This album is very good. One of my favourite studio offerings from Zakk Wylde under the Black Label Society name. Like many a good album, having given it a few listens, its really grown on me. To me it's not as good as Alcohol Fueled Brewtality, where many songs from BLS' first two albums and Ozzy's track "No more tears" are given the treatment they deserve...Live, balls out, two harmonics per bar greatness, generally making an improvement on the studio versions from those albums, where the production can detract a little from what are kick-ass songs. The production on Mafia however is improved from those earlier efforts, and the sound is different, comparing more to Blessed Hellrise etc. The quality of the song writing is pretty much similar to previous BLS albums, so theres still the standard features... a few well written songs and a lot of kick-ass riffs, solos and squeals! To go along with these BLS staples though, there seems to be a new inventiveness to some songs on Mafia, with talkbox riffs and good piano and minimoog parts actually adding to some songs! Zakk has also found some exremely cool new scales to shred down resulting in some excellent and fresh sounding solos (e.g. Fire it up, Forever Down, Death March). I think I like Zakk's more recent Ozzy influenced vocal style, although he still doesn't sound like Ozzy, and there's no way this sounds like a Sabbath album! As with most BLS albums theres the occaisional dreaded dip in form (Zakk's been producing one album a year though, with about 14 tracks!), namely "you must be blind" "Too tough to die" and "electric Hellfire" I think! Overall though, this albums been keeping me pleased for the last few weeks since I stumped up the money to buy it! why not 5 Stars?...You've gotta have a catergory for albums like Black Sabbath, Led Zep II, Allman Brothers live at Fillmore east etc.
Black Label Society have hit their peak with Mafia and here's hoping they can keep up this level for years to come. What Zakk Wylde's done with this album is simple. He's created a a hard rocking, true heavy metal, head banging album that most "Hard Rock" bands around these days would be jealous of. The opening track 'Fire it up' sets the tone of the album. Cracking riffs, crunching bass & drums & trademark Zakk solos throughout mean you can't help love this. It's not all heavy, non-stop action though. There's the usual Zakk ballads in here and also a fitting tribute to the late Layne Staley of Alice in Chains. As great as the tracks are on this, if you can get your hands on the version that includes the bonus track 'I Never Dreamed' as the last song, you'll discover one of Zakk's greatest ever songs, which includes 2 guitar solos, the second of which could be the greatest since Lynard Skynard's 'Free Bird'. Fans of Zakk Wylde/Black Label Society will love this. Fans of true Heavy Rock/Metal will love this.
Black Label Society’s sixth full-length studio album, Mafia, was released on Artemis records in 2005. It is one of the band’s most popular records to date.
The album contains the famous tracks “Fire It Up” (featured in Guitar Hero), Suicide Messiah (About Scott Weiland’s addiction problems) and the ballad “In This River” (Retroactively made into a tribute to the late Dimebag Darrell afterwards).
It is one of the band’s most straight-forward and easily digestible records, with a very clean production job, mostly shorter track durations, and the emphasis shifted slightly from big dirty riffs and meaty grooves to more of a focus on the cleaner vocals and the guitar tricks. If you have lots of Black Label Society albums already, or really prefer the rawer and heavier sound of their debut then you may want to give this one a miss, but otherwise this is a solid, streamlined, fan-pleasing record which delivers exactly what you would expect from the band and from Zakk.
“Forever Down” is the perfect example of the album’s style. It’s a three-minute track that begins with a piano intro to showcase the band’s cleaner side. A simple stompy beat in an upper-mid-tempo pervades throughout, topped off with a main riff with lots of pinches and vibratos, and is augmented towards the end with nice flashy solo. If you wonder whether or not this album is for you, try out that track.
Highlights include the quicker “Say What You Will,” the moody “Too Tough To Die” and the groovy “Been A Long Time.”
Overall; Black Label Society have heavier albums, lighter albums and more varied albums than this. However, if you want the archetypal Black Label Society sound and the hit singles then this is the obvious place to go. Its slick, comfortable, and a good starting place for new fans. If you can, try and pick up a version with the Lynyrd Skynyrd cover “I Never Dreamed” as a bonus track.
First off unlike many other bands, BLS or Mr Wylde releases a new album almost on a yearly basis. This reminds me of a time when bands like Iron Maiden did the same until the mid Eighties. When a band has such a regular output, either the quality of each album suffers or that band hits a purple patch. Black Label Society have hit their purple patch. This is the most consistent album they have released. Each song has something about it to make you think it might become your favourite track after a few more listens. There are all the trade mark BLS signitures, solos, crunch, growls, melody, mellower songs (on two tracks). I suppose the song writing is better and the whole structure of the album keeps your attention. Other BLS albums have had a sameness about them with each having a few standout tracks. This album should elevate BLS to another level. Perhaps if more people listened to them without the pre-conceived ideas some may have about Zakk Wylde (Ozzy/guitar hero tag) then more would appreciate this mans talents as a guitarist, songwriter and dedicated metalhead. Go out and buy- you will not regret!
Zakk Wylde will always be entwined with Ozzy's leisurely output of music, but he is a true old-fashioned axeman. A mountain of a man, with a personality and big slab of Les Paul wood to match. Mafia is Wylde's 2005 production. Perhaps not as good as AFB, perhaps better depending on your feelings towards good ol' fashioned hard rock. "Been a Long Time" and "Fire it up" are the real gems on this offering : big guitars and snarling vocals telling you the story. Yet this contains some very tasteful stuff too. "Dirt on the Grave" sounds like it could be a right belter, but in fact it's a slow and haunting ballard. "Forever Down" another bashing of the guitar - "Say what you will" and "Death March" are more of the same. Getting the idea? This man is serious about his music not being like Whitesnake. Belting.
This album is a good solid hard rock album. It has the lyrics the Guitar playing and the solid rhythm section too. it even opens up with a really good singalong song it also contains, inthis river which is an awesome ballad song too. the guitar playing is excellent and the whole album is just Solid as a rock really. unless you find Zakk's voice annoying or generally don't lik this type of music then you should find this album to be most excellent
Definate hints of ozzy here in some songs on vocal style & sound. some song's sound a bit samey but that said they still rock. I play guitat & i am a fan of Zakk's playing. good honest rock & I will be looking for another one from this band shortly
With hard hitting songs such as fire it up this album just keeps hitting you hard and fast. I recommend this to anyone who truly appreciates a hard rock album. Zakk wylde could possibly be the greatest guitarist ever. Deffinately worth a listen