Black Label Society

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Black Label Society

Black Label Society is an American Heavy Metal band formed in 1998 by Ozzy Osbourne's Legendary Guitarist Zakk Wylde. The band plays a mixture of very rude Southern Rock and Heavy Metal with simple riffs and incredible solos, but they are also capable of beautiful ballads with accoustic guitars and piano. Every Instrument except for the drums is played by Zakk Wylde on the records.


Band History

In 1990 Zakk Wylde's boss Ozzy Osbourne was about to take a longer break after the album Ozzmosis. To kill some time Zakk formed his first project band Pride & Glory in which he combined Southern Rock with Heavy Metal. The project was cancelled in 1994 but the idea behind it stayed alive. In 1996 Zakk recorded a accoustic album called Book Of Shadows. The drummer Phil Ondrich, who worked with Zakk on Book of Shadows encouraged Zakk to do another record in the style of Pride & Glory. The project was intended to be called Hell’s Kitchen but in the end the name Black Label Society was chosen in reference to Zakk's love for Black label Whiskey.

The record Sonic Brew was released in 1998 as another Zakk Wylde solo project because it was entirely recorded by Zakk himself (besides the drums); Black Label Society was never intended to be a long lastin,touring band! Zakk and Phil did a BLS-tour with rythm guitarist Nick Catanese and bassist John DeServio. The feedback to the music was big enough to make Zakk record another BLS record in 2000. The record was called Stronger Than Death and it was followed by a tour, a live record and even a live DVD. Zakk continued to spend every free minute besides Ozzy Osbourne with writing music for his musical playground BLS and released the third album 1919 Eternal in 2002, the fourth called The Blessed Hellride in 2003 and the fifth, all acooustic record Hangover Music Vol. VI in 2004.

Hangover Music Vol. VI was the last album to be released by Spitfire Records because the record company was broke and the band signed with Artemis Records to release the next record Mafia in 2005. For the record Shot To Hell the band signed with Roadrunner Records in 2006 only to disband again in 2007. Zakk keeps on touring with Black Label Society but he grew tired of the limited style of his own band and has not continued to write new material to the present day.

Lineup Changes

Black Label Society underwent several lineup changes being more a single person and his live musicians. Only Zakk Wylde and his rythm guitarist Nick Catanese remained from the original lineup of BLS. Drummer Phil Ondrich collapsed on tour in 2002 because of a jetlag and was replaced by Craig Nunenmacher, who still remains as BLS's drummer to the present day. Bassist John DeServio was replaced by Steve Gibb in 2000 who himself was replaced a year later by Mike Inez from Alice In Chains. From 2001 to 2003 Black Label Society was joined by Ozzy's bassist Robert Trujillo; but he had to leave BLS when he joined Metallica in 2003. His job was taken by James LoMenzo who stayed for three years until he became Megadeth's new bassist. Currently the original bassist John DeServio rolls again with the Black Label Society.

Most Important Record: Mafia

This record is the so far best one of Black Label Society and it combines everything that this band is about: Beer, Metal and Mayhem aswell as depressed doom tracks and beautiful piano ballads. The groovy opener Fire it Up starts with a Talkbox intro that is also the chorus of the song, interrupted by a stomping rythm and a laid back solo. Zakk Wylde is not only dopping jaws with his guitar acrobatic but also with his so far best vocal performance when he performs his squeaky Ozzy-Osbourne-Style singing on one track and on the next he sings with a mellow and melancholic voice to the sound of an accoustic guitar and himself on th piano. Like in the Song In this River, a song that he dedicated to his good Friend Dimebag Darrel from Pantera who was killed in 2004. For the first time on a BLS record Zakk uses heavy downtuning like on Suicide Messiah were he imitates the sound of a motorbike with his guitar. The whole album features a lot of BLS-All-time classics and some of Zakk Wylde's best soloing but also pretty good tracks that never got the attention they deserved like the listening tip Been A Long Time.


1. Fire It Up
2. What's in you
3. Suicide messiah
4. Forever down
5. In this river
6. You must be blind
7. Death march
8. Dr. Octavio
9. Say what you will
10. Too tough to die
11. Electric hellfire
12. Spread your wings
13. Been a long time
14. Dirt on the grave

Musical Style

Black Label Society's music is a mixture of bluesish Southern Rock with Heavy Metal, some newer tracks can almost be considered as Doom Metal. All instruments on the record except for the drums are played by Zakk Wylde himself. The drums in BLS are rock solid rock n roll drums, nothing more nothing less. The bass in studio was played by fingerstyle and is slyightly distorted; most BLS bassists play fingerpicking aswell. The basslines are very simple and basic and the bass is sometimes used to create a deep noise by hitting the back of the bass' neck with the players bare fist. Black Label Society lives from the incredible guitarwork by Zakk Wylde and his sidekick Nick Catanese. The riffs are not very complex but always right-on-the-spot which makes them easy to remember. The most of their riffs are in a stomping rythm topped of with Zakk's incredible heavily vibrated Pinched Harmonics. Every song has a Solo in Zakk Wyldes one of a kind style of insane fast alternate picked three-note-per string harmonics with fast and heavy bendings and country chicken picking. The sound comes from Marshall JCM800 halfstacks which were overdriven by A wahwah and an overdrive. Zakk's voice resembles to Ozzy Osbourne's voice just a bit rougher; Zakk is able to sing fairly high pitched on his faster song and still remain a deep and sad voice for his ballads. Zakk also exceeds on the accoustic guitar where he creates simple but impressive ballads, sometimes with himself on the piano.



Studio Records

   * Sonic Brew - (1999)
   * Stronger Than Death - (2000)
   * Alcohol Fueled Brewtality - (2001)
   * 1919 Eternal - (2002)
   * The Blessed Hellride - (2003)
   * Hangover Music Vol. VI - (2004)
   * Mafia - (2005)
   * Kings Of Damnation 98-04 - (2005)
   * Shot To Hell - (2006)


   * Counterfeit God (2000)
   * Stillborn (2003)
   * House Of Doom (2004)
   * Suicide Messiah (2005)
   * Fire It Up (2005)
   * In This River (2005)
   * Concrete Jungle (2006)


   * Boozed, Broozed, and Broken Boned (Live DVD) (2003)
   * The European Invasion - Doom Troopin' (Live DVD) (2006)

--ZakkWylde 00:51, 27 June 2008 (CEST)