RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Black Label Society – Catacombs of the Black Vatican
eOne Music


Rating: B+

Is Black Label Society really Zakk Wylde’s band?  The answer is ‘yes’, as the band’s first album without guitarist Nick Catanese is so damn good, one does not even realize he’s not there.

You know, I write a lot of CD reviews, so I have to warn you that when I write one about a CD this good, and about Zakk, prepare for positive profanity. Kids, leave the room….

The blond haired muscle-bound sober crazy-ass mofo has done it again!  His playing, songwriting and singing are all improving with age.  This sucker is not good, its mother-fucking good.

Catacombs of the Black Vatican is a throwback to the days when bands made an entire album, not a hit single and a bunch of shit to fill up space.  Every song is well crafted on this sucker, and each one has a strong musical statement to make. 

Zakk loves Elton John’s music as much as he does Judas Priest, so, in usual BLS fashion, this one has some head banging rockers and some heartfelt ballads. 

You know, for a son of a bitch who has it all, Zakk can sure write a song like he’s been fucked over.  What’s up with that shit?  I don’t get it… but I like the attitude.  If he were not such a big-ass rock monster, I would say something to him, but I don’t want to get beat up so I will shut it.  Maybe even big-ass rock-monsters get fucked over… I’ll make a note to ask him sometime…

“Fields of Unforgiveness” is a song that the Vikings would have written had they had Les Pauls, Marshall Amps and electricity generated by rowing to North America.  “Believe” is an amazing tune with a killer solo.  “Angel of Mercy” is another strong tune...  The best musical moment on this slab of hickory smoked heavy metal is “Empty Promises.”  The dissonant opening, the build-up, the raw snare, Zakk’s signature squeal, the haunting interlude, and then the searing whammy wah-wah tasty guitar solo… which is one of Zakk’s best… (Considering he played the solo on “No More Tears,” that’s a hell of a compliment.)

Okay…’end of the review’ time…this may not the best thing BLS has ever done, but there are moments where these tracks are right up there with the best things they have ever done.  As a whole, it is a complete album that flows from song to song, as a killer rock and roll record should. 

Good job O’ Bearded One!  Now, take a fucking shower and write some more shit…I already want to hear more! 

Track Listing:
Fields of Unforgiveness
My Dying Time
Angel of Mercy
|Heart of Darkness
Beyond the Down
Damn the Flood
I've Gone Away
Empty Promises
Shades of Gray

Zakk Wylde – Vocals/Guitar
Dario Lorina – Guitar
John DeServio – Bass
Jeff Fabb- Drums

By Jeb Wright, pardon my French