Fans of Ozzy Osbourne, Zakk Wylde, and Black Label Society got some big news this month when it was announced that Wylde and Osbourne have reunited for Ozzy’s next album. The announcement came more than a decade after it was announced that the longtime duo had parted ways because Ozzy allegedly felt his sound had become too much like that of the song’s from Black Label Society (Wylde’s band). Right around the time that the announcement of the duo’s reunion was made, audiences got even more good news when it was revealed that BLS was going to release its new album this fall. That album, Doom Crew, Inc., is scheduled for release Friday through eOne. It will come more than three years after the release of the band’s then latest album, Grimmest Hits.
While the news of the album’s release (and that of Zack and Ozzy reuniting) is good in itself, the even better news is that the album lives up to expectations of all the aforementioned audiences. That is because the album’s content is everything that those audiences have come to expect from BLS and then some. It brings audiences together by bringing in the band’s softer and heavier sides together in one complete package, which is so smart on the part of Wylde and company. At the same time, the arrangements featured throughout the album still give audiences something new in sound and style while still being familiar in their approach. One of the most notable of the ways in which Wylde and company have brought audiences something new and old together here is the album’s penultimate entry, ‘Gather All My Sins.’ This song will be discussed shortly. ‘Forever And A Day,’ which comes earlier in the record’s run is just as notable for the same reason. It will be discussed a little later. Much the same can be said of ‘Destroy_Conquer.’ It will also be discussed later. This song and the others noted here each do their own part to show how BLS’ blend of old and new make this record so enjoyable. When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album in whole, another successful new offering from the band that gives listeners just as much to be happy about as all of the news surrounding the album and Wylde’s reunion with Ozzy.
Black Label Society’s forthcoming 11th album, Doom Crew, Inc., is another strong new offering from the band. Coming a little more than three years after the band’s then latest album, its title is a tribute to the band’s fan base, for those who might be unaware. It is just part of that tribute, too. The record’s mix of new and old content throughout the album is its own tribute to those audiences, too. ‘Gather All My Sins,’ the record’s penultimate entry, is just one of the songs that serves to support the noted statements. The song opens with a catchy little southern blues-tinged rock riff that conjures thoughts of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and at the same time, of Wylde’s work with his other project, Pride & Glory. That intro is brief, very quickly giving way to Wylde and company’s more familiar heavy riffs and beats. At the same time, the overall arrangement, while being familiar stylistically, still boasts its own unique identity separate from the band’s (and Wylde’s) existing catalogs. It still bears that southern blues rock sound that opened the song throughout. This is important to note because so much of BLS’ music is known to be more along the lines of a southern sludge metal type work. The southern rock element is here, but instead of the familiar sludge approach, this is more of a pure, guitar rock style opus. It is a nice change of pace that audiences are sure to appreciate. In an interesting way, it throws back to some of the works that the band presented in its 2002 album, 1919 Eternal. It is just one part of what makes the song stand out. The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical arrangement makes for its own appeal.
Not having a lyrics sheet to reference, some of the lyrics are a little difficult to decipher, thanks to the production. From what can be deciphered, it can be inferred that the song’s lyrical theme has something to do with perhaps the topic of judging others wrongly. This is only this critic’s interpretation from what little can be deciphered from the song’s limited lyrical content. The noted interpretation as Wylde sings about bringing “the dead one to the stand” and gathering his own sins. It seems to be metaphorical language for people attacking those who cannot defend themselves. If in fact that is the case, then it is a familiar topic that will resonate with audiences. The song’s arrangement, energy and all serves to keep listeners engaged, leading to the noted interpretation or possibly another. Again, regardless of interpretation, that the song’s lyrical content can get audiences thinking is positive in its own way, showing even more why it is a key example of how the album’s mix of old and new makes it stand out.
‘Forever And A Day’ is another notable addition to Doom Crew, Inc. that shows how its content’s blend of old and new makes it so strong. This song is the polar opposite of ‘Gather My Sins.’ Its much more subdued sound and approach makes it a more fitting piece for existing BLS albums, such as Mafia and Hangover Music Vol. VI. The use of the layered vocals, the piano and subtle guitar alongside Wylde’s mournful, melancholy singing makes that clear. At the same time, it also boasts its own identity separate from the songs on those albums without alienating it from the records in question. So again, here just musically, audiences get another blending of old and new. The song’s lyrical content makes for just as much
The lyrical content featured in this song is, again, deciphered sans lyrics to reference. That should be noted up front. They are a little easier to decipher since the song is more controlled and subdued. In the case of this song, it comes across as a love song, believe it or not. This is inferred as Wylde sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “You say you’ve found/All that you lost/Just like a stone that sits upon/The gathered moss/It’s so easy/Just to walk away/It’s so easy/When you’ve got nothing to say/All the shadows we cast/They fade away/Like seasons that change/That could not change/I’ll gather the tears that fall/Forever and a day.” What audiences get here is, again, a seeming love song as someone is saying to another who is going through a tough time, emotionally, adding that no matter what, he/she will be there to gather those noted tears and be there for that person. As he continues in the song’s second verse, Wylde sings, “The sun that shines upon this empty home/The warmth inside/The endless cold/I’s so easy/Just to walk away/It’s so easy/When you’ve got nothing/Nothing to say/All the shadows we cast fade away/Like seasons that change/That could not stay/I’ll gather the tears that fall/Forever and a day.” Again, this isn’t just one of those sappy love songs. This is someone telling another that he/she will be there for that person in those difficult times. Wylde and company do such a wonderful job of capturing the delicate nature of such moments through the song’s musical arrangement. The gentility with which the subject approaches that other person’s emotions in such situations is equally well handled through the song’s lyrical approach. The whole makes the song another powerful addition to this record. Again, this is just this critic’s interpretation and should not be taken as gospel. Hopefully it is close to being what the band meant to infer. It is just one more example of what the album has to offer audiences. ‘Conquer_Destroy’ is yet another notable addition to the record that shows how its blend of old and new makes it successful.
‘Conquer_Destroy’ is notable in part through its arrangement, which does once again present some of Wylde and company’s familiar heaviness throughout its almost five minute run time. At the same time, the band gives audiences something unique here by taking that familiar heaviness and setting it against something of a bluesy, classic rock style sound and approach. So once again, audiences get here something new and something old in one setting that makes the whole so unique and enjoyable throughout. As with the other songs examined here, the song’s musical content is just one part of what makes it stand out. Its lyrical content does its own part to make it stand out, too.
The lyrical content featured in this song is yet again deciphered sans lyrics to reference. From what can be deciphered here, the song seems to be a commentary about war. Again, this is just this critic’s own interpretation and could well be incorrect, so should not be taken as the only interpretation. The mention of war and a horse riding, along with “the eternal fire” would seem to point the song in the noted direction. There is also an apparent call for people to “make this world all that you can” along with something about somebody gathering up souls. It certainly makes for an interesting listen, needless to say. There is even what sounds like a mention of “deserts burning” early in the song. That almost sounds like perhaps a reference to the nonstop combat that the U.S. has faced in the Middle East. Once again, this is only this critic’s interpretation. If in fact the whole is a reference to war (knowing Wylde’s support for the military, it would make sense), then it is a unique new way (again there’s that word, “new”) to address the inferred topic. Together with the song’s arrangement, the whole shows in its way, the noted blend of old and new and impresses in the process, too. When this song and the others examined here are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole of the album becomes a wonderful tribute to the worldwide Doom Crew, Inc. and a strong new offering from Black Label Society in whole.
Black Label Society’s forthcoming new album, Doom Crew, Inc., is another successful offering from the band. It is a presentation that continues to cement the band’s place in the upper echelons of the hard rock community. That is proven from beginning to end of the record through its musical and lyrical content. The musical content does a good job of blending the band’s own familiar sounds and stylistic approaches with some new sounds and approaches from one to the next. The lyrical themes are themselves unique and will engage and entertain audiences in their own right. All three of the songs examined here do well to make that clear. When they are considered along with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole – again – makes the album in whole another successful offering from BLS that pays tribute to the band and its legacy, and to the members of the Doom Crew, Inc. worldwide.
Doom Crew, Inc. is scheduled for release Friday through eOne. More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at: