Black Label Society - Kings Of Damnation
Spitfire Records
Brutally Grooving Heavy Rock
19 songs ()
Release year: 2005
Black Label Society, Spitfire Records
Reviewed by Aleksie
With the band moving to Artemis Records, Spitfire releases a compilation of the "Best" cuts off of the material guitar wizard Zakk Wylde and his chapters of fellow Society Dwelling MFers released under the Spitfire name, along with two new tunes. The mixture of Lynyrd Skynyrd-fried grooving, Black Sabbath´s sludgy riff-genocide and Motörheadesque "dont-give-a-fuck"-attitude and drive was very present from the get get go with BLS, by adding more modern chuggachugga-grinding in the latter material. So are these choises truly the "Best" of the boys? Lets have a rundown.

Even though the headline on the cover says Black Label Society, there are also pieces of Zakk´s pre-Society recordings from the Pride & Glory-project and his acoustic solo record, Book Of Shadows. Even though including material from these works mislead the theme of the album, the choice made is very good, as I personally hold both of the aformentioned discs in very high regards. It´s just a shame that the finest bits off these masterworks were not included. As for the Pride & Glory-disc, Losing Your Mind with its merry banjo intro and übertasty southern-rock-boogie-on-steroids is an excellent inclusion, but Horse Called War is only an OK track when there were much better picks like the laid back Skynyrdness of Machine Gun Man or the beautiful ballad Cry Me A River available.
Book Of Shadows offers us Between Heaven And Hell and Sold My Soul, which again are fine songs, but would be savagely beaten up if put against the amazing solo-fest of Road Back Home or the emotional depth of What You´re Look´n For.

We then get to the Black Label Society archives which begin with much better constistency. The monstrously grooving Bored To Tears (best tune of the Sonic Brew-record) and the great single slasher of 1919 Eternal, Bleed For Me, are very justifiable picks. The following piece of acousti-shred, T.A.Z. made me realize one very weird set. T.A.Z., Speedball and Takillya - all minute-long showcases of Al DiMeola-influenced acoustic noteblitzes, which of course drop jaws with technicality, but make no sense on a compilation disc, which to me should introduce whole songs instead of just amazing chops. Besides, one could pick almost any song from BLS´ discography, and Zakk´s inhuman soloing abilities would become more than cristal clear.

My favourite Society disc, Stronger Than Death is luckily represented with the finest slabs of brutality off it, the bulldozing Counterfeit God and mercilessly heavy title track. I still would have liked to also have All For You with its brain scrambling groovemadness in here. Although I fortunately can find that from 1919 Eternals most awesome slice, Demise Of Sanity, a moshpit favourite of mine. The Blessed Hellride fairs well with the rocking Stillborn and mellow title track - the latter has got to be the greatest hangover song ever. We Live No More would have been much better off left out in favour of Funeral Bell, though. Speaking of Hangovers, the VI-album is also represented with the greatest half-ballads the disc has to offer, Crazy Or High and the fantastic House Of Doom.

The new tunes are very standard fare Black Label-riffcrushers including the signature squeals, with SDMF pulling the victory over Doomsday Inc. with the aid of it´s damning infectious chorus that has every element of a live concert favourite. Although the beginning riff in the latter with Zakks wails in the back is also a very good moment, along with the extremely catchy bridge that preceeds the solo, the song does end up repeating itself a bit. The solos are remakable in both, of course. It´s Zakk friggin Wylde were talking about here, people!

All in all Kings Of Damnation is a very good introduction into the world of Black Label Society and a mediocre glimpse into Pride & Glory and the Book Of Shadows-record, both of which I will review in the near future with much praise and huzzaah. If the short shredings had been replaced with whole tunes like, for example, World Of Trouble, Aint Life Grand and Bridge To Cross, the record would have been nearly perfect on the BLS-side. If your friends or enemies dont know the joys of a good, brutally effective groove, point them towards the Kings Of Damnation - a very good starting point to insane head/hip-twisting.

Killing Songs :
Losing Your Mind, Bored To Tears, Bleed For Me, Counterfeit God, Stronger Than Death, Demise Of Sanity, Stillborn, The Blessed Hellride, Crazy Or High, House Of Doom and SDMF
Aleksie quoted no quote
Other albums by Black Label Society that we have reviewed:
Black Label Society - Grimmest Hits reviewed by Goat and quoted 78 / 100
Black Label Society - Catacombs of the Black Vatican reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Black Label Society - Order of the Black reviewed by Jake and quoted 69 / 100
Black Label Society - Skullage (CD/DVD) reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
Black Label Society - Sonic Brew reviewed by Khelek and quoted 92 / 100
To see all 11 reviews click here
1 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 10 replies to this review. Last one on Wed Nov 16, 2005 2:06 pm
View and Post comments