Mandatory Metal: 5 Essential Black Label Society Songs

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Heavy music is full of legendary bands boasting deep catalogs stacked with iconic songs — sometimes it can be hard to know where to start, or what to consider their best. With that in mind, we present the “Mandatory Metal” lists, which collect what we consider to be the definitive tracks from various members of the metallurgic pantheon. Up today, Black Label Society, that burly, hirsute band of leather-vest-clad bikers led by the one and only Zakk Wylde, Ozzy Osbourne’s own guitar hero and a hilarious metal Viking par excellence. BLS have a deep catalog packed with quality headbanging, beer-swilling fodder, but in our opinion, these classic cuts are their most essential. If you disagree, sound off on The Pit Facebook page.

ALBUM: The Blessed Hellride

Massive and melancholic, “Stillborn” is a star-assisted classic, with Zakk Wylde’s boss Ozzy Osbourne himself offering guest vocals, and Rob Zombie directing the music video, which stars his wife Sheri Moon. Even so, the spotlight belongs to Wylde, who makes the song his own.
Sample lyrics: “So empty/Just a shell of a man/Stillborn, this I understand.”

“In This River”
ALBUM: Mafia

Though it written months before the death of Wylde’s good friend Dimebag Darell of Pantera fame, “In This River” became “Dime’s tune” following the tragedy, and now is a staple of the BLS setlist. As Wylde has said, “There ain’t a dry eye in the house every time.”
Sample lyrics: “I’ve been around this world, yet I see no end/All shall fade to black again and again/This storm that’s broken me, my only friend.”

“Suicide Messiah”
ALBUM: Mafia

A stomping, gnashing barnburner, “Suicide Messiah” was reportedly written about Stone Temple Pilots/Velvet Revolver singer Scott Weiland and the crippling effects of his heroin addiction, which would eventually lead to his death.
Sample lyrics: “The electric burns that fuel the fire/It’s just your suicide messiah.”

“A Love Unreal”
ALBUM: Grimmest Hits

A majestic doomsaying anthem, this 2018 single culminates, of course, in a shredtastic guitar solo that’s even hookier than the song’s chorus.
Sample lyrics: “A love beyond, a love unreal/This sadness you felt you will no longer feel.”

“Fire It Up”
ALBUM: Mafia

From its talk box intro and chorus to its laidback but still incandescent solo, this Mafia standout truly burns bright.
Sample lyrics: “Hellfire, doom/Watch the hatred spin/Beyond the speed of sound.”