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Black Label Society - Mafia - 2005 - Artemis Records

Track Listing
1 - Fire it Up
2 - What's in You
3 - Suicide Messiah
4 - Forever Down
5 - In This River
6 - You Must Be Blind
7 - Death March
8 - Dr. Octavia
9 - Say What You Will
10 - Too Tough To Die
11 - Electric Hellfire
12 - Spread Your Wings
13 - Been a Long Time
14 - Dirt on the Grave
Berserker metal.

That's the tag that is currently being tossed around in reference to Zakk Wylde's band, Black Label Society, and their alcohol-and-machismo fueled sound. Webster's Dictionary defines a 'berserker' as: one who's actions are recklessly defiant. 'Reckless' certainly fits the BLS sound, as well as some of Wylde's off-stage antics, if reports are to be believed.

Wylde's merry band of madmen was born in 1999, after Wylde spent more than a decade as guitarist for Ozzy Osborne. 'Sonic Brew' was a massive metal undertaking and other than a few meanderings into the more melodic side of heavy rock, Wylde has kept true to BLS' initial blueprint. 'Mafia' is BLS' 8th album, released on Artemis Records. The album tends to sneak up on you, beginning with the tune 'Fire it Up.' Rather than storming the gates like the Berserkers of Scandanavian lore, this number rumbles with a bluesy lope and before you know it,your whole body is bouncing and grooving along.

By the third track, 'Suicide Messiah,' the gloves are off and the warm-up is over. It's time for BLS the way the fans have come to know it best! This is one of the crushing, solid, brain-scrambling monsters that blow out speakers, give listeners whiplash, and makes Zakk Wylde the larger-than-life Guitar God he is! 'In This River' is a melancholy rocker, apparently written for Wylde's slain friend, 'Dimebag' Darrell Abbot. There's not much that can be said to accurately portray the emotion conveyed by this song, so it's best to just leave it at that and let you hear it and feel it for yourself.

Further into the album are more impressive tracks, such as 'Too Tough to Die' and 'Electric Hellfire.' The BLS 'mystique,' which is the equivalent of a jackhammer through the skull, is aptly covered by these tunes. These days, the executive chapter of the Black Label Society is made up of [other than President and CEO Wylde] James LoMenzo on bass, Craig Nunenmacher on drums, and Nick Catanese on guitars. Guests include Barry Conley and Eddie Map.

This is a raw, barbaric show of metal mayhem, with an edge of technical perfection that only an artist of Zakk Wylde's stature could make work.


--Susan Wright 05.18.05
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: BLACK LABEL SOCIETY
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Hangover Music Vol. VIBlack Label Society
2004
Greg Watson4/30/2004
Kings Of DamnationBlack Label Society
2005
Ken Pierce10/27/2005
MafiaBlack Label Society
2005
Susan Wright6/25/2005
SkullageBlack Label Society
2009
Kim Thore10/16/2009
The Blessed HellrideBlack Label Society
2003
Greg Watson7/7/2003


ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: BLACK LABEL SOCIETY

No Summary reviews currently exist for them.


ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: BLACK LABEL SOCIETY
INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE
Zakk WyldeBlack Label SocietyKim Thore12/22/2010


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