Black Label Society had a hard-rock hit with 2011’s The Song Remains Not the Same, an album that featured acoustic versions of songs from the group’s Order of the Black record as well as covers like Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Invigorated by that success, frontman Zakk Wylde will keep the theme alive when the group records a live DVD and album this winter. Titled Unblackened, and due for release in the spring, the project will see BLS swap out the Marshall stacks and electric Epiphone Graveyard Disciple guitars for an orchestra, piano and pedal steel. But Zakk assures us the songs will retain their patented bite.
“The attitude of the songs doesn’t change when we play them acoustically,” he says. “I mean, obviously, the tunes are gritty regardless. It’s like when Zeppelin did a chill song like ‘Gallows Pole.’ It still came off dirty and heavy because of the conviction they played it with.”
While the set list hasn’t been finalized, Wylde confirms that the material will span the entirety of the band’s nine studio albums. “This is something we haven’t done yet, and we wanted to give our fans something new,” he says. “You can take a song that you’ve played thousands of times and rearrange it, and all of a sudden it’s something totally fresh. It will make it exciting for us too.”
BLS plan to record a new studio album next summer for release in 2014. But in the meantime, Wylde’s focus is solely on his acoustic venture ahead. “I’ve been in the Black Vatican [Wylde’s L.A. studio] arranging strings, playing my acoustics and getting ready to tear this show up,” he says. “It’s going to be good.”