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Black Label Society | Stronger than Death | review | southern | rock | Lollipop

Black Label Society

Stronger than Death (Spitfire)
by Martin Popoff

Zakk Wylde is certainly an enigma, a foul-mouthed, Jack-swilling axe hero of the old school, having cut his teeth with Ozzy, even getting to play a rush gig with his heroes the Allman Brothers after Dickie Betts busted up his old lady and a cop. But the music he makes is all serious, pensive, decidedly not the party metal you'd expect from his tall and blond-tressed frame. For indeed, this second (more or less) solo album under the Black Label Society moniker is dark, doomy, textured like 50-grit, and stompingly metallic. That is, save for the album's highlights, its foreboding ballads (see "Rust" and piano piece "Just Killing Time") which sound like Alice in Chains smoked in Wylde's stunning Gregg Allman drone. The metal is almost always about weight, slow, lumbering, again drawing strength through Zakk's sonorous blues drawl. For a man who balances optimism with trash-talking anger of a surface sort, it's a surprisingly large, wide, evil and violent dogpound the man builds. No question where Ozzy's heaviest tracks came from, that's for sure, Stronger Than Death sounding like hurtful Sabbath squeezed drunk and kicking through a Southern rock sausage grinder.


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