yearly. And in the time when a good CD is judged upon how many songs you rip into your iPod, a listener should find a good 8 or 9 songs to import from Shot To Hell. This is not Zakk's best release to date, but is still a great air guitar album.

Track Listing
  1. Concrete Jungle
  2. Black Mass Reverends
  3. Blacked Out World
  4. The last Goodbye
  5. Give Yourself To Me
  6. Nothing's The Same
  7. Hell Is High
  8. New Religion
  9. Sick Of It All
  10. Faith Is Blind
  11. Blood Is Thicker Than Water
  12. Devil's Dime
  13. Lead Me To Your Door

Added: October 25th 2006
Reviewer: Butch Jones
Related Link: Zakk Wylde Website
Hits: 3269
Language: english

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Black Label Society: Shot To Hell
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-10-25 12:59:02
My Score:

Following up his 2005 release Mafia with both a new record company and new album comes Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society. Shot To Hell is the name and the album continues the formula that he has been using of late with his mix of Layne Staley meets Ozzy vocal powers over his blistering guitar work. There are some kick ass moments on the recording and they really showcase the level of player that Zakk is such as "Black Mass Reverends" and "Devil's Dime". These are only a couple of the albums shining moments but I admit that this recording might very well confuse a new listener just a bit based on the layout of the songs. Over the course of his career, Wylde has come to be known as a very passionate songwriter, capable of delivering a quality ballad just as easily as he supplies the shredding. The guitarist showed a softer side of song with Hangover Music, an album containing almost all piano-based music. He also had the heartfelt "In This River" from Mafia, as that was his dedication to the late Dimebag Darrell. However, with Shot To Hell he delivers four more songs of this type and while they work for their style of track, they are set between the hard rockers and almost seem to slow the momentum of those songs down quite considerably. "The Last Goodbye" is probably the best of the ballad numbers and could have been best presented as the albums closer. I had a couple of other favorites on the album but I felt it was because they reminded me so much of Alice In Chains in the way they trudged across in vibe and style. The song "Blacked Out World" is the first such track and while this would be a great AIC song, it only comes across as OK BLS tune. As it finished I wondered why he had done a few of his originals in such a dead on style to the Seattle group.

Shot To Hell is not going to come to be known as the best album by Black Label Society by a long shot, but it does not miss the mark that his existing fan base has come to expect from him. The extended use of the piano and softer songs show a deeper side to the musician but perhaps should have been left at one number on this release while the others could eventually find a place in the follow up to "Hangover Music" (if such a recording is in the planning stage). I recommend that any listener first grab his "Best Of" compilation Kings Of Damnation and the new DVD Doom Troopin if you want an overview on his highlights. You can then determine if you want to proceed with the new release from there. I would have liked if this album maintained the harder edge, but not everything he does consists of shred fests. I look forward to seeing what he delivers next as Zakk will always remain one of the most worthy of the guitarists in the business today.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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