“Skullage” (CD/DVD) by Black Label Society

Artist: Black Label Society
Title: “Skullage”
Label: Eagle Records
Release Date: 4/21/2009
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 3.5/5

“Skullage” is the name of the recent compilation CD and DVD that focuses on the music of Zakk Wylde and his band Black Label Society. You might be wondering what the need for another compilation about the band is actually for since we only enjoyed “Kings Of Damnation” back in 2005. Since there are no tracks represented from his Roadrunner Records release “Shot To Hell”, it hardly seemed necessary to dole out another compilation but when comparing the two items there are significant differences which should appeal to the guitarists rabid fan base. This review covers the limited edition version that also offers a full DVD of videos, live footage and interview stuff so we shall examine each part on their own. .

Thoughts About The CD Compilation: When “Kings Of Damnation” was released it offered fans of the Wylde man about nineteen tracks of music that covered his releases on Spitfire Records. This was done around the time he signed the deal with Artemis Records, so it made sense for the former label to capitalize on the healthy amount of product that they had under their belt for him. He would move on from Artemis almost immediately and go to Roadrunner Records and it was not long after this that Artemis ceased to exist which is probably the reason that we see a few of that releases tracks represented here. The main difference about the two CD’s is that “Skullage”, while only delivering sixteen tunes, does give the hard core Doom Trooper a few songs that were never available anywhere else. They do the presentation of the tunes in apparently a chronological order and even give us something from the Pride & Glory” years. It was interesting to hear Zakk doing a number of his tunes acoustically because he manages to make them work out even though this kind of crunching Doom doesn’t easily work out in this transition. If you already own “KoD” then you should be aware that there are also a number of different songs here from that release to enjoy but if you don’t care about the differences and already own the albums that the other stuff might be easier to add to one’s collection by using a legal download service to make your whole collection complete.

Thoughts About The DVD Compilation: While the release features a DVD alongside the audio recording, there is a lot of repurposed content here from the two previous DVD releases of Black Label Society – “Boozed Bruised and Broken Boned” and “European Doom Troopin’”. It’s not enough to make the release a moot point since there are only a couple of tracks from each but it might make the dedicated fan feel like they are being delivered yesterday’s donuts as opposed to fresh ones. I reviewed the previous DVD’s some time ago and remember only half enjoying “Bruised” and appreciating “Doom Troopin’” a little bit more and felt that perhaps the better idea would have been to package the pair of them together so fans of the band in today’s realm can easily snare them and then made any subtle differences that we find on this item as the bonus content. The bands videos are here and as result we get my still reigning champ favorite from the bands catalog in “Stillborn” and “Fire It Up” since the video is so interestingly shot. The musician’s dedication to “Dimebag” is here as well with the somber “In This River” whose video reminds us still about the importance of friendship and how in an instant that life can find tragedy forever changing the comfort and stability of it. These videos were from the previous two releases and are here in one place now so fans don’t need to swap around the discs to enjoy the few short films that the band had made up to the point in time that this actually covers.

In the end this amounts to pretty solid collection of both audio and video for Zakk and Black Label but I think that this might be more for the completists who follow the band through the fires of Hell as opposed to someone new. Those kinds of fans are instead instructed to pick up a particular album of recommendation from an already informed fan that thinks this release is the bands defining moment. Check with your nearest diehard BLS Chapter member for the name of the album that they advise you on for more details. For me this release works since I have always been more of a generalist when it comes to BLS and Zakk Wylde. I’ve seen them live in the past and have enjoyed what they do, but I can safely see them after a couple of tours have passed as opposed to my friends who would see every regional appearance. The band still tours relentlessly whenever Zakk is not doing guitar for Ozzy Osbourne. rand of the stuff in .

CD Track Listing:
1. Machine Gun Man
2. Dead As Yesterday
3. All For You
4. 13 Years Of Grief
5. Bleed For Me
6. Doomsday Jesus
7. Stillborn
8. Won’t Find It Here
9. Suicide Messiah
10. In This River
11. Fire It Up
12. New Religion
13. Slightly Amped (live)
14. The Blessed Hellride
15. Spoke In The Wheel
16. Stillborn (acoustic)

DVD Track Listing:
1. Spoke In The Wheel
2. All For You
3. 13 Years Of Grief
4. Bleed For Me
5. Stillborn
6. Suicide Messiah
7. In This River
8. Fire It Up
9. New Religion
10. Welcome To The Compound (interview)
11. Slightly Amped
12. The Blessed Hellride
13. Spoke In The Wheel
14. We Live No More
15. Stillborn

Official Website: http://www.blacklabelsociety.com

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