Sound — 10
The music is practically indescribable. It is a very unique, rare form of metal. Zakk Wylde's guitar skills are absolutely incredible. The bending squeals is probably his signature sound. Once you hear it, you will always remember it defines Zakk Wylde. His tones are unmatched by anyone in the music industry. If people like Pantera or Metallica, I would suggest this CD. I would like to call Black Label Society, Pantera, and Metallica "Skilled" metal. In "skilled" metal, the vocals are decent and understandable, the guitar is excellent (with solos of course), and the music motivates you to push yourself to the limit. I listen to BLS when lifting weights for example, and when I hear the solos to "Stoned and drunk" or "Funeral Bell", the music floods my system giving me the strength to go heavier and faster on my sets.
Lyrics — 8
When I was first introduced to BLS I was a little worried. The CD looked like a typical growl and scream non-comprehensive death-metal album. I was very shocked. Zakk Wylde has a very different, gruff, "manly" if you will, voice and he exploits it for all it is worth. The lyrics and track titles themselves are quite interesting. Many have references to death and destruction. The track titles "Stillborn", "Doomsday Jesus", and "Final Solution" are prime examples. But do not judge the cd by the track titles and lyrics. Often, these seeming horrid words tend to have alternate meanings. For example, in the song "Stillborn", he uses the word to describe how he is feeling. (A stillborn is a child that is born dead). Should I complain about anything on the cd, it would be the vulgar titles/lyrics, though there is very little swearing throughout the whole cd, and when it occurs, it is a little one, like the ones often heard on television.
Overall Impression — 10
This is a very skilled type of metal whos genre is quickly dying out. In my opinion, this album blows basically every other album out of the album. My favorite songs on the album are: "Stoned and Drunk" because of Zakk's INCREDIBLE solo, "Funeral Bell" Because it was the song that introduced me to Black Label Society and always kind of stuck with me, and finally, "Blackened Waters". I can't explain why I like "Blackened Waters", but it is one of their softer songs that is very appealing. I highly recommend this album if you enjoy quality metal music that has talent. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to re-purchase this album. Black Label Society released another album (Hangover Music) today (4/20/2004) which I am listening to right now. It is a collection of Black Label Society's more softer songs, resembling the sounds from "Blessed Hellride", "Dead Meadow", and "Blackened Waters". I would also recommend this album.