BLACK LABEL SOCIETY FACTS:
Members: Zakk Wylde, John DeServio, Nick Catanese, Will Hunt
Genre: Heavy metal, hard rock
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Albums: Sonic Brew (1999); Stronger than Death (2000); 1919 Eternal (2002); The Blessed Hellride (2003); Hangover Music Vol. VI (2004); Mafia (2005); Shot to Hell (2006); Order of the Black (2010)
Hits: "Counterfeit God", "Stillborn", "Suicide Messiah"
Other: "Stillborn" features guest vocals from Ozzy Osbourne.
In the late 1990s, the music scene was largely dominated by the emergence of boy bands such as the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync. It was around this time that New Jersey-native Zakk Wylde formed the heavy metal band Black Label Society to offer music fans a larger sound and thought-provoking lyrics that provided a distinct change in style from the tunes that dominated the airwaves.
Wylde joined with drummer Phil Ondich in 1998 and helped him record what would become Black Label Society's first album, Sonic Brew. In addition to Ondich, guitarist Nick Catanese joined the band and was soon followed by John DeServio on the bass guitar to form the original lineup of the group. Although Sonic Brew was recorded in 1998, it was not released in the United States until May 1999, where it was met with considerable positive critical reception.
Although the album was widely considered a success, the band underwent a lineup change prior to their next album. Ondich and DeServio were both replaced for the band's sophomore production, Stronger Than Death. Much like its predecessor, Stronger Than Death earned generally favorable reviews, and featured the song "Counterfeit God" which remains one of the band's most famous and popular songs. Due to the success of Black Label Society's first two albums, they released a live album, Alcohol Fueled Brewtality Live!! +5, in October 2000 which, in addition to a recording of one of their exciting live shows, included five new studio tracks.
The band's fourth album, The Blessed Hellride, was released in 2003 and featured the return of DeServio to the group. In addition to reinstatement of the band's original bassist, the album also included the song "Stillborn," which is a favorite among heavy metal fans because it features rock legend Ozzy Osbourne on vocals. Hangover Music Vol VI, the band's fifth studio album, was released the next year and represented a departure from their typical style. The songs were generally more mellow, highlighted by the song "A Whiter Shade of Pale," which is the cover of a song by the 60s band Procol Harum.
After a pair of albums were released in 2004 and 2006, Wylde and the group gave fans their most recent production, Order of the Black, in 2010. The album has been the band's most successful album in terms of chart performances, reaching number four on the Billboard 200 as well as number two on the Independent Albums chart.