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Track-by-Track Preview: Black Label Society’s ‘Catacombs of the Black Vatican’

Liz Ramanand, Loudwire

The Doom Crew are patiently waiting for Black Label Society’s forthcoming disc ‘Catacombs of the Black Vatican,’ which is due out on April 8 via eOne Records. Last week, a handful of die-hard fans as well as a few lucky members of the press (including us) gathered at the NYC offices of eOne Records and were privileged enough to get an early listen to the new record and it does not disappoint.

The album as a whole got a positive reaction, as various songs spoke to different listeners. While some of the ballads were favored, other fans enjoyed the heavier songs. During an intermission between songs, fans shared their reactions and one stated, “It’s pretty hard to just sit here and just listen.” When Black Label Society is played, fans know how to let loose but since it was an office environment they’ll save it for the live shows.

At the end of the listening party, the head of the Doom Crew himself, Zakk Wylde, showed up to the eOne office and surprised his fans. Wylde had everyone smiling and laughing as he went on rants about everything from Justin Bieber to the Super Bowl. Not to mention he also shared stories about his time when he toured with Sabbath, one that involved him shoving a thermometer up his backside in front of Geezer Butler. That’s all we’ll say.

Not only can’t we wait for the official release of ‘Catacombs of the Black Vatican’ but we sure as hell can’t wait for the touring cycle that comes with it. In the meantime, check out our brief track-by-track rundown of the album below:

Black Label Society, ‘Catacombs of the Black Vatican’ – Early Preview

1.  ’Fields of Unforgiveness’: In this album opener, there is strong riffage right out of the gate. Frontman Zakk Wylde belts out the chorus, “So you think that it’s over / You think that it’s done!”

2. ‘My Dying Time’: The second track, ‘My Dying Time,’ is the lead single off of the disc. It has an Alice in Chains groove throughout with a classic Wylde solo about two-thirds of the way into the track.

3. ‘Believe’: This track shows off Wylde’s classic metal influences with a Sabbath-y vibe powering the song.

4. ‘Angel of Mercy’: The first ballad on the album is a soft yet compelling track with a string section mixed in. The chorus is instantly infectious and should prove to be a sing-along at the band’s lice shows.

5. ‘Heart of Darkness’: This track amps the listener right back up with weighty and swift riffs and could be a track that fans unleash to if played live.

6. ‘Beyond the Down’: BLS continue to pummel ear drums with this track and its heavy bass and drum sounds, which contrast nicely with Wylde’s harmonious vocals. In the song, Wylde sings the compelling lyric “Bridges of doubt shall be burned.”

7. ‘Scars’: The seventh tune takes it down a notch with a mix of acoustic and piano melodies, but works in a mesmerizing electric guitar solo.

8. ‘Damn the Flood’: A personal favorite that screams “classic Black Label Society” with relentless riffs, heavy breakdowns and gritty bellows from Wylde.

9. ‘I’ve Gone Away’: This cut features one of the heaviest guitar arrangements on the record and is also one that will open pits up and definitely make some ears bleed.

10. ‘Empty Promises’: While this song starts off with primitive percussion beats and is drum heavy, Wylde offers up soothing vocals and memorable guitar solo.

11. ‘Shades of Gray’: ‘Catacombs of the Black Vatican’ ends on a softer note as the last song has a bluesy vibe. It’s dark, deep and wistful with lyrics such as “Where can you run when there’s nowhere to hide / On the outside you’re living yet dying inside.”

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