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










WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Black Label Society, formed in the late nineties by legendary guitar hero Zakk Wylde, have established themselves at the forefront of heavy metal with a series of hard riffing and hugely successful albums alongside worldwide tours that have cemented their reputation as one of the most powerful live bands of their generation. "Unblackened" finds Black Label Society in a mellower mood in a performance filmed at Club Nokia in Los Angeles earlier this year.


Tracklisting: 1) Losin' Your Mind   2) The Blessed Hellride   3) Sold My Soul   4) Road Back Home   5) Spoke In The Wheel   6) House Of Doom   7) Queen Of Sorrow 8) Machine Gun Man   9) Sweet Jesus   10) In This River   11) Throwin' It All Away   12) Takillya (Estyabon)   13) Won't Find It Here   14) Rust > 15) Speedball   16) I Thank You Child   17) Stillborn


Bonus Features: Zakk Wylde visits HM Prison Stocken in the UK / New interview with Zakk Wylde / Video for "Losin' Your Mind" / Photo gallery





WHAT WE SAY: And now for something completely different – a packed house of fans wait for Wylde and co as a swampland banjo player picks out a tune before the curtain falls and reveals the seated band. Released on 24 September ‘Unblackened’ is full of surprises, damned good entertainment and great value for fans.  


Rather than produce another heavy hitting live video Wylde has chosen to do things differently this time - filmed March 6 this year at Club Nokia in Los Angeles the band plays a set of intimate versions of some of Black Label Society’s most popular songs, as well as songs from Wylde's solo album ‘Book of Shadows’ and, a highlight for me, material from his Southern Rock Project Pride & Glory.


Featuring at points Wylde on guitar and piano, along with  the members of BLS, a four-piece string section and special guests there’s a variety and a subtlety on display here that gives music great depth and warmth. As Wylde said "This is something we haven't done yet, and we wanted to give our fans something new. You can take a song that you've played thousands of times and rearrange it, and all of a sudden it's something totally fresh. The attitude of the songs doesn't change when we play them acoustically — the tunes are gritty regardless."


The stripped down take on the music works beautifully throughout and as well as adding depth and character it doesn’t take anything at all away from the intensity. Highlights are many but as you might expect tracks like “Stillborn”, “The Blessed Hellride”, “In This River” (probably my oick of everything here), and “Losin’ Your Mind” still rise and fall before exploding into flame with those timeless incendiary solos.


This is all the stuff Black Label Society never got the chance to really showcase live plus some great versions of their best-known songs. To be honest thi sis so good it turned me from a casual fan to a true believer.


As well as the DVD there’s a CD version including six additional tracks not on the DVD including: two acoustic versions of “Queen Of Sorrow” and “Won’t Find It Here,” and covers of Leon Russel’s “Song For You” and “Aint No Sunshine” by Bill Withers (yes you read it right and yes it works).




Mark Diggins