The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Black-Label-Society-Song-Remains-CD-July-2011

BLACK LABEL SOCIETY
The Song Remains Not The Same
Riot Entertainment, 2011

 

 

By Shane Pinnegar

 

Zakk Wylde returns with “a collection of unplugged and unreleased tracks from the ORDER OF THE BLACK recording sessions” – and it is exactly what it says on the tin.

 

An acoustic rendition of ‘Overlord’ opens proceedings and it’s perhaps surprising how much MORE Zakk sounds like early Sabbath era Ozzy in this stripped back mode.

 

A magnificent ‘Parade Of The Dead’ and a moody ‘Darkest Days’ see the imposing man wearing his beloved Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin influences firmly on his torn, greasy denim sleeves.

 

Next up is a clutch of piano driven ballads starting with standout track ‘Juniors Eyes’ is a haunting and ethereal piano ballad where that Sabbath/Ozzy voice works to great effect.

 

Zakk takes the Simon & Garfunkle classic ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ (Previously seen as a bonus on the Australasian release of “Order Of The Black”) out for a stroll, then we slide across the finish line with a touching take on ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’, featuring some searing guitar from the big guy, country star John Rich’s album version of ‘Darkest Days’ (featuring Rich duetting with Wylde), and – perhaps surprisingly – a Spanish guitar version of ‘The First Noel’.

 

Of course, ‘The Song Remains Not The Same’ is an oddities collection of b-sides and alternate versions, but it shows a sweeter, mellower side to Zakk Wylde, allowing him to channel his love of Elton John’s early work which may not sit so comfortably on a regular BLS album.

 

Oddities or not, I found this album more listenable than some of the BLS back catalogue due to it’s diversity – one criticism I’ve levelled at BLS albums in the past is that they’re usually delivered in one speed – FULL – which allows for little variation in Zakk’s vocal tone. Thankfully on this album the musical diversity allows for more reach to the vocals, some of the mellow moments providing room for him to sound more comfortable, perhaps.