Pride & Glory - Pride & Glory (1994)
Submitted by Dinosaur David B on Thu, 05/29/2008 - 22:51
Zakk Wylde burst onto the music scene in 1988 by landing the Holy Grail of Metal gigs: the guitarist in Ozzy Osbourne's band. The slot previously held by Randy Rhoads originally, and then by Jake E. Lee — two fabulous guitarists. So Zakk had big shoes to fill. Randy and Jake had each been about 25 years-old when they had the gig. Zakk Wylde was nineteen. And frankly, I was skeptical as hell! I didn't pay much attention at first. With Ultimate Sin, I felt Ozzy was going soft. I also honestly figured: what the hell is a nineteen year-old guitarist going to bring to the music? Guys — kids — that age often have chops but very little taste. So when Ozzy released No Rest for the Wicked, I wasn't particularly interested. I heard the single, but it didn't really register with me. Then, in 1991, I heard the single No More Tears, and suddenly I took notice. Someone gave me a cassette of the album, and I was totally floored. Here was Zakk, now twenty-two, playing great songs, and hot, catchy riffs with command, flair, and bravado. He didn't have quite the pure chops of Lee, but he had plenty. More importantly, I think he had great songwriting instincts, ballsy ideas and attitude. Zakk also played extremely tasty, melodic composed solos that indicated a maturity of a player well beyond his years. Even at that young age it was clear to me: Zakk Wylde got it. You play for the song, not to show off your chops or to impress other guitar players. I was and remain very impressed with Zakk, both as a player, and more importantly, as a songwriter. Which brings us to Pride & Glory. If you only know Zakk from Ozzy or his current project, Black Label Society (B.L.S.), you may be unaware that he had another kind of music in him.
Pride & Glory isn't truly a Southern Rock album in the traditional sense, but the Southern Rock stamp on this album is unmistakable. The music shares similar stylistic aspects, particularly the raw, and limited (range-wise) vocals. I'm not a fan of that vocal style, but the other side of the coin is that the album definitely has a strong heavy metal influence too. The guitar work here is definitely heavier, raunchier, and flashier than traditional Southern Rock. And there are other influences at play here too. There is great depth in Zakk. Check out the credits listed above and note the instruments Zakk plays. I see a list like that and the first thing I think of is Jimmy Page. Indeed, the Page influences are strong, but they're not the ones you'd expect. Zakk's abilities actually brings a lot of that Zeppelin III-like depth and flavor to this album. Pride & Glory also features the amazing drumming of Brain Tichy. While I am usually loath to praise drummers ;-) I saw Tichy live recently in Glenn Hughes' band and his playing absolutely knocked me on my ass. He is the best drummer I've heard in ages. Unfortunately, the production on Pride & Glory isn't doing him justice. I think he's better than a LOT of more famous names. He hits with Bonham-like power (I heard that smirk!) and combines that with an Ian Paice-like dexterity (think of You Fool No One). So there certainly are plenty of aspects of this album to enjoy.
If you need a style label, for Pride & Glory, I call it Redneck Metal, similar in attitude to what you get from the band Jackyl or even the Black Crows. In fact, Zakk seems to go out of his way to sound like a redneck. Maybe he's really like that, but it seems like a persona. He's frequently singing to mama, papa, the Lord, and Jesus and seems determined to deliver a Cletus the slack-jawed yokel vocal. So since he's trying so hard to convey that, I'll go with it. But all you really need to know is this: This is a great album, with extremely well-constructed songs and monster Dinosaur guitar and drum work. Even if you don't like a Southern Rock influence, you'll probably appreciate the guitar merits of Pride & Glory. If you DO like the Southern flavor, and heavy guitar, this album was tailor-made for you! So here we go.
Track By Track (vocal cues in parentheses)
Losing your Mind (5:33) Song begins with banjo over drumsticks setting the tempo. This immediately establishes the down-home Southern feel. Drums bass and heavy guitars come in heavy, but the banjo remains on top and so all of the sudden you're in Zeppelin territory, with Brian Tichy laying down a stomp along the lines of When the Levee Breaks. Banjo drops out on verse part one, vocals enter and you get Zakk's Skynyrd-influenced whiney drawl. As the vocal verse parts ends, the banjo returns. Very effective — it keeps the song's initial flavor intact even though it's getting ballsy as hell. Chorus (Stare at the sun) features a pure country major 7th lick (he plays similar lick in Ozzy's Mamma I'm coming Home) over a choppy, heavy, rhythm guitar. Verse and chorus two follow the same pattern. Song breaks down at the bridge. Drums get sparse to make way for an airy bridge with arpeggiated and melodic guitars. Song gets heavy again for the solo section. Zakk playing ballsy attitude licks over a Whole Lotta Love - style lead break. Zakk then takes off on a ripping wah solo. Tons of attitude and flash. Ends with a building melodic crescendo. Song resumes with a chorus vamp and Zakk doing his best vocal imitation of Cletus, a-settin' on hiz poach, a pickin' hiz banjo.
Separated at Birth?
Horse Called War (5:01) This is one of my favorite tracks on the album. Its fast, heavy, and raucous. Begins with some noodling by the band, Zakk using a heavily effected sound. Brian Tichy counts off the beat with the hi-hat and Zakk launches into the main riff: a crunchy, descending line accented with some double-stops. Verse part one (If the end be a coming) is a different melody that the vocal, guitar, bass and and drums all follow in unison. This is a track provides and opportunity to hear Brian Tichy play his ass off. I wish he was more prominent in the mix. He plays a cymbal-heavy straight beat under the riff, but listen to the awesome drum part under the verse vocal. Verse part two is the main riff again. Chorus part one (You're gonna meet your maker) guitar and drums sync-up and hammer on an E7(9#) chord (the Purple Haze chord). Again, listen to the hot, syncopated drum groove under the chorus (Been out riding' Riding a horse called War) very Brian Downey-like, which I love. Solo section: once again, begins with an incendiary, wah lead "break" over just hi-hat before Zakk takes off into the classic, rock "G string bend" and some flipping of the pickup selector switch on the Paul. The solo builds into fast furious part. Then goes into a tension-building ascending climb of unison bends into more flash playing before grinding to a halt and falling back into the vocal verse part. After listening to the guitar solo, rewind your CD an go back and listen to the solo section again. This time, ignore the guitar completely and listen to just the drums. Amazing. Chorus returns and repeats. The main chug riff is used as the beginning of the outro, followed by a similar complementary part. Tichy gets the double bass drum going at the end, Cozy Powell style.
Shine On (6:42) Another one of the album's strongest tracks. Starts with a quiet electric intro, that builds gradually then explodes into a heavy, ass-kicking, descending "Intro" guitar riff, and a harmonica part that blends a "country blues" feel with metal. The song then goes into a up-tempo, heavy chunky and pulsating main riff. Tichy lays down another heavy groove complete with cowbell that drives this song. This riff becomes the verse part (Take a little time). The chorus (Shine on) has a great, catchy sing-along type hook, and finds Tichy creating another hot, syncopated groove to propel the song. The chorus features a simple guitar part followed by a descending, chunky turn-around. Intro repeats. Verse and chorus repeat. Solo section: a lead "break" again, first with harmonica over heavy drum fills. Solo section bumps the song's key up a whole-step, building tension. The lead begins with screaming guitar, followed by some nice melodic playing, then builds into some flashier licks. Some blues licks up high using the neck pickup, then back to flashy metal. Solo part dumps out into the intro part and into the chorus again. A descending vamp grinds the song to a complete halt (Shine my lovin' light . . . on you, mama) You think the song is over, but it's not. Zakk launches into a positively huge-sounding, ass-nasty Dinosaur riff (running chorused stereo here — there's nothing like a Les Paul!) Tichy and bassist James LoMenzo (the bastard son of John Entwistle) go with the riff and the song becomes a great, power trio "jam." Zakk's just wailing away on the Paul — sounds improvised rather than worked out, but it's really hot, and tasty. And the rhythm section underneath is fabulous. The whole section's feel kind of reminds me of live Cream, but more heavy metal. Great song.
Lovin' Women (3:44) This song changes the mood and slows the pace a bit. Just a simple up-tempo acoustic ballad. Cletus is back on the porch, begins the song with a belch. Song starts with acoustic guitar arpeggiated progression. Adds a little Harmonica on top. Mandolin part over the chorus (Lord, I've gotta find my home) The Mandolin and acoustic definitely give this song a Rod Stewart Gasoline Alley/Every Picture Tells a Story-era flavor. Verse and chorus repeat. Guitar solo is major scale — melodic and brief.
Harvester of Pain (5:06) Back to heavy again. Song starts with an Ozzy-era style Zakk lick, and launches into a mid-tempo driving beat. Verse part one is a simple riff with a turnaround at the end. Verse part two breaks from the rhythm with an airy part and alternates between two chords, and a descending progression into a big, sing-along style chorus (Harvester of pain) with a strummed guitar over the electric part. This song is similar in feel and style to the songs on the Riverdogs album.
The Chosen One (4:23) Eerie, Sabbath-like bass beginning into a heavy, descending plod riff (that becomes verse part two). Verse part one (Hey, Papa, wanna thank you so) is a quieter, arpeggiated electric part that stays out of the way of the vocal. Part two hammers the intro riff as the tension release, and the turnaround. Bridge(?) (All the pain and the suffering) is melodic and features a string section and an impassioned vocal — probably his best on this album — that builds the tension again. Chorus (So glad I got to know you, papa) releases it. Good lyrics, particularly if they are autobiographical — they seem to be. There's a quiet airy interlude after the chorus with bass, hi hat and Zakk wah-ing harmonics (ala Dazed and Confused). Verse and chorus repeat. Solo begins over the "verse 1" part with bass drum and keys behind it. Zakk's just doing some sparse blues noodling. He sears into another solo with the wah on. Pretty purposeful, but I think it's one of the weaker ones on this album. Strong song, though.
Sweet Jesus (3:46) Piano ballad. Begins with piano and vocal. Starts to build with strings. Drums come in eventually, quiet, simple. Song has a Let it Be type feel, and the guitar solo is in fact, a quick, Harrison-type thing. Zakk's vocal is either gonna make or break this song for you. For me it isn't strong enough to make the song "special."
Troubled Wine (5:36) Big, electric slide sound on the intro. Then the slide gives way to a heavy stop-start guitar riff. Sounds tuned-down. Drums and bass come in heavy. Mid-paced rumblin' riff rocker. Big, melodic chorus (Wine, I'll make you mine) with a catchy hook, comes in and breaks up the riff part. Another quiet interlude before the solo. Begins with a nasty, attitude-packed slide solo, then takes off in a bluesy direction and finishes fast and flashy. Nice job. Chorus returns a few times and they close out with the main heavy riff.
Machine Gun Man (4:54) This song has that Southern, Black Crows type of vibe. Major scale feel. Nice subtle drum groove moves the song more than a straight beat would. Quiet verses initially. Verse part two gets louder (It's a shame, it's a shame lord) and leads into another catchy chorus (He's a pocketful of hate) that features a nice use of dynamics. Verse and chorus repeat. Bridge (He keeps shootin' mama) keeps up the momentum. First part of the solo is major pentatonic melodic stuff which feels "just right." Second part is more flashy and bluesy. Chorus returns for a few more times and the songs ends quietly as it began.
Cry Me a River (4:35) Big Southern feel kind of like CCR. (Ol' Cletus — he'z a strummin' agin') Acoustic intro. Lots of cliché Southern Rock bends and licks. Well done, but this style of music turns me off big time. Verse part two is electric. Acoustic chorus. Nice guitar solo — pure Zakk — right out of Ozzy. I don't like this song at all. Your milage may vary.
Toe'n the Line (4:54) Back to ass-kicking, thankfully. Song begins with Tichy playing a rhythm on the side of the snare drum. Monster guitar comes in: big, brown, and tuned down! Similar to what you get in his B.L.S. project. Van Halen-ish drum beat for the first verse part. Second part (It's my obsession, a truckload of aggression) features a more syncopated rhythm. Effected vocal, and big descending riff for a chorus (I'm just toe'n the line). Drums drop out briefly to emphasize the riff. Verse and Chorus repeat. At the bridge (?) the tempo slows considerably (A fist for your head). The intro part returns to kick off the solo. Melodic and bluesy at first then gets fast and flashy toward the end. Chorus returns to end the song. Or does it? There's a 1:45 jam called "Afterthought." It's pretty hot, but doesn't have any musical connection with the rest of the song as a far as I can tell.
Fadin' Away (4:50) Another piano and vocal intro. Minor scale feel. Ballad feel continues through the chorus (Fadin' away, Mama, it's been a year to the day) , which is piano augmented by strings. Verse and chorus repeat. Solo section features a melodic acoustic lead part over a march drum beat. No electric on this.
Hate your Guts (4:54) Cletus returns for his finest moment and delivers his redneck manifesto! This is a fun, humorous song — almost the kind of song you get from Adam Sandler. Great lyrics! (As far as I'm concerned, I think you really suck, you're rotten and you blow. I hate your guts, I wish that you was dead. I'd dig the hole myself, but I'd rather run you over with my truck instead. Your first name should be ass, your last name should be wipe). And so on. You get the idea. Banjo over bass and tambourine. Sounds like a jug band playing around the ol' still. Nice banjo solo — I guess!
Other Notes: The liner indicates that there's a song called Found a Friend on this CD, but there isn't on this version. My copy of Pride & Glory, (and the ones you can get now) contain a bonus disc. This disc contains two more Zakk songs: Torn & Tattered — another Southern, acoustic ballad, and The Hammer & the Nail, another Zep III-ish banjo stomp. The bonus disc also features three interesting covers: Black Sabbath's The Wizard, Led Zeppelin's In my Time of Dying — I give Zakk credit for having the balls to go anywhere near that song! The band does a good job with it, but I find the vocals lacking. And there's a pretty interesting interpretation of the Beatles Come Together. None of these covers are really special though.
Zakk Wylde is a great guitar player, a great songwriter, a great musician, and one of the few guys left who is still carrying the torch proudly for Dinosaur Rock Guitar music. Unlike his work with Ozzy and B.L.S. which never strays too far out of their genres, Pride & Glory is a showcase of Zakk's musical depth and diverse stylistic influences that range from Metal to down-home Southern acoustic ballads. And though his influences are easy to spot, and the flavors are recognizable, Zakk manages to blend them all together and to put his own heavy and ballsy stamp each song. There is no mistaking that it's Zakk Wylde dishing out slabs of molten metal with that big, honking Les Paul. I DO find myself wishing the vocals were stronger on this album, but your take on that may be different from mine. Make no mistake, this is one motherfucker of an album, and one I would think any Dinosaur Rock Guitar Hero would be proud to have created. Extremely impressive for a 25 year-old guitarist. And while Zakk's back to playing even less-commercial metal than he did with Ozzy, he's only 32, and I don't believe it's a stretch to suggest Zakk's best music is probably still in front of him. And here is a glimpse at the of the kind of depth and quality we can expect from him.
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By Dinosaur David B. Copyright ©2001 All rights reserved.
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