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Black Label Society - Mafia

=Staff's pick

Fire It Up
What's In You
Suicide Messiah*
Forever Down*
In This River
You Must Be Blind
Death March
Dr. Octavia
Say What You Will*
Too Tough To Die
Electric Hellfire
Spread Your Wings
Been A Long Time
Dirt On The Grave

Genre Hard Rock
Zakk Wylde
Tracks 14
Zakk Wylde
Runningtime 48 Min.
Label Artemis Records
James Lomenzo
Release 08 March 2005
Craig Nunenmacher
Country USA
Similar artists Ozzy, Corrosion Of Conformity

Black Label Society main man Zakk Wylde has been the guitar player with Ozzy for many years since he followed in the footsteps of Rhandy Rhoads and Jake E. Lee. But not everyone might know that he has done a bunch of albums besides those with the prince of darkness, he has managed to put out one solo album, one under the name of Pride & Glory and now with Mafia six albums with Black Label Society.

Black Label Society is Zakk's work all the way as he is the songwriter, the lead guitarist and vocalist, so there is no question about who is in charge of this band. And as soon as the music starts you can't be mistaken on that guitar, you hear immediately that it has got to belong to Zakk Wylde.
He has a significant style with his playing and I find it impossible to resist when he starts bending those strings. I also like the attitude of the band, there is nothing fancy about Black Label Society, it is plain heavy and powerful metal often with a mighty groove and explicit guitar playing. It is back to basics and no-fuzz metal.

With elements of southern rock, Black Label Society delivers a bunch of songs with an up-beat tempo packaged in a dirty sound suiting perfectly while the production keeps the music clear. Flow and groove is two key words when it comes to the album Mafia and when you listen to the track Forever Down, which marches forward with a typical Zakk groove that is not of this world, it is hard to imagine how it can get much better. With the riff in the straight forward track Say What You Will it might however just be a little bit too close to Stone Temple Pilots riff in the song Crackerman, although that doesn't stop it from being one of the better yet powerful tracks on this album.

Mafia goes along in the same well known beaten track as earlier and it feels like it has been heard before. Even though you shouldn't fix something that isn't broken it feels like it is about time to expand the sound. Even though the quality level is high, it is too much of the same and not just on this album but also with the earlier ones. The better songs from BLS might be found here and Mafia might be a more focused effort but still it follows the same recipe, it works for this time as well but not one more time. And you can't complain on his qualities with the guitar, as he is a guitar hero without a doubt right down in the veins of late Rhandy Rhoads and you can hear that his time with Ozzy has put its marks on him as songwriter as well.






7 chalices of 10 - Thomas

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