Black Label Society / Zakk Wylde

1919 Eternal

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AllMusic Review by

Not the sh*t-kicking shtick the man's Grizzly Adams appearance and metal-as-a-way-of-life persona might suggest, 1919 Eternal might just be the most down-tuned record this side of Crowbar's dirge, or the Melvins. Every riff is a meaty, grindy morsel that sticks to your ribs, Zakk Wylde's vocals are either guttural grunting like he's Wino from the Obsessed with a hangover or a pleasant, passive voice like when Phil Anselmo covered "Planet Caravan" (see the dark ballad "Bridge to Cross"), and the rest of the instrumentation is decidedly secondary to the cause and effect. The dark feel of the mix causes even the thrashier moments, such as opener "Bleed for Me," that alternates between Ozzy and later-period Metallica, and the self-explanatory "Battering Ram," to seem sluggish, like they're sinking in quicksand. With the majority of the disc residing in mid-tempo-land, the sound is akin to running in a dream; you're not getting anywhere very quickly, and eventually you wonder where you were trying to go in the first place. Wylde means what he says, whether he's speaking with words or his axe, and such conviction is encouraging. A few gems reside, such as the lively "Genocide Junkies" and "Life/Birth/Blood/Doom," a spooky tune with rhythmically funky bass courtesy of Robert Trujillo that'll get your head nodding and a solo that is to die for, but much of 1919 Eternal sounds like the stuff that didn't make the last couple of Corrosion of Conformity records. And the stuff that was on the COC discs wasn't that great either.

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