Monday, May 23, 2011


Black Label Society is the hard rocking heavy metal formed by guitarist extraordinaire Zakk Wylde. Black Label Society rose from the ashes of Zakk's first band outside of his tenure with Ozzy Osbourne, Pride & Glory. "The Song Remains Not The Same" is their latest release and is their ninth studio album. It is not your typical Black Label Society offering but if you are a fan of Zakk, you'll get what he is offering here with these ten tracks and you will enjoy it.

This new release is actually a combination of two elements. The first being the first four songs which are stripped down acoustic versions of "Overlord", "Parade Of The Dead", "Riders Of The Damned" and "Darkest Days". All four tracks were originally heard in all their heavy metal glory on the band's 2010 release, "Order Of The Black". The second track, "Parade Of The Dead" has a completely different mood than the original while the other three, although stripped down to nothing, are fairly true to the originals. As I mentioned before if you enjoy Zakk's talent you will get what he is going for here. However if you are a bang your head only type of fan and hate your favorite bands trying something completely different, this is not for you.

The second element of this CD is covers. The band's remaining six tracks are cover songs. Now this is where it gets a little odd because one of the covers is Black Label Society's own "Darkest Days" which already appears on the CD. This time however it is with country music sensation and Celebrity Apprentice winner John Rich. The only real difference between its appearance at number 4 and then track number 9 is the vocals of Rich. It's a good tune but the John Rich version probably wasn't necessary and they would've been better off given us another acoustic track off "Order Of The Black".

The remaining covers are a great collection of songs. The most intriguing to metal fans will be their take on Black Sabbath's "Junior's Eyes". However there is nothing metal about this track and it has to heard to be believed. Kudos also for not doing the typical Sabbath cover. How many versions of "Paranoid" does the world need anyway? Not to mention Zakk had to play it every night with his now former boss.

They also cover Neil Young's "Helpless", Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water", and Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home". Then to round out the album they throw another unreal curve ball and cover the Christmas carol, "The First Noel". You'll never say you saw that one coming.

The CD title is obviously a parody of Led Zeppelin's "The Song Remains The Same". Unfortunately there will be a lot of headbangers that will hear this CD and think it is a parody and should be called "NOT Black Label Society". Those that appreciate music that is well arranged and well played will enjoy this CD. However it is not for everyone so I make two suggestions. One, if you can not accept your heavy metal heroes getting mellow, even for a minute, stay away from this CD. Two, if you appreciate trying something different, take a listen, you'll like what you hear.


01. Overlord (Unplugged version)
02. Parade Of The Dead (Unplugged version)
03. Riders Of The Damned (Unplugged version)
04. Darkest Days (Unplugged version)
05. Junior's Eyes
06. Helpless
07. Bridge Over Troubled Water
08. Can't Find My Way Home
09. Darkest Days (featuring John Rich)
10. The First Noel

Released May 10, 2011 on Entertainment One Music

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