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My first impression of this album was a good one, seeing as though it opens with “Concrete Jungle” which, in my opinion, is a fuckin’ amazing song. The hype that was building up in my mind about this album was ridiculous, seeing as though it's the first album by BLS under the direction of Roadrunner Records, and the fact that it’s fuckin’ BLS and Zakk Wylde. But then I bought the album and was horribly disappointed. It's BLS that's for certain, but it’s BLS with a strange twist. A twist that I hope will never appear again on another album ever.
Most every metal album has a "slow" song or two, but Shot to Hell has far to many. I would estimate that a good half of this album is fuckin’ acoustic. Acoustic is fine, as proven by Alcohol Fueled Brutality, a previous BLS release in which all the tracks were acoustic, but for an album of this magnitude, an album that had the potential to be better than previous BLS albums such as The Blessed Hellride or 1919 Eternal, acoustics on every other track just does not work. Zakk is an amazing guitarist and kicks as much ass without distortion as he does with it, but this album was a poor choice to do so with.
Although this album was beyond disappointing, Shot to Hell has its upside…it's not to big of a side, but it exists. For one, the heavy true BLS sounding songs on this album almost make up for their clean and well-bathed counterparts. Again, “Concrete Jungle” is amazing, but so is “Devil's Dime” and my favorite, “Hell is High”, among a few others. These songs bring forth the truly brutal sound that is Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society. Zakk brings it, as he usually does, with his inventive solos and truly genius old school metal riffs. The drums on these particular tracks are pretty impressive in and of themselves, and so is the brilliant work on bass. "Concrete Jungle", "Devil's Dime" and "Hell is High" are the highlights of this album and are a through back to the classic Zakk and BLS.
Overall, this "Shot to Hell" isn't even close to being one of Black Label's best albums, and they have a few. Zakk and his crew should just stick to their old, classic, "good" stuff, and stop showing life of those golden years in only a few of their songs per album. If you're new to BLS, then check out "The Blessed Hellride", "1919 Eternal", and "Alchohol Fueled Brutality". Within those albums, one will find true southern sludge genius.