Friday, 11 April 2014

Black Label Society - Catacombs of the Black Vatican

Release Date: 8th April 2014
Genre: Southern Rock, Heavy Metal
Record Label: E1 Music
Number of Tracks: 11

Overall Rating: 6.9

The last studio album released by Black Label Society (BLS) was Order Of the Black released back in 2010. The hard working quartet released pretty much an album per year from their inception in 1999, up until Shot to Hell  released in 2006 - which was a poor album to say the least. 

Catacombs is their 10th record, and first without Nick "The Twin" Catanese, who left last year. After BLS's more recent acoustic releases such as The Songs Remains Not the Same and Unblackened, we were all expecting something heavy, aggressive and kick ass like on their debut album or 2002 1919 Eternal. This album disappoints in that aspect. 

Thats not to say its a bad album far from it. Catacombs is a midpoint between the heavy and the softer side of BLS, which forms a sort of soft mid tempo grunge style. Guitarist and frontman Zakk Wydle delivers bludgeoning grunge, soulfull southern Sabbath style riffs, with definite hints of Alice In Chains in there too, especially track 1 Fields of Forgiveness and lead single My Dying Time. 

But there are softer more melodic songs such as track 4 Angel of Mercy, track 7 Scars and final track 11 Shades of Grey. These are surrounded by heavier tracks which we were expecting. The most typical BLS track on this album has to be up tempo groovy track 5 Heart of Darkness. It shows some guitar wizardry and would perhaps be a better opening track than Fields of Forgiveness which is more mid tempo and not the typical aggressive BLS we are used to. Track 8 Damn the Flood  is another heavy aggressive track, full of well timed pinch harmonics and exquisite vocals. It probably has the best solo on the record too. Damn the Flood  is my favorite track, and the album would have fared a lot better if it was full of similar high tempo tracks.

Catacombs doesn't break new ground, and definitely isn't the heavy aggressive album which we were expecting. Its more diverse with the a range of tempo's and acoustic pop ballads thrown in there too. Its still a good album, and has the polished, defined BLS sound which the legion of Wylde fans will be pleased about.

Whats your favorite BLS track?
What do you think of the new album? Throw us some comments below.

Listen on YouTube
BLS Website

No comments:

Post a Comment