Review : BLACK LABEL SOCIETY – "Order of the Black"

Black Label Society Order of the Black
Release Date: 2010Aug10 (US)
Label: E1 Music
Rating: 3.5/5

Ahhh, good ol’ Zakk is back with another slab of boot stompin’, pick squealin’ riffage! Oh, and a host of ballads as well. On the one hand, if you’ve heard one Black Label Society record, you’ve heard them all. This time around, though, Zakk has all of the elements dialed in tightly. Sonically, it’s the best sounding BLS record to date: the mix is clear and even, Zakk is back to playing like he’s got something to prove, and singing better than he ever. Tracks like opener “Crazy Horse” and “Parade Of The Dead” rip with a ferocity that has been missing from the last couple of BLS releases.

Ballads have always been a staple in the Black Label Society catalogue, and four of the thirteen tracks on Order Of The Black are such (4, 7, 10, 13). The piano-driven “Shallow Grave” is the standout, which strays from the blueprint Elton John worship that tends toward Zakk’s softer numbers. However, they are interspersed throughout the record, so as to not get in the way of the band’s strength—delivering straight-up heavy rock numbers.

It is also important to note that the rhythm section is spectacular on this record, with deeper grooves when compared to previous BLS outings. With all due respect to longtime drummer Craig Nunemacher, the addition of Will Hunt to the fold has added a different feel to the music. He and J.D. DeServio lock in tight and lay down a solid foundation on top of which Zakk can blaze.

For lack of a better term, the music has more “bounce”, which injects a new energy into the BLS formula. Overall, this could very well be Black Label Society‘s best record to date. Maybe not exactly breaking new ground, but well worth a listen if you are a fan of honest, no-frills heavy rock with blistering guitar solos as only Mr. Zakk Wylde can deliver.

Try 1, 3, 5, 8

01. Crazy Horse
02. Overlord
03. Parade Of The Dead
04. Darkest Days
05. Black Sunday
06. Southern Dissolution
07. Time Waits For No One
08. Godspeed Hell Bound
09. War Of Heaven
10. Shallow Grave
11. Chupacabra
12. Riders Of The Damned
13. January


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