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Black Label Society
Hangover Music Vol. VI
May 2004
Released: 2004, Spitfire
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland

It is with a heavy heart that I write this review. Black Label Society is at its best when Zakk Wylde is growling over a squealing guitar. On HANGOVER MUSIC, VOL. 6, Wylde has pulled back the reins to release an album of introspective, mostly acoustic tracks that are more southern-fried 70s rock than metal. While Wylde’s influences have always been rooted in the Lynyrd Skynyrd’s of the world, this CD is peppered with Wylde’s less-than-stellar voice croaking over piano-driven piffle. Fortunately, there are some guitar-driven tracks, as well, and it is when Wylde plugs in, that the results are breathtaking.



“Crazy Or High,” “Queen Of Sorrow” and “Steppin’ Stone” kick things off with a simple, mellow guitar riff. Wylde’s soulful voice is perfect for these tracks and he delivers ripping solos to top them off. “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow” is the first of many piano-driven tracks on this CD and Wylde’s vocals waver between good and bad here. “Takillya (Estyabon)” is a 39-second flamenco-influenced acoustic guitar solo where Zakk shows off his ultra-speedy fingers. “Won’t Find It Here” is one of the best tracks here and again, Wylde’s pained, soulful voice gets a workout and there are some cool guitar effects used, as well. “She Deserves A Free Ride (Val’s Song)” is an interesting track, in that, Wylde’s voice is as I’ve never heard it before…very clean and soothing. Who “Val” is I don’t know, but apparently she deserves a free ride, or something? “House Of Doom” is the cream of the crop. The music is similar to what Alice In Chains was doing on their JAR OF FLIES album, specifically the track, “No Excuses.” Good stuff. Wylde pulls of a stellar solo on what is also one of the heavier tracks found here. “Layne” features a slinky riff that cuts through the track and lingers on for an extended jam-like outro. “Woman Don’t Cry” is one of the lowlights. Wylde is borderline crooning at points in the song, and let’s just say, “Ol’ Blue Eyes” he ain’t!! The bottom of the barrel is reached on the cover of the Procol Harum classic, “A Whiter Shade Of Pale.” Wylde’s vocals are painfully out of tune and sound more like a drunken karaoke attempt from a slack-jawed, country hack. With nothing else to accompany him than a piano, the track is an agonizing test of patience to sit through even once. The same fate befalls “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow” and “Woman Don’t Cry,” as Wylde’s voice simply doesn’t fit the material. On the other hand, the album closer, “Fear,” features a stunning vocal performance.



The songs really are all over the place with this release, which can make listening a bit of a frustrating and disjointed effort. While I was pre-warned that HANGOVER MUSIC, VOL. 6 was not a “typical” Black Label Society record, the results are still not entirely welcome. Zakk Wylde is a guitarist—and a damn good one, at that—first and foremost. Some of the songs that he does are fitting for his unique voice. Acoustic numbers aren’t one of them. Let’s hope that he has got this out of his system and gets back to squealing guitars and punishing metal.



KILLER KUTS: “Crazy Or High,” “Steppin’ Stone,” “Won’t Find It Here,” “House Of Doom,” “Layne”
Track Listing

1. Crazy Or High
2. Queen Of Sorrow
3. Steppin' Stone
4. Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
5. Takillya (Estyabon) (Instrumental)
6. Won't Find It Here
7. She Deserves A Free Ride (Val's Song)
8. House Of Doom
9. Damage Is Done
10. Layne
11. Woman Don't Cry
12. No Other
13. A Whiter Shade Of Pale
14. Once More
15. Fear

Lineup

Zakk Wylde—Vocals/Guitar/Bass/Piano
Mike Inez, James Lomenzo, John Deservio—Bass
Craig Nunemacher, John Tempesta—Drums


Next review: » Black Label Society - Hangover Music Vol. VI
Previous review: » Black Label Society - Catacombs Of The Black Vatican

Black Label Society
Hangover Music Vol. VI
May 2004
Released: 2004, Spitfire Records
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Celtic Bob

One of my most anticipated releases of the year. After finding out last fall that this cd would be a bit mellower than the previous few Zakk/BLS discs I was psyched. I really enjoy Zakk’s more acoustic and mellower stuff. It just suits him allot more that the heavier stuff he’s known for.



As soon as it arrived I immediately stuck it on and was almost immediately hooked. From the beginning of “Crazy or High” to the end of “Fear” this is probably Zakk’s best disc to date. I still think his PRIDE & GLORY disc is his personal best but this is a very close second. Maybe after awhile this may become my favourite. Who knows?



Some of the best tracks on the album are “Crazy or High”, “Steppin’ Stone” and the excellent “No Other”. Even though the album is a little more laid back than most of the previous BLS offerings there are a couple of songs that are ultra mellow such as “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow” and “Damage Is Done” which both are primarily just Zakk and a piano.



There is a bit of a southern feel to the music in places as well as a bit of an Alice In Chains influence there as well. This is one excellent cd from start to finish. The only weak part on it is his vocals on the Procol Harum classic “Whiter Shade Of Pale”. This is one cd that should be in your collection. It is great for the day after when you just feel like shit and can’t seem to get yourself up to speed. Trust me!!!!
Track Listing

1 Crazy or High
2 Queen of Sorrow
3 Steppin' Stone
4 Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
5 Takillya (Estyabon)
6 Won't Find it Here
7 She Deserves a Free Ride
8 House of Doom
9 Damage is Done
10 Layne
11 Woman Don't You Cry
12 No Other
13 Whiter Shade of Pale
14 Once More
15 Fear

Lineup

Zakk Wylde - Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Piano
Craig Nunenmacher - Drums
Mike Inez - Bass
James Lomenzo - Bass
John "J.D." DeServio - Bass
John Tempesta - Drums


Next review: » Black Label Society - Hangover Music Vol. VI
Previous review: » Black Label Society - Catacombs Of The Black Vatican

Black Label Society
Hangover Music Vol. VI
July 2004
Released: 2004, Spitfire
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

I’ve never been a huge fan of Zakk. Admire? Yes. Respect? Yes. Enjoy? Mostly.

That whole dumb redneck attitude and image turns me off and I find he wastes his natural talent playing down to his audience. His solo career has been decent but his interviews, antics and personal history often have overshadowed what he could be doing better.



Accordingly when it was announced I didn’t have much hope for this disc of mellower tracks. I had always wanted him to play faster, meaner and well...metal-er! So, it was quite odd that I am quite impressed and taken with this disc. Lots of people have been saying he ‘s really great and maybe I just haven’t heard it yet. This disc opened my eyes. The songs are strong, the playing is elegant and understated, which, again, oddly enough is the opposite of what I have wanted him to do.



It’s a strange world we live in when his mellowest work to date is my favorite by him. A reexamination of his other work is certainly in order. This is a very good rock album and by no means does he wimp out. Understated packaging, production, delivery this time Zakk pulled the brakes and in my mind actually did show his (ahem) soft and sensitive side. That doesn’t mean suck, but a very mature display of his talent. Now if he could only deliver the balls-out shred album we all need, Zakk could truly cement his position among the upper echelon of guitar gods.
Track Listing

n/a

Lineup

Zakk Wylde- Vocals, guitar
Craig Nunenmacher-Drums
John Tempesta (guest drums)
James Lomenzo-Bass
John Deservio-Bass
Mike Inez-Bass

Contact

N/A


Next review: » Black Label Society - Kings of Damnation 98-04
Previous review: » Black Label Society - Catacombs Of The Black Vatican





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