Black Label Society - "Mafia"
(Artemis Records/Rykodisc RCD 17309)

From Aural Innovations #31 (June 2005)

Ok folks, Zakk Wylde is back and ready to rip your head off again, but not in quite the same way as the past. The tracks are a bit shorter and the sound production on this CD is awesome and his heavy riffs come across with awesome power. The CD begins with "Fire It Up", on which he uses a really cool talk box guitar. He uses his Ozzy voice quite a lot of this record but sounds good. "What's In You" is a sort of standard Zakk track, but this leads into the killer "Suicide Messiah". Awesome stuff. It is cool that a lot of the tracks on the CD have some Mini Moog to give it a strange weird effect every now and then. "Forever Down" starts with a minute of piano before the heavy guitar riff fades in. He has come up with some killer headbanging rock anthems like this one, with not quite as brutal guitar riffs. "In This River" is a ballad and is dedicated to Dime Bag Darrel from Pantera, who was gunned down by an insane fan at a nightclub in Columbus Ohio last year. "You Must Be Blind" is one of the brutal heavy crushers, as is "Death March", one of the coolest headbanging tracks with the cool mini-moog. "Dr. Octavia" is a 50 second guitar solo. We have heard it from him before. "Say What You Will" is another cool track and I think it is quite funny how he sings like Axel Rose on this track so it makes it sound a bit like G&R. "Too Tough To Die" has a very dark sound with the wah guitar and heavy bass line. "Electric Hellfire" is just 2 1/2 minutes of screaming and riffing... phew. "Spread Your Wings" begins with a really cool guitar and mini moog before the headbanging begins. I really like "Been A Long Time" a lot. The way he delivers the vocals and the cool riff makes it one of my favourites. The last track listed on the CD is the piano based track called "Dirt On The Grave", with some passionate singing. A great track. The unlisted track "I Never Dreamed" is a more laid back track like "Pride And Glory" type stuff and the best guitar solo on the whole CD. Zakk wins again!

Reviewed by Scott Heller

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