Black Label Society
There are two sides to Zakk Wylde: the mad, swaggering Viking shredder and the sensitive crooner who isn’t afraid to sit at the piano and put his heart on his sleeve. On Unblackened, Wylde’s latest live album with Black Label Society, he works to blend these Jekyll & Hyde sensibilities while expanding his sound with new textures. The seated front line (Wylde, plus bassist John DeServio and “evil twin” guitarist Nick Catanese) is a bit unusual for a BLS show, but whatever the band lacks in Slayer-like headbanging they make up for with ample musicianship. “Losing Your Mind,” Wylde’s first single from 1994’s Pride and Glory, reveals just how much groove is in his criminally underrated rhythm playing. On “Takillya (Estyabon),” Wylde even pays homage to Al Di Meola with burning nylon-string runs. This is the sound of a shredder shedding labels and following his muse.
Must-hear track: "The Blessed Hellride"