Black Label Society
Order Of The Black

2010, Roadrunner Records
Hard Rock

Sempre uguale a se stesso, ma sempre inconfondibile, Zakk Wylde ritorna a colpire duro!
Review by Stefano Risso - Publish on: 30/08/10

We got used to the proliferation of Zakk Wylde, four years of silence seemed almost eternity. As a matter of fact, from 1999 to 2006, our boy with Black Label Society released a record per year. Not to mention the following exhausting tours and the undemanding collaboration with Ozzy Osbourne. Even if there was a break, it wasn't enough to avoid some bad surprises to Zakk, in professional and personal matters: the split-up with Ozzy, never completely clear, and even worse, the loss of his father and a dangerous health issue (the diagnosis is about thromboembolism to legs and lungs, he could died of that).

Zakk in 2010 is for sure a more mature man, thinner and "clean", at least according to the latest appearances, no more addicted to his alcoholic diet (he even drank beer while doing weightlifting) and luckily enough, he's been more concentrated on his music. I don't mean that the previous "Shot To Hell" is a bad album, but the feeling that Zakk needed to take a rest was quite obvious. He needed that in order to give new sheen and new energy to his songs. Well, "Order Of The Black" is the best answer that Black Label Society could give, concentrating in this eighth record all that the fans were expecting from the band.

Always faithful to himself, yet always unmistakable, Zakk Wylde gets back rocking with his Les Paul, creating some of the best songs ever composed. A very powerful sound, that remembers the very first records of the band, denser and made by mid tempo and outbursts set off very quickly, tough riffs that unscrew your head for the headbanging; there's an use and abuse of pinch harmonics, burning wah pedals and classic spectacular solos. Mr.Wylde' s cocktail is always this, a successful union of mastery, feelings and ignorance, hanging between hard rock tradition, some heavy metal sounds, and great southern and sludge influences. The typical ballads have the task to soften the sound; ballads have always been Zakk's crowning glory, sometimes we prefer to see him sitting in front of a piano than playing his guitar.

As you may have already understood, it's hard to find something new, indeed, "Order Of The Black" certainly fits to each member of the "Black Label Family", but did the guys really need to change such a winning formula? Of course, if we wanted to be a little finicky, we would notice a certain immobility from Zakk in the song writing, with the usual series made by verse, refrain and solo, repeated through all the album. After all, all of this is not new to those who have been following him for some time. We could even add that a composer and a musician like him could have done more, maybe he could get back to the inspiration he had in the masterpiece "Book Of Shadows" and gave us something more elaborated. We forget about these thoughts as soon as we listen to the album, we get dragged by the great passion put in every single part of the album, supported - at last - by outstanding sounds that reach almost perfection.
"Crazy Horse" and "Parade Of The Dead" were about to appear in the coming set lists as classic songs, but it won't take too long to get familiar with the driving "Black Sunday", "Southern Dissolution", "Godspeed Hell Bound", "War Of Heaven" or even with the crushing "Riders Of The Damned". These are songs that go right to the point, they are almost familiar, honest, just like the main theme used during gatherings of frisky bikers. Well then, Black Label Society is in shape enough to make all the fans go gaga.

It's a successful album in every single aspect, for example with a shorter track list without the usual weak points which influenced the past records; this time Zakk is imperious at the microphone, aggressive and moving at times - you should listen to "Time Waits For No One" to believe that - We should also remark the great entry of Will Hunt (former Evanescence member) in place of the great and memorable drummer Craig Nunenmacher; Hunt perfectly fit in the mood of the album. Should I say something more? This record has nice songs, true feelings, great involvement, high quality sounds and voice. Maybe they are not new things, but with Zakk Wylde we can turn a blind eye on.


Special thanks to: Alessandra Leoni 

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