Black Label Society: The Song Remains Not The Same

Black Label Society
The Song Remains Not The Same
(eOne Music)

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Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society, even through numerous lineup changes, has been one of the consistent bands playing heavy metal music since they first exploded out of speakers everywhere back in 1999. Mr. Wylde needed no introduction of course since he’d been shredding for Ozzy Osbourne for years by then. How many bands these days have put out nine studio albums in twelve year’s time? And that’s including a four-year gap in between two of the releases. Some might say that most BLS albums sound the same, and that’s understandable, but there is plenty of magic on each release served up through Wylde’s signature bullseye axe.

The latest release from BLS, The Song Remains Not The Same, is more of a companion piece to their excellent 2010 “comeback” album, Order of the Black, than a full fledged album of its own–kind of like a full length EP. Half of the album features alternate versions of songs off of Order of the Black that strip them of their aggressive heaviness and make them sound downright pleasant. Even the already mellow “Darkest Days” is further softened and with this collection of songs we are reminded that despite Wylde’s menacing, mammoth biker from hell image, he is a gentle soul who can sit at a piano and make you feel his pain through a song and not a beatdown. Definitely a great example of don’t judge a book by its cover.

The second half of the album is taken up by cover songs from Black Sabbath (not much of a stretch there), Crosby, Still, Nash & Young, Simon & Garfunkel, and Blind Faith.  The most surprising of these tracks though is an instrumental cover of the classic holiday composition, “The First Noel.” It’s a take on the well-known Christmas favorite that is worthy of your holiday playlist when family is over.  Zakk even manages to get some acoustic shredding in there. (As if he wouldn’t!)

In short, if you’ve steadily enjoyed helpings of BLS through the years, there is absolutely no reason why you wouldn’t enjoy The Song Remains Not The Same.

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