Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Look Back at Pride & Glory

Now that guitar god Zakk Wylde has become a living cartoon character not unlike his mentor Ozzy Osbourne, it's easy to forget how ambitious he was back in the day. His fiery performances on No Rest For The Wicked and No More Tears made those the Ozzman's most energetic records to date and a growing interest in southern rock led him to form Pride & Glory with bassist James Lomenzo and drummer Brian Tichy in 1994. The music on their sole album predicts every project Wylde led from that point onward and while a few of those effort match its quality, none of them are as creative.

Those already acquainted with Black Label Society will have an idea of what to expect here, but Pride & Glory is more than just a southern rock version of it. The songs do alternate between chuggy sludge rockers and sentimental ballads but the compositions aren't as straightforward as Wylde's recent fodder. The structures are generally looser as "Horse Called War" and "Toe'n The Line" have solid jamming segments while "Harvester Of Pain" and "The Chosen One" mix some moodiness in with the heavier riffs. There is also more instrumentation beyond the trio as "The Chosen One" brings in a nice string section while a banjo dominates lead single "Losin' Your Mind" and the laid back "Hate Your Guts."

This also feels more sincere than anything Wylde has done since. The melodic tracks feel more organic with "Machine Gun Man" having a smooth twang and "Cry Me A River" playing out like a more pleasant version of Alice In Chains' "No Excuses." The lyrics aren't brilliant but they're more real than the mindless doom and gloom peddled by Black Label. This point is enhanced by the vocal performance as the Rickey Medlocke impression is surprisingly soulful for a guy born and raised in New Jersey...
Alas, the album isn't entirely perfect. Like many CDs that came out in the mid to late 90s, there are a few too many tracks on here. None of them are below average but the ballads towards the end probably could've been cut without raising too much of a fuss. Some may also still find the vocals nerve grating even if they aren't as demanding as the nasal Ozzy aping that defined Black Label in their post-Hangover Music era.

Overall, Pride & Glory's sole album is a southern metal classic that shows Zakk Wylde at the most interesting phase of his career. A few of his subsequent efforts came close to its sound but nothing could ever capture its atmosphere. A sequel is being planned to Book Of Shadows for next year so it's worth wondering if a similar fate could be planned for this...

Highlights:
"Losin' Your Mind"
"Troubled Wine"
"Cry Me A River"
"Toe'n The Line"
"Hate Your Guts"

1 comment:

jesse foster said...

Awesome review to an awesome album