CD Review: Black Label Society “Catacombs of the Black Vatican”

Black Label Society
“Catacombs of the Black Vatican”
eOne Music
Produced by: Zakk Wylde
Tracks: 11

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Black Label brethren rejoice as the latest release from Zakk Wilds Black Label Society is finally here. “Catacombs of the Black Vatican” is the follow up to the groups 2010 release “Order of the Black” and is set to prove to everyone that it was well worth the 4 year wait. The album is being released via eOne Music and features 11 all new tracks which were produced by Zakk Wylde and mixed by Black Label alum Adam Klumpp.

Hardcore fans of BLS myself included have been waiting for this album now for quite some time so allow me to be the first to say that I wasn’t at all disappointed and neither will you be. “Catacombs of the Black Vatican” features a much more scaled back production which harkens back to some of the bands earliest releases. Songs such as “My Dying Time” and “Beyond the Down” features Wylde’s signature sound and squealing style we all know and love while tracks like “Angel of Mercy” and “Scars” are acoustical throwbacks to the Pride and Glory days, something I found to be really cool! The album is certainly heavy yet has a relaxed feel making it one of those albums you can throw on while hanging and throwing back some cold ones.

Wylde and his crew of hooligans are by no means reinventing the wheel with the songs found on “Catacombs of the Black Vatican” however they are revisiting their deep seated roots while expanding musically. Zakk’s voice has never sounded better and his guitar playing isn’t too shabby either. Flanked by bassist John “JD” DeServio and former Breaking Benjamin drummer Chad Szeliga the group seems to be at the top of their game and their latest release does a great job of proving that.

Track Listing:
1.) Fields of Unforgiveness
2.) My Dying Time
3.) Believe
4.) Angel of Mercy
5.) Heart of Darkness
6.) Beyond the Down
7.) Scars
8.) Damn the Flood
9.) I’ve Gone Away
10.) Empty Promises
11.) Shades of Gray