Stronger Than Death, from 2000, is the second full-length studio album by the American Heavy Metal band Black Label Society. Black Label Society were essentially the solo project of Zack Wylde at this stage, and are his third venture away from Ozzy Osbourne, after the piano filled solo album Book Of Shadows and the one-off Southern Rock album with Pride And Glory.
The sound of Stronger Than Death is a fairly heavy and no frills mixture of doomy Classic Heavy Metal and Stoner Rock. This album is one of their most direct and hard hitting affairs, with song after song of the gnarlier, more metallic side of the band. It's a bit less raw and muddy than their debut, and it has shed most of the Southern Rock tinge, but has not yet become just as produced and radio friendly as their most famous works. As with all of the BLS efforts, its packaged in a theme of Biker culture and alcohol consumption.
Its almost difficult to chose highlight from album since its so consistent and free of filler, but my favourite songs include `Phoney Smiles & Fake Hellos,' `Superterrorizer' and `Ain't Life Grand,' although its hard to think of this record without the furiously catchy single `Counterfeit God' (famous for having Mark Walburg playing bass guitar in its music video).
Besides the meaty, low pitched riffs, and the mixture of slow groves with fast paced driving sections, the main focus of any Black Label Society record is the lead guitar. Zack has a very distinctive style. Its full of personality, flash and lots of little flourishes.
You should consider checking out the band if you are a fan of Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Pantera, Down, Clutch or Pepper-era C.O.C.
This early album is one of their heaviest to date. Its got fewer ballads, an edgier production and less tracks exclusively in the mid-tempo range than their later work like Mafia and Shot To Hell.
Overall; Stronger Than Death is probably the band's most direct and no-frills records to date. If you like their debut, this is a must have. It could be argued that it may be repetitive but its my personal favourite of all their albums, the songs are great, everything is tasteful and its got a certain bite to it.