Black Label Society The Blessed Hellride

Where is all the hype coming from with these guys, and why? It's baffling, really, as Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society are good, adequate, and middle of the road at best. Here Wylde exorcises his dirtier, southern rock demons that he can't let loose through his day gig with Ozzy Osbourne's band, and it sometimes works to a great degree; let's face it, this guy can write cool riffs like no other. When he pulls out the big guns (and the beer, and the rest of the beer, and some more beer), it's a good time, like Pantera on the porch after some time off. But he can write a lot of forgettable riffs too, and his singing ain't helping the monotonous vibe here. Gotta respect it, integrity in bucket loads and all that, but really, for the most part these are pretty boring songs bogged down with a flat production. (Spitfire)