Sonic Brew

by Black Label Society

(1999) Spitfire Records #6-70211-5004-2

Personnel Proprietor & Brewmaster (Vocals, Guitars): Zakk Wylde ~ Mashing (Drums): Phil Ondich ~ Taste-testing & Blending (Bass): Ron Albert & Howard Albert
Description "Alcohol-fueled Brewtality" from one of the baddest mofo axemen on the planet to have ever graced the stage with the Ozzmeister. This new release could be decribed as "Pride & Glory on CRACK!"
Posted By Craig Smoot (906)
Directory Recordings: Metal
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Overall Rating: 4.0 (of 5)
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Member Reviews

On 12/9/1999, Jason Reich (1765) posted:
Overall Rating:
Im right with you on this one Craig. This album is awesome! The only qualm I have is the CD's cover design (stolen from Pantera's "Live 101 proof") but thats a pretty small complaint (unless you thought that you were actually buying Johnny Walker Black Label whiskey for 16.99 at Ozzy is one lucky man. Every guitarist hes has has been amazing, and Zak is no exception.
Oh, and by the way, Gibson just released a Zak Wylde signature guitar. Its a les paul with the Bullsey graphic and EMG mounted in, check it out.
On 12/2/1999, Craig Smoot (906) posted:
Overall Rating:

Once again the ex-Ozzy axeman extraordinaire known as Zakk Wylde is back and angrier than ever! His latest project is aptly titled "Black Label Society" [and yes, our band has had the name "Black Label" since '94, but we love Zakk so who cares?], and if you haven't heard their radio single "Bored To Tears" yet, then believe me you're in for one helluva wild ride (no pun intended). And no, this isn't a spin-off of Zakk's awesome first solo project "Pride & Glory", for this album has a much heavier sound and feel MUCH, much heavier! In a way I think it's Zakk's answer to the big "Sub-sonic Rage" going on in music today with bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit and the like. NO, this album is nothing like those bands music-wise, but Sonic Brew's low-end boominess is right up there with 'em. Almost too muddy at times (after all, he does play a Marshall), but super-ballsy and powerful nonetheless.

Once again, Zakk proves his songwriting prowess by effortlessly cranking through 13 tunes of almost non-stop, heavy-hitting riffage. His talent for coming up with catchy, memorable riffs along with his ability to write and sing strong rock vocal melodies and harmonies still continues to amaze and delight fans such as myself. Although he may seem like the typical booze-loving rocker, he truly is a musician's musician, as evidenced throughout the "Pride & Glory" album as well as on this effort. His acoustic compositions are always wonderful to listen to, for he seems to put a lot of heart and soul into them despite his trademark Les Paul-driven tones that most think of when they hear mention of his name. In fact, he's got an acoustic solo on Brew called "Taz" that is downright acoustic shred par excellence! Almost makes Nuno Bettencourt's incredible acoustic solo "Midnight Express" (off Extreme's "Waiting For The Punchline") seem a tad sluggish in comparison (and we should all know by now what kind of monster musician Nuno is). Anyhoo, like I said, don't expect this to be "Pride & Glory II", 'cause it definitely isn't only one tune on the whole album could even be lumped in with the more southern-flavoured P&G stuff. If you're a Ozzy-era Zakk fan or a Zakk fan regardless, I'd say this album is a must-buy this Xmas, but unfortunately I don't see Sonic Brew achieving the same "Classic" status that the P&G album inevitably will.