Album Review Black Label Society Order Of The Black

It has been four years since the release of the last Black Label Society album ‘Shot To Hell’, a piece of information that stuns the loyal Black Label Society fans who were used to Zakk Wylde releasing an album every year. With a four year break from Black Label Society’s last album, going sober after a serious health scare and parting ways with your idol Ozzy Osbourne, a lot of has happened in the world of Zakk Wylde but what it result in? Well the result is simply one hell of an album.

“What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger” is nothing but the honest truth when it comes to ‘Order Of The Black’. While the album may still has that signature Black Label Society sound which many people who are critical of the band state “if you have heard one album, you have heard them all”, ‘Order Of The Black’ comes with a new lease of life and intensity that is required to show that Zakk doesn’t need Ozzy to succeed and that he can stand on his own two feet.

Black Label Society Order Of The Black European ArtworkI agree with a lot of the critical statements regarding the band’s sound over the last few albums but with ‘Order Of The Black’, like I mentioned above does come with that new lease of life. The signature Black Label Society sound you know and love or hate, is still there, don’t start thinking that you will be walking into something brand new as you’re introduced straight away to brutal riffs with southern power, unique vocals, piano lead ballads with a fresh underlying mix of doom and sludge on the heavier tracks just to give you a bit more grit.

‘Crazy Horse’ opens the album and already sets down the gauntlet before moving into ‘Overlord’ which kicks in with a southern rock tone that instantly made me think of Pride & Glory, Zakk’s southern rock side project. ‘Overlord’ continues the hard action before we move onto the high tempo fan favourite ‘Parade Of The Dead’.

The album continues to produce some great heavy songs throughout like ‘Black Sunday’, the southern doom powered ‘Southern Dissolution’ and the thrash inspired ‘Godspeed Hellbound’. Though you have your power, no Black Label Society album would be complete without the piano ballads but it becomes hard when you have a song like ‘In This River’ to compete with. With several ballads on the album, including the disappointing climax to the album with ‘January’, it’s safe to say that ‘Darkest Days’ is the stand out of this group of songs.

The surprise song on the album, well in the sense that is there, will be the 51 second ‘Chupacatra’ which is a quick fire flamenco guitar style instrumental. I can’t say I listen to a lot of flamenco style guitars to compare but while people are finding a strange love to it, I just don’t get it.

If ‘Order Of The Black’ was to be released in 2007, I wouldn’t have expected much but I think that is what was slowly killing Black Label Society. They released an album in 1999 and 2000, took a year off and then in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 released a brand new album and during that time if you were not a fan of the band, you simply never would be but ‘Order Of The Black’ could be the album to switch you.

Zakk has went through several life changing experiences, he has a new fresh outlook on not only life but his music and with his own studio to work within, he had time to focus and create the best Black Label Society album in a long time. A break is what Black Label Society needed and as long as they don’t try force more albums out, Zakk can walk away with his head held high and take a step out of Ozzy’s shadow.

Rating – 8


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Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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