On Unblackened, Zakk Wylde works to blend his Jekyll & Hyde sensibilities while expanding the band's sound with new textures.

Black Label Society
E1 Music

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"

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Diatonic sequences are powerful tools. Here’s how to use them wisely.



• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

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Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
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