Black Label Society – Unblackened (2013) – Album Review



Artist Black Label Society Album Unblackened Year Released: 24 September 2013
Label E1 Music Genre Heavy Metal

Black Label Society‘s Unblackened is one of the best albums I’ve heard in a long time. Nothing beats some good acoustic guitar, insane solos, and beautiful piano work. Unblackened is a 2-CD acoustic release of mostly live tracks (6 of the 23 tracks are studio recordings).

After personally seeing Black Label Society live three times in two different counties, I would have to say this is my all time favorite band. Zakk Wylde really shows you just how talented he can be. In my opinion, live music is so much better than studio albums. The main reason being that the musicians get to show off their true talent. After a while, honestly, it gets boring to just hear studio recordings. But after seeing a live band or hearing live recordings of that band, and their ability to alter or rearrange their music to their particular moment in time is just epic.

black label society unblackened coverZakk Wylde did just that with Unblackened, released 24 September 2013. Though it’s a 2-CD set, the first CD is all live recordings from the Unblackened tour. BLS focused on Zakk’s solo records, Pride and Glory and Book of Shadows. Both of those albums are huge favorites of mine and include such songs as “Throwin’ it all Away,” “Lovin’ Woman,” “Machine Gun Man,” “Losin’ Your Mind,” and “Road Back Home.”

One of my favorite recordings from Book of Shadows is “Throwin’ it all Away,” which on Unblackened includes a nice six-minute guitar solo. It felt so good and soothing to the soul. I could sit here and listen to this all day. Other songs taken from the album were “Sold my Soul” and “Road Back Home,” some other favorites of mine. I fell in love with that album years ago, and to this day I still jam out to it.

On the Unblackened‘s second disc, Zakk Wylde had some new songs, such as “Ain’t no Sunshine When She’s Gone” and “Song for You.” Also included were some re-recorded versions of “Won’t Find it Here (Hangover Music Vol. 6)” and “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow,” also off the same album. Something about acoustic music and piano work just gets my heart pumping and definitely puts me in a great mood. If you haven’t had the chance, checkout the music video for “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone“… it’s quite hilarious and has Zakk wearing a horse mask and Vinnie Paul (Pantera/Damageplan/Hellyeah) playing the guitar. Different, but well worth it.

Also there’s a lot of other songs that are featured here that had sweet guitar work, many of them true favorites and simply pure and awesome songs: “In This River,” “Spoke in the Wheel,” and “Blessed Hellride.” For those of you who don’t know, BLS wrote and dedicated “In This River” to the late, great Dimebag Darrell. Zakk and BLS have made it a habit to play “In This River” at all their shows in honor of the passing guitarist. True dedication right there. Also, I can’t forget the song “Stillborn,” which has many different versions. There’s the studio version on “Blessed Hellride” and there’s the version Zakk played on a live radio recording. I love the live radio recording because it shows true acoustic talent at its best.


The Verdict:

Unblackened has been out for a couple months, but i highly encourage you to go out and purchase this album. If you're a diehard metalhead and/or BLS fan, I now you'll love it. To appreciate music, one must first appreciate the mellow side of music. Acoustic and piano is the way to go.

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