The Blessed Hellride
Review by Manuel on April 15, 2004.
Little Mikey, here is a lesson on music nutrition, so listen closely. You see, little shaver, there is music that is ok. You buy it and you say, yeah yeah yeah, that tasted pretty good, what’s the next course like? Then there is the stuff you eat, and then you die of a coronary forty years later because despite your doctor’s warnings, you snarfed it down again and again. Mikey, you eat anything that comes your way. I’m telling you, that’s a downright stupid thing to do. You eat junk, Mikey. Partake in The Blessed Hellride and don’t ever look back, you hear me?
Zakk Wylde may very well be the savior of all things straight, heavy, and invariably manly. Not only is he a deity (you can’t speak his name in some houses of worship, it is too great a force to harness) among anyone who doesn’t read Rolling Stone’s top 100 guitarists, he is sincere in his belief that metal is a way of life, not a guided tour. Black Label Society’s Blessed Hellride combines the raw energy of his far underrated, but loyal and gifted efforts Sonic Brew and Stronger than Death with the thing that made him known to the world in the first place, Ozzy’s sorely underrated No Rest for the Wicked. Are you starting to see a pattern here? Zakk has made his personal work his sacred tribute to all things metal, and it would be an insult to him to try to fit it all in this little box. Instead, it is enough to say that should you overlook The Blessed Hellride, you are missing the very thing that has made heavy metal a part of people’s lives. “Stillborn” , the most recognizable single from the album should have been the song Ozzy’s Down to Earth was remembered for. Instead, it is one element of a brilliant album filled with straightforward riffing and blasting emotion that is not just technical (anything Zakk does is a product of his tireless practice) but full of fun. And in this day and age, how many things are simply that? This album can be played 20 years from now, and everything from the acoustic driven title track, the power mingled ballad of “Blackened Waters” , to the howling of “Destruction Overdrive” – all of it will be essential.
Mikey, stop it. Quit crying. Eat this and shut up. You’ll thank me for it when you grow up and are ready to kick a little ass. You like it? No shit, Sherlock, it’s fortified with Zakk-fucking-Wylde. Now bleed Black Label, and drink up, sonny. Class has just begun.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Originality: 8 (because rocking with integrity is original these days)
Rating: 9.4 out of 10