“Shot To Hell” by Black Label Society

Artist: Black Label Society
Title: “Shot To Hell”
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 9/22/2006
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 3/5

Following up his 2005 release “Mafia” with both a new record company and new album comes Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society. “Shot To Hell” is the name and the album continues the formula that he has been using of late with his mix of Layne Staley meets Ozzy vocal powers over his blistering guitar work. There are some kick ass moments on the recording and they really showcase the level of player that Zakk is such as “Black Mass Reverends” and “Devil’s Dime”. These are only a couple of the albums shining moments but I admit that this recording might very well confuse a new listener just a bit based on the layout of the songs. Over the course of his career, Wylde has come to be known as a very passionate songwriter, capable of delivering a quality ballad just as easily as he supplies the shredding. The guitarist showed a softer side of song with “Hangover Music”, an album containing almost all piano-based music. He also had the heartfelt “In This River” from Mafia, as that was his dedication to the late Dimebag Darrell. However, with “Shot To Hell” he delivers four more songs of this type and while they work for their style of track, they are set between the hard rockers and almost seem to slow the momentum of those songs down quite considerably. “The Last Goodbye” is probably the best of the ballad numbers and could have been best presented as the albums closer. I had a couple of other favorites on the album but I felt it was because they reminded me so much of Alice In Chains in the way they trudged across in vibe and style. The song “Blacked Out World” is the first such track and while this would be a great AIC song, it only comes across as OK BLS tune. As it finished I wondered why he had done a few of his originals in such a dead on style to the Seattle group.

“Shot To Hell” is not going to come to be known as the best album by Black Label Society by a long shot, but it does not miss the mark that his existing fan base has come to expect from him. The extended use of the piano and softer songs show a deeper side to the musician but perhaps should have been left at one number on this release while the others could eventually find a place in the follow up to “Hangover Music” (if such a recording is in the planning stage). I recommend that any listener first grab his “Best Of” compilation “Kings Of Damnation” and the new DVD “Doom Troopin’” if you want an overview on his highlights. You can then determine if you want to proceed with the new release from there. I would have liked if this album maintained the harder edge, but not everything he does consists of shred fests. I look forward to seeing what he delivers next as Zakk will always remain one of the most worthy of the guitarists in the business today.

Track Listing:
1. Concrete Jungle
2. Black Mass Reverends
3. Blacked Out World
4. The Last Goodbye
5. Give Yourself To Me
6. Nothing’s The Same
7. Hell Is High
8. New Religion
9. Sick Of It All
10. Faith Is Blind
11. Blood Is Thicker Than Water
12. Devil’s Dime
13. Lead Me To Your Door

Official Website: www.blacklabelsociety.com

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