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Black Label Society: Order of the Black

Zakk Wylde is well and truly back with his brand of guitar fueled biker riding METAL! Order Of The Black is the long awaited album since Wyldes much publicized ousting from the Osbourne clan, albeit without any malice or the usual rock star bitchin'. It's also probably the first album he's made 'sober', once again a near death blood clot almost deprived the world of another guitar hero in his prime thankfully it was not to be and we have this album as a testimony to his endeavoring survival and determination to kick the booze.

Proceedings soon enter Distortion County with the rocket fueled 'Crazy Horse' which funnily enough gallops along like a goddamn crazy horse, twisting and turning guitars pummel at you. The pace is relentless for the first four tracks with the six minute 'Overlord' passing by so quickly its intensity is infectious. 'Darkest Days' sees Zakk slow the pace a little and enter his Book Of Shadows thought provoking ballad style, albeit with immense guitar solo crescendo. Order Of The Black sees Zakk's vocals improve on his last outings, they sound more powerful and he seems to have expanded range which makes for a much better album, looks like the sobriety has it's positive side effects.

Throughout all of Zakk's guitar athletics let's not forget the cement that binds this house of metal together, long time partner in crime Nick Catanese. Between them the full on guitar assault is relentless and the moodier slower moments played with emotion and heart like the final track 'January". Order Of The Black certainly delivers 13 tracks of what is promised and if your already a Zakk fan then much of what I say will pass you by because you'll have been sold long ago to the BLS mayhem. If you ordered a mass guitar massacre at high volume and needed a city leveling to the ground then Order of The Black will deliver. Like I said Zakk is back, better than ever and seeing the world through different eyes…now let's fuck shit up!

Track Listing
1. Crazy Horse
2. Overlord
3. Parade of the Dead
4. Darkest Days
5. Black Sunday
6. Southern Dissolution
7. Time Waits for No One
8. Godspeed Hellbound
9. War of Heaven
10. Shallow Grave
11. Chupacabra
12. Riders of the Damned
13. January

Added: August 18th 2010
Reviewer: Mark Davies
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 3356
Language: english

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Black Label Society: Order of the Black
Posted by Scott Ward, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-08-18 15:47:03
My Score:

After seeing Zakk and company in concert a few months before his well documented health problems, I really wanted to hate this new album. He left a very bad taste with the antics and overall pompous attitude that night and I am sad to say that BLS really lost a lot of its luster for me then. So with a chip on my shoulder I put the new disc in the player and started thinking of all the bad things I could conjure up about the Wylde one and damn if he didn't screw it up! Looking to slam the crap out of him, Zakk and the band has come up with their best effort to date and an album that almost makes me forget that night in Chicago.

It is little wonder that this album has a darker aspect to. In it BLS deals with subjects such as death, spirituality and seems to have a lot of reflective moments where Zakk is looking at his close encounter with the Grim Reaper. Something like that effect someone in a lot of different ways. It seems like Zakk's tribulation only proves the old adage; What doesn't kill us, only makes us stronger.

Black Label Society uses their usual assortment of weapons to get their point across. Terrific metal rockers like "Crazy Horse", "Overlord", "Black Sunday" and "Godspeed Hellbound" remind all the listeners that this is one of the most potent metal acts on the planet when Zakk unleashes his six string fury. He does so often and with some of his best work to date. "Southern Dissolution", "Parade Of The Dead" and "Riders Of The Damned" are a few more times where Zakk takes his mighty Les Paul and creates some instant southern tinged heavy metal classics.

Order Of The Black also gives you a healthy dose of the mellower side of BLS. Ballads are not new to these guys but this disc has more of Zakk on the piano than any of their previous works. The dynamic "Darkest Days" with its southern charm is the first of the slower works on the disc. They then give Zakk a chance to become the crooner with the very melodic "Time Waits For No One" where he also gives you a soulful guitar solo that will get the Bics fired up in concert.

One of my favorite moments on the disc is the power ballad "Shallow Grave". From a musical standpoint this is the song that shows me the growth of Zakk's songwriting ability and that he is not afraid to go in whatever direction it takes him. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing finer than having Zakk take off a layer of skin with his sonic blast and patented pick squeals but it is on the softer side that he shows what all the years has taught him. Just listen to "January" and you will hear what I mean.

If you opt for the digital version of the disc you get two more songs to tempt you. One is the haunting ballad "Junior's Eyes" and the second is a remake of the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young classic "Helpless". Both are worth a listen and if you like Zakk behind the keyboards these are a couple more terrific ballads in his repertoire.

Zakk, I am really starting to hate you! First I drive 300 miles to get thoroughly turned off by your Chicago performance and then you can't even let me keep the mad going by turning out an album that has been the most played disc I have since receiving it. Now, I am going to have to give you another chance to rock my socks off after hearing Order Of The Black. Damn you Mr. Wylde!!

Black Label Society: Order of the Black
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-08-16 14:15:05
My Score:

Guess getting sober has 're-fueled' Zakk Wylde a bit, as Order of the Black is easily his best release since 2003's The Blessed Hellride. Perhaps also leaving the ranks of Ozzy Osbourne's band also had something to do with it, but either way, Zakk's brand of muscular, riff heavy biker metal is on full display here, along with a boatload of blazing solos.

What made some of the early Black Label Society albums really work was the combination of catchy tunes to go along with those crushing, Sabbath-meets-Pantera riffs, and that formula is back in style here once more. Tracks such as "Crazy Horse" and "Overlord" hit and hit hard, but are instantly memorable, both from a riffs perspective as well as the chorus. Wylde's vocals are forceful and on point throughout, especially on snarling ragers like "Parade of the Dead", "Black Sunday", and "Southern Dissolution".

There's usually a few piano & acoustic guitar led ballads on each BLS album, and here is no exception, coming in the form of "Darkest Days", "Time Waits for No One", "Shallow Grave", and "January". Though they are each nice songs for what they are, there's probably two too many, and they sort of break up the momentum of the heavier pieces. I mean, what do we really want to hear from BLS anyway, tender ballads or monster metal juggernauts like the pinch harmonic ripper "Godspeed Hellbound" ? Exactly.

Overall though, Order of the Black shows a recharged Zakk & Co. who are ready to take over the world and leave ashes in their wake. This is heavy...bone crunching heavy at times, but more importantly, catchy & memorable heavy metal, not the semi-generic material these guys have been cranking out for the last few years.

Welcome back Zakk!

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