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Hangover Music, Vol. 6

Black Label Society

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Album Review

Alice in Chains' shadow has grown longer as post-grunge settles into homogeny. Every outfit from Godsmack to Soil claims them as an influence; Staind's Aaron Lewis even wrote "Layne" in tribute to the band's departed frontman. Zakk Wylde throws his own goatee into that ring with Black Label Society's Hangover Music, Vol. 6, a largely acoustic album that recalls both Jar of Flies and Wylde's own Book of Shadows. He handles vocals, piano, and acoustic duties himself, also contributing the occasional display of electric guitar wizardry just to remind listeners of where he came from. Ozzy's influence looms at least as large as Alice in Chains — he and his family are thanked prominently in the liner notes, and material like the ballad "Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow" sounds like it could have been written for him. (Wylde also offers his own tribute to Staley, also called "Layne.") Hangover Music's restraint is admirable, considering Wylde's fretboard prowess; in fact, the album's pretty damn mellow. "Won't Find It Here" cops the melody from U2's "One," while standouts "Crazy or High" and "Queen of Sorrow" feature wails from Wylde's electric over Southern rock-influenced acoustic licks and a rhythm section that includes Crowbar drummer Craig Nunenmacher. "Takillya (Estyabon)" is a brief burst of acoustic fretboard magic, and the piano-led "Woman Don't Cry" finds Wylde shelving his normally tortured moan in favor of a heartfelt croon comparable to Axl Rose on G N' R Lies. It makes the track one of the album's highlights, since Wylde's vocals on the majority of Hangover Music suggest he's a much better guitar player than he is a singer. Still, fans eager for fiery guitar work will enjoy "House of Doom," which joins the lighter "No Other" as the most obvious Alice in Chains tributes (barring "Layne," of course). Hangover Music, Vol. 6 also includes an earnest, solo piano version of the Procol Harum classic rock radio fave "Whiter Shade of Pale."

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

After falling out with mentor Ozzy Osbourne following the recording sessions for 1995's Ozzmosis, guitarist Zakk Wylde struck out on his own with his first solo album, Book of Shadows, in 1996. When it failed to score any mainstream success, the six-stringer took an extended break before resurfacing with a new album and band called Black Label Society in 1999, featuring Wylde on vocals, guitar, and bass and drummer Phil Ondich. A number of different musicians would sift through the band's ranks during...
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Hangover Music, Vol. 6, Black Label Society
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