There is almost no band in history that had a success akin to “The Black Album.” Metallica exploded the band of the same name from the underground and made Rock, Heavy Metal, and yes, even Thrash as mainstream as it was ever going to get for a hot minute. From 1991-1995 Metallica was everywhere on tour, pop radio, MTV, Antarctica, Woodstock 1994 as the headliner, and much more. They were unstoppable. They sold tons of albums when it was only CDs and cassettes. They transformed the culture of underground heavy music and themselves in the process, and you can still feel the ripples in the industry from it. Like it or not, they changed everything.
Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society came out of the gate strong on Sonic Brew (Spitfire Records), even though it was a little under the radar for the high-profile Ozzy Osbourne band leader. While Sonic Brew, officially released in 1999 in the US, set the template for the BLS style, coming in about a year later refined what Zakk was aiming for. With better production, a bit heavier right hand, and a little more focus, the songs on Stronger Than Death (Spitfire) shine through. Continue reading