Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Zakk Wylde

Angel Of Mercy

I don’t know what it is, but man this song gets the hairs rising on the back of my neck. It brings back memories. I can just imagine lying on my bedroom floor listening to this on my headphones back in the Eighties!

For those that don’t know the song appears on the album “Catacombs Of the Black Vatican” from Black Label Society.

It begins with a clean tone strumming passage and to be honest it is that rough Southern fried voice of Zakk’s that seals the deal. It’s like whatever music Zakk commits to tape, it has a soul that infatuates the head space.

When Zakk Wylde got the Ozzy gig, I was also in my teens, however the guitar ability exhibited by Zakk for such a young age alerted me to the fact that I needed to woodshed a lot more if I was to compete. He was in a different league already for the age he was at.

And what about the lead break?

It’s pure magic. Yes, Wylde can wail. Just listen.

That there alone is the reason why Zakk Wylde is a Guitar God, as it includes everything but the kitchen sink. It builds and builds to the point where you cannot help but be in awe at the feel, the melodic phrasing and the disciplined technique on display.

The song will never be a hit on the Billboard Charts and due to its mellow nature it might never get a live appearance, but god damn it, the song is a classic.

And “Damn That Flood”. God damn.

It is the track that should have been on Black Sabbath’s 13 album. It’s got that famous heavy blues groove that Sabbath is so renowned for. This is metal before Metallica made it all about speed. A slow killer riff that brings out the heaviness.

And again that lead break is another song within a song composition. Crank the wah, crank the bends, crank the shred, crank the repeating licks, the alternate picking and legato runs. It’s so complex and yet it comes across so effortlessly.

This is why Zakk worked for Ozzy.

Without Ozzy knowing it, he had a protégé that could do Black Sabbath better than Black Sabbath. He had a protégé that could do Randy Rhoads justice. (Of course, as a diehard RR fan, no one could do RR better than RR himself). Finally, Ozzy also had a protégé that could play Jake E Lee better than Jake E Lee. Zakk once called it the most glorified covers gig ever, where he gets to play some cool shit written by others and he also gets to play his own shit.

One final mention “Empty Promises”. It the metal song of 2014. The whole intro is a cross between Alice In Chains “Would” and Black Sabbath “Heaven And Hell”.

The groove is hypnotic in the verses.

And again that lead break section is just drenched in every guitar technique known to man.

Check it out on Spotify. Show some love for the Wyldester.

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