Label: Artemis Records - RCD 17309,Rykodisc - RCD 17309 • Format: CD Album • Country: Europe • Genre: Rock • Style: Southern Rock
Best viewed without Internet Explorer, in x resolution or higher. Ever since Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society became household names in the world of alcohol influenced traditional metal, they've been pumping out a new album every year. It began with " Eternal" in and the consistently toured and recorded with "The Blessed Hellride" in and "Hangover Music" in Never once did it really become a concern that this was a really bad idea, for this band to Linzer Polka - Alfons Bauer, Michel BergerPepi Reichl, Alpenländer Musikanten*, Keferloher Musika on so much responsibility each and every Dr.
Octavia - Black Label Society - Mafia. Normally, bands wait two or three years to release something that is at least decent, few ever became concerned with releasing a new album every single year. This is exactly what Zakk The Illuminous - Arthur Baker - Breakin crew decided to do, and it backfired on them in The problem with "Mafia" is not that it doesn't deliver some healthy riffs and soloing, which Zakk pretty much delivers here.
The problem is that very few, if any of these songs can be considered completed. Sure, the riffs are catchy and reliable, but that's about all we have going. Maybe its because BLS was dropping the same kind of material year in and year out, or maybe its because by the time this was recorded Zakk had run out of steam. Its most likely a combination of both that has a good number of BLS fans, including myself, a tad disappointment over all this.
Keep in mind that Black Label Society's key attribute is the ability to put forth a good riff than grind into the ground. This otherwise negative concept is salvaged by the band's ability to keep it short or at least introduce some redeeming ideas into the songs and Zakk's ability to throw in some respectable soloing.
Being the gifted axeman that he is, Wylde's soloing is usually one of the biggest highlights of any BLS album, the same way that Dimebag Darrell's soloing helped give some life to Pantera's worst moments. To Dr. Octavia - Black Label Society - Mafia my time dissecting Dr.
Octavia - Black Label Society - Mafia fifteen songs mentioned is a waste of both your time and mine. Naturally, there are some that beg to be noted for positive or negative reasons.
A decent riff with some wacky gimmicks going on, but in the end its worth a good listen or two. I also took a liking to "Been a Long Time" if nothing else because its shorter and catchy. BLS can usually rip out a good tune of this caliber and its fairly enjoyable given the heaps of lackluster material here.
The Skynyrd cover in "I Never Dreamed" is decent, though obviously worlds away from the original found on the "Street Survivors" album. The rest of this material isn't so much unbearable as it is either disappointing or funny, and funny is not something I expect out of BLS. It gets worse on "You Must Be Blind," which otherwise is a We Must Be Free - Cocoa Tea - Rikers Island rocker were it not for the annoying ass vocals on the chorus.
It seems like every time he goes to speak the title lyric in the chorus of these songs, Zakk picks a funky way of saying them. The end result is no longer serious or even enjoyable, it becomes a joke Dr. Octavia - Black Label Society - Mafia withstand. Even the more respectable rockers in "Forever Down" and "Spread Your Wings" are just disappointing, sounding like something you'd hear on a b-side compilation for this band.
Were this album labeled as such instead of a proper recording release, I'd be more forgiving. As I've mentioned before, it plays Fanny (Theme from Joshua Logans film Fanny) - Henry Mancini - The Second Time Around And Others a b-side collection album and if thats what you want, then be ready to shell out an outrageous price for a new one.
I actually paid money to hear this, and not being a fan of b-side material in general, the joke is entirely on me. I got maybe four songs out of fifteen worth a second listen and even those can hardly stand up to the better material this band has put forth. Even for Niflheim - Dreaming Under The Moon of BLS, tread carefully.
If this album is an accurate depiction of Black Label Society's body of work, Zakk Wylde is by far the most overblown guitarist to ever escape a human placenta. Mafia is fourteen similar sounding tracks of ridiculously simplistic and neuron degenerative metallic southern rock with an few cheesy ballads thrown in for good measure. I suppose I should have known better considering Ozzy's Down To Earth pushed the boundaries of rectal elasticity into frightening extremes, but apparently, Zakk Wylde is no one trick pony, and proves here he makes an even more hilarious frontman than guitarist.
Imagine that! As soon as Fire It Up strutted into it's kentucky fried ass into my ear canal with it's rudimentary wawa pedal riff accompanied by Wylde's behemoth duck vocals, I burst out laughing.
Not chuckling, but a full throttle interpretation of the LOL acronym. Holy shit, are you kidding me? The next two tracks are of similar, peg-legged descent, but then - Forever Down kicks this bitch the fuck open: ever dream of a track so loaded with pinch harmonics that you may as well be listening to a cartoon laser gun firing for 3 minutes and 41 seconds?
Prepare to cum buckets. Even Malignancy doesn't fight as many martian invaders as BLS. Following that is the tender In This River; a corny piano ballad dedicated to Dimebag Darrel with an equally cheesy video in which Wylde nods soulfully to the heavens a few more times than necessary to get the point across.
The chorus goes on and on like a fucking mantra until Zakk feels confident he's "done Darrel a solid". I can only assume this song was written to be played for Nathan Gale; it would certainly make me regret slaying Dimebag if I was responsible for this song's conception. The next nine tracks are even less memorable than the first handful, and honestly, I don't have it in me to give descriptions of each. If you like Dr. Octavia - Black Label Society - Mafia southern rock with totally incogruous soloing and vocals that are comparable to a mallard on steroids, Zakk Wylde and The Ego Extensions are your boys.
Otherwise, enjoy being a contributive member of society. Before I start this review I just want to say something. Zakk Wylde single handedly got me off Mall-Core with his pure style of heavy metal he is putting out there. This album quite possibly inspired me so much towards heavy metal that it made me pick up a guitar and start playing it. I just quickly would like to say thankyou Zakk and I shall be seeing you on tour very soon. But enough of these thankyou's that you probably view as full of bullshit, let's get onto reviewing this album.
As of today April 17, this is BLS' latest album and no doubt one of their best, well it ranks in 3rd when looking back on BLS' albums with Eternal and The Blessed Hellride coming out in front. Anyway, this album is a strong effort none the less but I must confess something, this album has quite a lot of fillers. I mean, they aren't the easily forgetable fillers well, some are but others are quite good.
But enough about that. Zakk's guitar playing on this album is once again Godly, it completely domminates the album as his powerfull riffs just make you want to headbang along to such Voy A Perder La Cabeza Por Tu Amor - Patriarcas De La Rumba - Cosa Nostra on this album such as "Suicide Messiah" which, well let's not beat around the bush is the best album on the track.
I feel that Wylde's voice is also improving which is a good thing as on his past albums he sounded a little too much like his former boss and friend Ozzy Osbourne. Zakk tries to make his own sound on Dr. Octavia - Black Label Society - Mafia album which is a great thing by the way. I will now talk about the good songs on the album as I feel it is a waste if I go through all of the fillers.
It had me headbanging as soon as Zakk picks up that guitar and starts to give out the riffage. God this song makes me want Dr. Octavia - Black Label Society - Mafia kick ass so much. Excellent guitar solo's on this track as well as the great bass lines which are probably the best on the whole album. Instrumentally this whole song is pretty strong as well as vocally well BLS standard vocally.
Very cool lyrics Im A Little Mixed Up - Diana Krall - Glad Rag Doll "Step inside this nightmare where I live, the madman roams inside my head" Or at least something like that.
Again excellent guitar work but what can you expect? This is Zakk Fucking Wylde on the lead here. A pretty solid effort from this track 8. God, I just can't get over the fact of how great Zakk is on the guitar. This also was one of the many single's on the album and it did actually quite well in that department.
Again, great song writing abilities are shown in this song. This one gets a 9. As far as ballad's go this one ain't so bad. Zakk shows off his piano playing ability on this Dr. Octavia - Black Label Society - Mafia and he even busts out a cool guitar solo, Who Took The Wheel - Blaudzun - Heavy Flowers (Tour Edition) little out of place it may be but it still kicks ass.
This song is also a tribute to the late great and sometimes overrated "Dimebag" Darrell Abbot, former guitar player of Pantera and Damageplan. Zakk and Dime were real close, they even traded guitars some point in there career. Well, R. Dime, we will miss you. Well, that's about it. Overall it was good but nothing really stands out apart from those few tracks. Well, I hope you had fun reading my review as I know I had some fun writing it.
Until next time For example, "Fire It Up" is one of the greatest intros I've ever heard but then "I Never Dreamed", the bonus track, is one of the absolute cheesiest. Also, there are times in which this album seems a little "choppy". I say this for songs like "In This River" since it's a slow song, yet it is preceded by a medium-paced one that ends quickly -- it's like BLS had no place else to put this song so they put it here.
Despite this, the music is by no means bad and the vocals aren't either. It's pretty slow for an intro but that's what gives it its anthemic sound. The riffage is nice and controlled, yet bad-ass. Once again, Zakk puts down some great riffs. It shows that BLS don't have to play heavy metal to make great songs. The transition between this song and "Been a Long Time" is quite "choppy", but that hardly takes away from its greatness. It's a slow track, like "River", but it shines because of its well-sung chorus.
Duds: "Dr. Octavia" and "I Never Dreamed". All "Dr. Octavia" is is Zakk making noise with his guitar. Pretty damn pointless if you ask me. The song is basically a love letter from Zakk to his "woman", telling her how bad he wants her -- something one wouldn't expect from a metal band.
In conclusion, "Mafia" has some minor flaws but it is definitely a worthwhile listen. This 7th offering from Zakk Wylde and his Black Label Society is a crusher of an album, and thats including ballads.
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