Black Label Society – Order Of The Black (2010)

Posted: February 3, 2011 in Music

Zakk Wylde will tell you that the writing and recording of Order of the Black, the eighth Black Label Society studio album, was no different than that of any other record he’s done. But consider the year the man had leading up to its August 2010 release. First, he lost his longtime gig as Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist. He had to take time off from touring—and spend some time in emergency rooms—due to blood clots in his legs, a condition that also led to him putting down the bottle. His father passed away in January. And, the happening most directly related to the new album, he built a home recording studio, affectionately known as the “Black Label Bunker.”

Any one or two of these things might not have had a huge impact on Zakk as a musician. But taken, cumulatively, how could these events not have a major effect?

Whatever the reason, Order of the Black is the best Black Label Society album to date, rivaling Ozzy’s No More Tears as the top recorded output of Wylde’s career. This is the album BLS fans have been waiting for. While the last two, Mafia (2005) and Shot to Hell (2006), felt a little rushed at times, Order of the Black finds Zakk energized with no shortage of ideas, including the expected monster riffs and ripping solos, and a few tender ballads. Super-crisp production, credited to Wylde, gives the drums a little extra punch.

Order of the Black is a diverse collection, with the kind of driving metal tunes you should expect (“Crazy Horse,” “Overlord,” “Parade of the Dead,” “War of Heaven”), as well as a handful of piano-driven numbers that find Zakk channeling his inner Elton John by way of Gregg Allman (“Darkest Days,” “Time Waits for No One,” “Shallow Grave”). The Southern flavor that has seeped out of the band’s sound over the years finds its way back into some of the more rocking songs, too (“Black Sunday,” “Southern Dissolution”). We also have, in “Godspeed Hellbound,” powered by relentless double-bass drumming, the heaviest BLS track yet, but even within that song, there is the changeup of an acoustic interlude. Similarly, a haunting piano break finds its way into “Riders of the Damned.”

Vocally, Wylde is in top form (the best he has sounded in years), effectively mixing his nasally-Ozzy-esque tone with his deeper, soulful, Southern-inspired drawl. This album comes highly recommended.

8/10

Tracklist:
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 Hellbound
09 – War of Heaven
10 – Shallow Grave
11 – Chupacabra
12 – Riders of the Damned
13 – January
14 – Junior’s Eyes
15 – Helpless

http://www.amazon.com/Order-Black-Label-Society/dp/B003TOMSPO/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1309218561&sr=8-6

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