Black Label Society

Black Label Society

Sonic Brew


This is Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society. I guess the last album from the penultimate Ozzy axeman didn’t rub the fans the right way, as it apparently took the acoustic ballad direction. If that was the case, then Sonic Brew will get everyone back. Rocking, whiskey-foundation rocking metal is the best way to characterize this album. At times it’s simply so heavy the only inspiration I could think possible would have been a nasty hangover.

Each song is billed in the liner as a particular “blend” or “brew” or hard liquor. For instance, “Born To Lose,” a pretty heavy number, is described as “Is it me or have you noticed the endless stream of fucking idiots that keep jumping through the television screen?” “Lost My Better Half” has this to offer: “If you don’t like it fine, but don’t be one of those pussies who goes around making those whiny fucking faces after you drink this shit.”

I like the direction and the novelty of treating each song like it’s a harsh whiskey. All the songs (except maybe “Peddlers of Death” — a droning, slow ballad and T.A.Z., a wicked flamenco instrumental) are heavily spiked with Wylde riffs (get it?), each one just a little bit different. I get the feeling that the Black Label Society spent a long time getting loaded on espresso and Johnnie Walker before allowing the energy of a sleep-impossible bender to take over and nail these songs to the floor. “Black Pearl,” just as an example, is a bitter sounding, extremely heavy number, filled with these insane metal solos that could only come from a lifetime of listening to and playing old Black Sabbath adding your own bits here and there until the songs are no longer recognizable except as original pieces. Hold on, “World of Trouble,” sounds an awful lot like “Hole in the Sky”…. Hey! This is great! Whoa! Stoner rock fans: check this out!

Spitfire Records, , , ;

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