I will start by saying I was more disappointed with the fact that Zakk Wylde was not permitted to write for Ozzy’s recent “Down to Earth” album because it wouldn’t have been commercial enough, so I was anxious to hear the new BLS album. While its not as brutal and staggering as “Stronger Than Death”, “1919 Eternal” has a lot going for it. Opening track “Bleed For Me” screams radio single, boasting Zakk’s trademark growl and a catchy opening riff followed by a blazing solo. “Life, Birth, Blood, Doom” is an album highlight, featuring the longest solo on the album. However, songs like “Battering Ram”, “Demise of Sanity”, and “Graveyard Disciples” sound like these songs were written for Ozzy, I mean the way Zakk sings them you can imagine Ozzy singing them, but thats not necessarily a bad thing. The album closer is Zakk’s rendition of “America the Beautiful”, a touching acoustic tribute to our country and those who died on September 11th. All in all, “1919 Eternal” may not be Zakk’s best work, but to say that its worth a look is an understatement.
A career defining album that brings together superior songwriting, unbridled, Zakk’s staggering guitar mastery. Spitfire Records. 2002.
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Zakk sinks his teeth in once again on 1919 Eternal! 1919 has a much more polished sound than the previous two BLS offerings giving it a much better dynamic feel without losing the edginess of prior BLS work. His guitar work on this disc is probably more reminiscent of his Ozzy work than prior BLS. The sound and overall “feel” may give it enough ‘radio-friendly’ feel for former hard rock/metal stations that are now close minded rap with a guitarist stations. This disc shreds into action with the opening track, Bleed For Me (start requesting it on your local stations SDMF’s!!) and continues a great thick heavy groove through much of the disc. The exceptions are Bridge to Cross; showcasing Zakk’s mind blowing ability to write incredible, melodic ballads. Speedball; an instrumental reminiscent of T.A.Z. Lost Heaven; another excellent ballad. Finally the CD ends with a very warm, well done version of America The Beautiful that even your mother would love. Zakk I think has mastered another excellent disc, possibly his best metal disc to date. P&G and BoS are still two of my favorite CDs by far from any artist but this CD will be in rotation for a long time to come. Finally someone has released a CD that lives up to metal tradition.
A good run of the mill metal album, with a few standouts – and they do stand out. ‘Bridge To Cross’ is a beautiful song with a suberb solo, and ‘Bleed For Me’ is good also. However, the vocals are sometimes perhaps below standard, and I’d easily reccomend ‘The Blessed Hellride’ over this, but if you like rock and like Zakk Wyldes stuff with Ozzy then buy this album for ‘Bridge to Cross’ alone.
However, for people who aren’t Z.W devotees, the shredding may get annoying after a while – this is something he’s improved with newer stuff – the solo’s have feeling in them, not just speed. Recommended, but don’t expect a masterpiece. I am suprised to read that BLS fans like this album the best – possibly because it is more metal-head orientated and not as mainstream.
I’ve been a big fan of Zakk Wylde since his days with Ozzy, and have purchased every one of his CD’s throughout his career. This one is has both the heaviness of Stronger Than Death and the variety of Sonic Brew. I’d say its a better album overall than Stronger Than Death. It was just recorded poorly and dominated by too many of similar-sounding riffs. This album containing 14 songs is still very heavy, but has a couple slower songs, including a nice but short instrumental: Speedball. Finally after all the hardcore songs it finishes with Zakk’s own version of “America the Beautiful.” Something I wouldn’t normally expect on an album of his, but a nice interpretation nonetheless. If you like BLS this is a must buy, but if you’re also tired of all the mainstream rock/rap trash like Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit, this album will definately remind you of what rock ‘n roll is all about.
One of Black Label Society’s most straightforward metal albums (at least one in a trilogy of them, along with STRONGER THAN DEATH and THE BLESSED HELLRIDE), this features some of Zakk Wylde’s best metal work. After a few noise effects and a strangely brutal howl, a fairly fast, rumbling riff smashes in with the intensity of a derailed train on “Bleed for Me,” one of the most memorable songs in Black Label Society’s (and Zakk’s) career.Black Label Society is one of the ultimate metal outfits I have ever heard; they (and by “they,” I mean Zakk and whomever else he hires as extra help) can do it all. There are the fast-paced, riff-based juggernauts like “Bleed for Me,” “Lords of Destruction,” “Demise of Sanity,” and “Battering Ram.” Songs like “Life, Birth, Blood, Doom,” “Graveyard Disciples,” “Refuse to Bow Down,” and “Berserkers” carry Zakk’s signature chugging, lock-step rhythms. Then there’s a couple ballads/semi-ballads, including “Bridge to Cross,” “Lost Heaven,” and the absolutely amazing acoustic instrumental “America the Beautiful,” which is to this day my favorite of Zakk’s quieter pieces.Zakk’s vocal performance, as is unfortunately often the case with Black Label Society, is somewhat marred at times. After hearing his amazing singing voice on BOOK OF SHADOW, I know he can do better than this; but then again, Black Label Society is an entirely different beast from that album. As well, his lyrics are their usual subjects of fighting, death, war, getting drunk and/or stoned, and generally being a bada**. However, it is ultimately the instrumental work that is Zakk’s emphasis with Black Label Society, and it works.Still one of my top 5 favorite guitarists, Zakk never fails to impress me, especially not on this album. Riffs aplenty, his solos and leads here are especially vigorous and ferocious, and often trippy (just listen to the lead in the pre-chorus of “Lords of Destruction”). Perhaps my favorite track, instrumentally, is “Demise of Sanity,” where he has fast riffs played in a lock-step rhythm, with simply killer bursts of distortion in the choruses. And the solo…it nearly makes me have seizures listening to it. Well, not really, but you know what I mean.His acoustic guitar talents are fully exercised here, too, as evident on “Bridge to Cross,” “Lost Heaven,” and “America the Beautiful.” He puts such soul and nice grooves into the strums and finger-picking, it really is some amazing stuff. Again, for more of this, check out BOOK OF SHADOWS. And yes, he has one of his little acoustic guitar solos, which might not be much, but sure show off his talent.Finally, the hired musicians: Craig Nunemacher, longtime drummer for Crowbar, once again lends his excellent talents to Black Label Society. However, on several tracks (“Bleed for Me,” “Demise of Sanity,” and “Life, Birth, Blood, Doom”) someone known as Christian Werr is the muscle behind the percussion. Whoever he is, he is quite good. Also, on “Demise” and “Life…” is featured Robert Trujillo, currently the bassist for Metallica and formerly of Suicidal Tendencies and Ozzy. He adds a nice, funky sort of groove to the work, and really has a good stage presence. His work will be missed.And…that’s it. For an ultimately good, old-fashioned heavy metal album, check out Black Label Society’s 1919 ETERNAL. Just don’t headbang too hard.