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The follow up to 2002's 1919 Eternal was always going to have to be something special. Whilst 1919 Eternal was indeed a solid metal album, jam packed full of bludgeoning riffs and Zakk being more pissed off than ever, it did get rather bland in places. However as I found out on it's release date, The Blessed Hellride is anything BUT a bland affair.
This is probably the Black Label Society's most mature release to date. It covers most aspects of Zakk's career, the down right heavy nature of "The Funeral Bell", the almost radio rock and unbelievably catchy "Stillborn" (with guest vocals from Ozzy), the country rock affair of the title track and Dead Meadow, and the pure down tuned heavy metal groove of "Suffering Overdue" - this CD has all Zakk-isms rolled into one. Zakk's voice is very surprising, sounding powerful and pissed off one moment to sorrowful and heart felt in the albums mellow points. The guitar solos are blinding (would you ever expect anything else?) and the riffs are slightly more similar to the Stronger Than Death era only a little easier going.
Zakk Wylde is an absolute legend, and this album only prooves it. In my opinion it's easily album of the year upto now, and it's just what I was looking for. Black Sabbath worshiping, heavy yet tasteful and down right groovy heavy metal.