Black Label Society
Stronger Than Death
Zakky, baby, what’;s going on here? Alas, Zakk Wylde’;s Black Label Society returns for another round of drinks with Stronger Than Death, their second, the Wylde One appearing quite fond of the hops n’; barley, as “The Bylaws and Code of Honor” of the Society dictates, among other things, “God, Family, Beer,” “Refuse to Lose/Born to Booze,” and Â ahem Â “Thou Shalt Not Spilleth Thy Beer.” Nice words to live by, •cept maybe for that God part. And Zakk’;s also looking quite buff these days, reportedly power-lifting rocks and dead-lifting 405, both handsome amounts for such a nimble-fingered guitarist. But Stronger Than Death? Uh, no. Call it what you will, but I’;d call it talent wasted. Much like Max Cavalera’;s Soulfly, BLS sadly and obviously wastes Wylde’;s gift of riff, sounding way too much like a half-baked Pantera (execution-wise, that is, but come to think of it•), too much like there’;s nothing on the line, too much like less flash (erroneously) equals more power, too-simplified ideas for even-simpler minds. Snooty that may sound, but I guess I’;m just not the punter to wash this down with relish and vigor. Ring me up when you do that next Ozzy record, okay?