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Black Label Society “Order of the Black”

Black Label Society - Order of the BlackMusic is written for different reasons.  I like to categorize it into two groups:  musicians who write music to express themselves and musicians who write music not for themselves, but for others.  Both groups have fans: the former group has fans in those who relate to what the band is putting out whereas the latter group has fans in that it tailors to exactly what the fans want.  Is either wrong?  Not really.  While I do put more stake in a band that writes for itself than one who writes for others, your mileage may vary.

So, the question then becomes, which group does Black Label Society fall into?  I say it falls into the latter group.  Before you attempt to burn me at the stake, hear me out.  I have a logical explanation for this.  First I will address the technical aspects of the album, and then I will address the people who listen to the band.  So, technical aspects come up first.

Black Label Society is far from innovative.  Chugging guitars, some high pitched guitar solos, some slower, ballad type songs, it is all there on “Order of the Black”.  However, a band doesn’t always have to be ground breaking to be a solid band.  There is nothing wrong with using what works, if that is what you want to go for.  The guitars on this album are solid as any other track put forth by Zakk Wylde.  Like I said, the formula used by Wylde and his band are not exactly making history, but it is undoubtedly heavy music and you can feel the earth crushing power chords come through crisp clear AND distorted.  The bass playing leaves me wanting more.  The bass playing on this album is nothing to write home about as it simply mirrors the guitar riffs.  While it bothers me on a personal level (as a bass player), I understand that this style of playing fits into the mix perfectly.  I just wish the bass was not EQ’d out quite so much.  I hear low end, but I get ZERO tone for my money and I don’t like that.  The vocals are typical Zakk Wylde vocals, nothing has really changed here either.  As much as I wish I had more to in depth analysis, I can only go as deep as the music allows me.

Now, for the fanbase.  Fans of Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society will absolutely love this album.  It is an area they are familiar with, it doesnt deviate from what works and gets you moving.  The fan base this music is written for isn’t exactly musically intellectual, however.  Picture if you will a bunch of white dudes who work out every day and have tribal tattoos.  Picture what they might have laying in the background while they have a cookout and pound beer.  Yup, this is the material that comes to mind.  I would like to, if I may, explain what I mean.  This music sits in the background of any hang out, but does not make people say “Hey I haven’t listened to any Black Label Society in a while, I should pop that in.”  The music here sits better in an ongoing mix of background metal.  Think of it as well crafted, biker bar elevator music.


Track Listing:

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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