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God bless the south - 31%

raspberrysoda, January 15th, 2016

Zakk Wylde's band had its moments. Most of the band's material at that time was nothing but endless pinch harmonic-fueled southern sludgyness, with Zakk's monotonous wailing and unmemorable drumming, with occasional acoustic ballads. Surprisingly, the band decided to follow the exact same path, but with a bit focus on groove.

And that my friends, is how the ENTIRE FUCKING ALBUM can be summarized.

There are barely any memorable moments in the entire album of the regular BLS BS. There are exactly 4 memorable songs that were features here: the midtempo groovers with the decent solos Bleed for Me, Genocide Junkies and Berserkers, and the speedy acoustic instrumental Speedball. All the rest of the album is just the endless pinch harmonic-power chord-wwhhhoaahhhahhh-uninspired solo-pinch harmonic sequence again and again, with some very unexceptional keeping-the-pace drumming which is just bland and uninspired as Zakk's tired nasal whining. Even the grooves here are forced and tired. They are all at the same exact pace, with a few minor time changes, but they have absolutely no difference and are banal as usual.

The quasi-emotional feeling of this album can drive an innocent person's mind into a guaranteed failure. These passionless moments of meaningless "God save America" lyrics and pseudo-southern Americana that can drive a redneck to insanity- they are executed so poorly and are unimaginably indigent, they have reached to a level that the lyrics from goddamn Vulgar Display of Power sound like they were taken from Sabbat's Dreamweaver compared to the ones features in this album:

"Smokin', trippin', drinkin', never thinkin' what's to be
Another day, another war has come to set me free
The cage is broke, the tank is full, it's where the violence rules
Drinkin' booze and raisin' rifles, hell straight through and through"
(Berserkers)

Except for the poor musicianship and the forced atmosphere, the production is as brittle and poor as its host's instrumentation: it lacks ANY bass and emphasizes the loud guitars in a very uneven way with leaving the vocals and drums (considering that they are one of the album's only strong points) a bit distant and behind, and all of these are being turned very oozy and sludgy as a result of the poor mixing. If you want a slab of straightforward gay biker southern groove metal, this is the album for you. If you are a sane person, this ain't no album for ya. Avoid at any cost. Even if it ends with an acoustic rendition of America the Beautiful.

And hell, Zakk Wylde isn't even southern. He's from muthafuckin' NEW JERSEY.

BulLShit - 19%

DawnoftheShred, July 14th, 2009

And now for the most boring album in history. Black Label Society, a band that excels live due to the guitar pyrotechnics of revered shredder Zakk Wylde, is absolutely tedious in the studio due to the repetitive nature of the band's down-tuned, Kentucky-fried groove metal and Zakk's sluggish vocals. 1919 Eternal has otherwise garnered pretty high reviews on this site, but I can't help but feel this is one of the worst recordings Wylde has ever been featured on.

Every cliché that Zakk is known for is unleashed in its full glory on BLS' fourth studio offering. There's the sludgy, ultra-repetitive guitar clunkery that one could generously call riffage. There's the scratchy, droning vocals and the thoughtless, repetitive drumbeats. There's clean and electric guitars doubling one another and pinch harmonics that seem to outnumber power chords. You know the drill. All this without the distinctive hooks and emotional ambience that often punctuates Zakk's songwriting, both in BLS and Ozzy's solo band. Even in the album's mellower moments, he fails to strike that same chord of sensitivity that so resonates throughout his oft-overlooked solo effort. It's just the same grinding murk from beginning to end with the occasional attention-worthy guitar solo or acoustic bit. And that rendition of "America the Beautiful" is a total buzzkill, solidifying 1919 Eternal as grade-A napworthy.

It's the worst BLS I've ever heard, not that their other efforts are exactly beacons of magnificence. The flamenco bit will probably make you shit your pants, but the rest of the album is more or less a fitting soundtrack to the act of cleaning it up. You'll feel pretty much the same about doing either.

The peak of BLS - 86%

lord_ghengis, February 27th, 2007

Black Label Society tend to get a lot of shit. Hell, I throw a lot of it when I think of the abysmal crap that has spewed from the mind of Zakk Wylde, but 1919 Eternal is different. Sure, it's not structurally different than anything else the band is done, nor does it incorporate any new significant changes to their sound or ideas. The thing that makes this better than say, "Shot to Hell" is the fact everything is good. The riffs are all stupidly catchy, the soloing is at Wylde's highest levels, even his vocals and lyrics kick significant amounts of ass.

Basically, all the songs follow standard BLS style, verse-chorus-verse-chorus-long solo section-chorus, and as usual, the band behind Zakk doesn't offer any real quality, merely sounding 'hired' to follow the beat. But the riffs are abnormally good, and the grooves are unrivaled in their addictiveness.

Honestly I have never had metal songs nailed into my brain like this. Some songs such as "Lords Of Destruction" and "Mass Murder Machine" don't really have significant changes from verse to chorus in the riff department, and I know that this should be annoying, but I genuinely don't care. "Mass..." is this in the extreme, the amount of times this has come into my head for no reason is unbelievable.

Where 1919 Eternal achieves when all the other BLS albums I've heard have failed, is that it actually succeeds in writing simple grooves, and appealing to the basic human love of catchy music, while preventing the listener from feeling dumbed down through the masterful solo's of Zakk. Listen to "Life, Birth, Blood, Doom" that song has no technicality through the riffs, but the solo is mind-numbingly fast, and once it's done the song just feels, complete.

Even Wylde's soft songs, which he always includes are downright godly, now, I've sat through the misery which is "Hangover Music Vol. IV", both the songs "Bridge to Cross" and "Lost Heaven" have more enjoyable moments and quality features than were present on that whole album.

The band consisting of Rob Trujillo, Craig Nunenmacher, and Christian Werr really add nothing, the bass isn't apparent. The drumming is, apart from the drum-driven "Battering Ram", very 'follow-the-beat', not that that's bad, it's just not note worthy. And the second guitar is used to play the main riff behind Zakk's solo's and pinch harmonics when ever he's not playing the same riff. In other words, there isn't too much use of two guitar harmonics.

Zakk however is in fine form, and I've already brought up, his stuff is simple yet catchy when it comes to riffs, and very speedy and relatively technical when he starts soloing. There's no overload of Pinch Harmonics or any other annoying little things which have plagued other albums. They're still there, but not too many. Every note he plays is performed without flaw, and the solo's seem to flow well.

His vocals are his best by far, they're hardly what would be considered the standard version of great, but for his voice they are probably him at his peak. Apart from the horrible "Berserkers" (The only bad song on the album) his lyrics are pretty strong, and while there are "aaaaaoooooooohhhhhhhhh's" and "Yeah's" all over the place, they fit. Where on other albums they have sounded awful and forced to fit in to be a 'signature sound', now it all flows naturally.

The production is again, far from pristine, but it really suits the riffs, adding some more grit to the sludgy rhythms and to Zakks rough voice. However, various sections do sound very clear, all the notes through the solos sound very separate with no melding of the notes, adding to the grabbing nature of them. The acoustic break song does have a few flaws in it's production, as the slower sections are very faint in comparison to the faster ones.

This is the only BLS album anyone really needs, it's got the same feel and ideas as the other ones, it just avoids most of the shitty moments. There's a couple here and there, the song "Berserkers" and the lyrics of the last few songs for instance, but overall the good outweighs the bad by a huge amount. This album is worth having if you've felt that there is any quality in other albums, if you hated EVERY second of BLS music you've heard, this probably won't change your mind.

A New Beginning - 90%

mike584, October 17th, 2003

When long time Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde decided to give up playing Neil Young-esque folk music and get back to playing the metal he loves, he sought out to make the ballsiet, heaviest music he possibly could and top it all of with his trademark soloing style. Thus, Black Label Society was born. Over the course of their first two releases, 1999's Sonic Brew, and 2000's Stronger Than Death, Zakk gave the most punishing performances he could. It could've possibly rivaled Pantera had it not been for the polished production sound. But with the release of 1919 Eternal, it appears new life had been injected into the band. What's most interesting about this album is that some of the song here were intended to be used on Ozzy's recent Down To Earth release. It appears here the Zakk finally put the superior song writing skills of his Ozzy, Pride And Glory, and Book Of Shadows work to use in Black Label. And thanks to the stripped production, the album breaths, thus making everything louder. While many boast about Zakk's amazing soloing, I tend to focus on the songs themselves. We all already know Zakk is a genius when it comes to lead guitar. Zakk pulls off everything style wise this time around, although gone is the southern sound that adorned his first two Black Label releases. Listening to this album, you can even tell which song were written with Ozzy in mind. Zakk even sings more on this record than he does his trademark growl, which in itself is a great imorovement, especially when he sings a two-part harmony to the pre-chorus and chorus to the Alice In Chains-esque "Mass Murder Machine". And this mind blowing album end with a beautiful rendition of "America The Beautiful" that even your grandparents would love. This album is a new beginning for Black Label Society.

Key Songs:
Bleed For Me
Lords Of Destruction
Battering Ram
Graveyard Disciples
Mass Murder Machine
Berserkers