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Album Reviews : Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society – Order of the Black

By on August 18, 2010

Zakk Wylde has never exactly been the most experimental musician, and with Order of the Black, the eighth studio album under the Black Label Society moniker, he once again proves that he knows how to write a handful of different groove riffs and that’s about it. But, as it seems, that’s exactly what diehard Wylde fans want.

If you’re looking for anything other than classic Wylde, then look elsewhere, but as far as Black Label Society albums go, this is one of the most consistent. Each of the heavier tracks is just as good as the next, and while there are a few slight highlights, none are real disappointments. “South Dissolution” has a truly infectious chorus bound to get you nodding, and is, as the title suggests, even heavier on the southern rock influence than any other track here. “Parade of the Dead” is a good balance of speed and slower groove, and “War of Heaven” takes things to a much darker place but after a spectacular, eerie build-up, just returns to the usual. They’re all good tracks, each in the very same way, which is one of the main issues plaguing his back catalogue; monotony. Towards the latter part of the fifty minute runtime, things get stale, and chances are you’ll have a tough time remembering which track was which.

Now let me be clear here; not every single song is the same. Four of the thirteen tracks are ballads, spread evenly throughout the track list. It’s just that tracks this skip-worthy don’t really count. I challenge you to listen to “Time Waits For No One” without hilarious mental images of a clean shaven Mr Wylde, shirt blowing in the wind, staring into the camera with a deep and meaningful expression, complete with twinkle in the eyes. The short finale “January” is the only listenable ballad, leaving the cheesy piano behind and aiming for a more simplistic and thus more natural sounding, acoustic guitar oriented result.

Oh, and the inclusion of a fifty second flamenco shredfest makes about as much sense as the Jabberwocky.

The production on here is pretty clean, and professional enough to keep most fans happy, although an injection of grunt and dirty power wouldn’t go astray. With the exception of those horrible ballads and the issue of tediousness, Order of the Black isn’t a bad album. There are some honestly catchy riffs and vocal melodies, and some overall great tracks. As a 25 minute release, this would kick ass. 6/10

Band: Black Label Society
Album: Order of the Black
Year: 2010
Genre: Heavy metal
Label: Riot
Origin: USA

1. Crazy Horse
2. Overlord
3. Parade of the Dead
4. Darkest Days
5. Black Sunday
6. Southern Dissolution <-  Reviewers choice
7. Time Waits For No One
8. Godspeed Hell Bound
9. War of Heaven
10. Shallow Grave
11. Chupacabra
12. Riders of the Damned
13. January


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.