(8/10) American guitar wizard Zakk Wylde is back with his band Black Label Society. They release their new album called "Catacombs of the black vatican" in these days. It is already the ninth record of the L.A. based metal institution.
I like two things when it comes to this band. First I appreciate the honest and passionated music of the Wylde and his group. Secondly it's the values like loyality and dedication for what you're doing, which are outstanding.
The music of the Black Label Society is like expected - excellent. Changes compared to earlier releases are limited eventhough I can say that the new disc is more rocking again. It's more rocking and less heavy than the predecessor. Wylde and the Black Label Society still sounds unique. It's the mix between Ozzy Osbourne's "No more tears" times, hard rock and grunge which makes it special. Esp. the last mentioned influences seems to get more dominant over time, which is nothing bad at all. Some parallels with the last Alice In Chains release are existing and fits good into the sound of the band. This gives the entire album a kind of melancolic touch.
The grunge parts are coming back in songs like the opener "Fields of unforgiveness". It's a midtempo song with an almost hypnotic beat. Slow and easy the songs finds it's way into your head. The rhyhtm and the guitar in the beginning have even ankind of oriental touch. "My dying time" continues going that way. Since Wylde is one of the guitar heores of these days soli play an important part in each songs. They are fast, they are creative, they are cool and they are always supporting the song. It's not about the six string only. It's about the band performing good songs.
Speed increases with "Damn the flood". The track is a musical punch with its heaviness and and powerful riffing. Other riff monsters are tunes like "My dying time" and "I've gone away". Yes.
Next to those heavy rockers it is always a pleasure to also listen to the softer songs of the band. If you see Zakk Wylde you might not expect this sensitivity, but it's there. The ballads are often a weak point of many records from other bands, but the guy from New Jersey always managed to also make those tracks outstanding. Songs like "Angel of mercy" and "Scars", which sounds almost a bit like Bruce Springsteen, are empathic and remarkable. They combine emotions and passion by avoiding all the cliches. You can almost hear and see the 'scars' life left - in the good and the bad. This reflects the capabilities and self-confidence of the six stinger and his companions. Another soulful ballad is the final track on the album called "Shades of gray", which is perfect for closing this new chapter of Black Label Society.
"Catacombs of the black vatican" contains real, honest and true music. It smells like gasoline, leather and beer. Cool music and thumps up again for the Black Label Society
- Fields of unforgiveness
- My dying time
- Angel of mercy
- Heart of darkness
- Beyond the down
- Damn the flood
- I've gone away
- Empty promises
- Shades of gray
Label: Mascot Records
Genre: Heavy Metal