Review: Black Label Society

Black Label Society
“1919 – Eternal”

Ah, Zakk Wylde.  What can you say about Ozzy’s favorite guitar-slinger?  He writes songs with Ozzy, plays in Ozzy’s band, tours with Ozzy and claims his band are “disciples of Black Sabbath,” Ozzy’s original band.  So, can you guess what Zakk’s music sounds like?  Given the vocal similarities to Ozzy on a few of these tunes, this actually sounds alot more like White Zombie, and at times, Pantera.  Repetitive industrial synth beats, southern-tinged guitar licks and a beer fueled ’80s metal backbone all make for a contemporary retro-metal album with some crunch and grind. Double bass drumming on “Battering Ram” is a pleasant addition and a true rocker’s ballad in “Bridge to Cross” brought a smile to my face. There are even some blindingly bright spots here, like the Down-channeling New Orleans guitar strum soul of “Lost Heaven” and the instrumental closer, “America the Beautiful,” simply played on an acoustic guitar.  Unfortunately, the majority of music here is just not fresh.  Don’t get me wrong, Zakk is a rock monster, and he knows how to jam, but an hour is a long time, and most bands need two albums to squeeze out fourteen good tracks. I’d just rather hear an EP of the notable stuff than have to sit through the flat spots of this hit and miss LP.