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Let’s face it, 2021 needs a giant kick in the ass and Black Label Society’s 11th Album, Doom Crew Inc., might just be what we all need.  For those looking for an injection of passion and visceral riffs to revitalize your soul, stop look no further. This is the shot you need.

Recorded in Father Zakk’s own studio, Black Vatican, the first thing that impresses me is this album has massive depth. The depth comes from the double tracked rhythm guitars added to the legendary Zakk Wylde’s riffs and the blending of guitar solos. Add to that some impressive vocal range, and you have a recipe for a solid album.  From the jump, "Set You Free" eases in with a soft acoustic intro that is then slapped down with a crunching riff. On the 10th trip down this opus this is still my favorite track. Dario Lorina trades solo parts on the piece with Wylde and just that little nuance really expands it to a higher level.  Sliding into "Destroy, Conquer",  you clearly hear the Ozzy influence in the vocals, less riff driven and focusing on a variety of tempo changes that continue driving from beginning to end it showcases the musical complexity of the band on this album. 

The third track, "You Made Me Want to Live",  sets up the rest of the album as a real showcase for Zakk’s vocals each song taking it in a completely new direction.  He moves from an Ozzy to an almost Jim Morrison inspired bluesy intro which slams into another heavy riff driven chorus and evolves back and forth between the blues and heavy riffs.  This is another good example of the sharing of solos between Wylde and Lorina.  Do I want to say my favorite song on this album is the ballad… hell no, but DAMN, it’s close.  "Forever and a Day" is just that damn good, Lorina’s somber piano mixed with the haunting guitar and Zakk’s voice has a vibrato that belongs in a damn church choir.  Pretty near perfect and you can Zakk pouring his soul into the track on so many levels.  "End of Days" brings us back to a blues riff world but the melodic vocals threading the fire of the guitars.  The lower end bass on this track served up “J.D.” DeServio is especially satisfying.  The entire album rocks your core, it’s that inner sway that only a driving bass can give you.  

The powerhouse drumming of Jeff Fabb drives "Ruins" from the intro.  Since joining the band in 2014, Fabb has elevated the depths of the concussive power of BLS.  The balance of that thunderous beats never overpowers the vocals but is enough to rock you soul. "Forsaken" kicks in with thick dueling guitars of Wylde and Dario Lorina who really is a major spotlight on this album. Going back to the depth, the guitar harmonies of BLS, really vacillate between Priest and Allman Brothers vibes depending on the song it’s not one note one level, there is a complexity on Doom Crew Inc. that shows an evolution of the band.  If the vocal range hadn’t impressed you thus far, "Love Reign Down",  takes the vocal range to a Joe Cocker level, the music and melody juxtaposed to the thrashing hair and kilt would be stunning to see live.  While "Love Reign Down" would make a good wedding song, the foreboding riff of "Gospel of Lies" would set the perfect ominous tone for a funeral.  The evocative vocals mixed with the staccato guitar drives the track through multiple time changes while DeServio’s heavy bluesy bottom end really anchors this track.  

"Shelter Me" starts out like more of a heroic anthem, and then delves into the grinding rocker with some thick licks, and nice vocal harmonies.  The dueling solos again give this track a thicker more complicated feeling.  The Allman Brothers southern guitar twang is mixed with a visceral riff in the intro of "Gather all my Sins", this song is really a showcase for the guitar harmonies and visceral shredding.  If you want to listen to one track to showcase that Wylde is churning out some of the best riffs in Metal, this is the track. Another ballad, the apt titled "Farewell Ballad" is a great showcase of Zakk’s vocals, showing that his signature growl has a softer side.  The smooth vocals are mixed with Lorina’s delicate piano and put a cap on a incredibly satisfying album.

It's clear that Black Label Society's Doom Crew, Inc. is a salute to their "first to bleed, last to leave" crew and the band's legions of fans who will be more than pleased with this outing. Be sure to grab a copy when this one drops on November 26th, It's a winner! 


Dave Blass

Photojournalist - Toronto

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