I have been a fan of Zakk Wylde for as long as I can remember. One of my favorite CD's from Zakk is the mellow acoustic Book of Shadows and it falls in my top five CD's of all time. "Shot to Hell" was my least favorite of all BLS CD's, so I had some concerns about "Order of the Black." There has also been many changes in Zakk's life over the past few years as well. Zakk doesn't drink any longer, he parted ways with Ozzy, BLS drummer Craig Nunenmacher left and Evanescence drummer Will Hunt stepped in to make his BLS debut. After all that my friends, I can honestly tell you that Zakk & BLS are back and better than ever. As I said I had my reservations about this disc, but as soon as I heard "Parade of the Dead", I couldn't wait to get my hands on this new material. When I did, I was not disappointed.
"Crazy Horse" kicks off "Order of the Black." The song has this killer chugging riff and includes the battle cry lyrics of "Crazy Horse, I Am." "Overlord" starts off with this cool wah wah effect and then, BAM! The track comes barreling through the speakers with the trademark BLS sound. I am not sure what the hell Zakk was thinking at the end of the tune, I could do without it, but it cracks me up every time.
"Parade of the Dead" is the lead single and will be an awesome track to hear live on the upcoming tour. I have always enjoyed Zakk's slower piano driven tunes, and "Darkest Days" and my personal favorite "Time Waits for No One" are well written tracks that show another side to Zakk and the BLS camp. "Black Sunday" starts off with a ripping guitar solo, which reminds you of why Zakk is one of the greatest guitar players of our time.
"Southern Dissolution" has some super heavy riffs and seems to me to be very Black Sabbath influenced.
My favorite track on the disc is "Godspeed Hellbound." Every time I play this disc on MFNRocks I find myself doing a double shot to include this song. It has the most bad ass riff of any BLS tune in recent memory and a killer hook, "As the world burns / Beneath the ground / Godspeed / Hellbound." The tempo slows down midway through, but comes back with vengeance and blows your face off.
"War of Heaven" has a dark gloomy, sludgy feel to it and is a nice change of pace on the disc. Zakk always writes great songs on the piano and "Shallow Grave" is another one of those tunes. "Chupacabra" is forty-eight seconds I could do without, but it has flamenco style guitar that is pretty badass when you take a listen.
The album then hits "Riders of the Damned" and fires you right back up. "January," is a great CD closer. It is an acoustic track that could have easily been on "Book of Shadows."
If there is one thing to remember from any reviews I write or statements I make on the air here at MFNRocks, is that I will not tell you to spend your hard earned money on a CD that is not worth it. Trust me when I tell you that this disc is the best Black Label Society CD since "Stronger Than Death" and should be picked up as quickly as possible. Pick up two copies and give one to a friend or keep the second one in your car. You will wear this CD out.
Zakk is back! I can't wait to see the tour when it hits the Hard Rock here in Orlando, FL.
1. Crazy Horse
3. Parade Of The Dead
4. Darkest Days
5. Black Sunday
6. Southern Dissolution
7. Time Waits For No One
8. Godspeed Hellbound
9. War Of Heaven
10. Shallow Grave
12. Riders Of The Damned