Sonic Brew

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Sonic Brew
Sonic Brew Original Cover.jpg
Studio album by Black Label Society

October 28, 1998 (Japan)

May 4, 1999 (USA)
Recorded 1998-1999
Genre Heavy metal, hard rock
Length 55:13
Label Spitfire
Producer Ron Albert
Howard Albert
Zakk Wylde
Black Label Society chronology
No More Tears (EP)
Sonic Brew
Stronger Than Death
Alternate cover
Reissue Cover
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]

Sonic Brew is the debut studio album by American heavy metal band Black Label Society, released on October 28, 1998 in Japan and May 4, 1999 in the US by Spitfire Records. Unlike the albums that followed, this album still possessed a distinct Southern rock overtone that up to this time had predominated Zakk Wylde's solo writing style. The album was initially released in Japan on October 28, 1998. It contained 13 tracks (lacking "Lost My Better Half" and "No More Tears"); the cover art was printed on clear plastic, with a separate paper booklet. The back cover was printed with golden ink, and the packaging was, overall, a lot higher quality than all later versions.

There was a long delay before it was released outside of Japan, because the drums and vocals were buried on some of the tracks towards the end of the disc, so it was collectively decided to remix it for the US release. Due to the delay, Wylde and drummer Phil Ondich decided to give the USA an added bonus and went to the studio in California and recorded the aggressive "Lost My Better Half" as a one-off bonus track for the album - the recording of which reportedly prompted Wylde to pursue a heavier direction for the band's music thereafter. Sonic Brew was finally released on May 4, 1999 with a standard gloss-printed booklet. Early copies came packed with a free Zakk Wylde guitar pick.

Subsequently the Johnnie Walker whisky company issued a cease and desist order to Wylde on the album cover, which had been designed to match, except for its wording, the distiller's graphic design for its bottles of Black Label Whisky. The band decided to reissue the album with a different album cover, this time merely the band's skull logo and as an added incentive, they wanted to record a further bonus track for the fans who wanted to buy this now-third version of the album. Wylde, Ondich, and Mike Inez of Alice In Chains (who alongside Wylde had helped write the original) recorded their cover of Ozzy's "No More Tears" accordingly.

"Bored To Tears, "Born To Lose" and "No More Tears" were released as promotional singles for the album, though no videos were made.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Zakk Wylde except where noted. 

No. Title Length
1. "Bored to Tears"   4:28
2. "The Rose Petalled Garden"   4:55
3. "Hey You (Batch of Lies)"   3:53
4. "Born to Lose"   4:23
5. "Peddlers of Death"   4:33
6. "Mother Mary"   4:26
7. "Beneath the Tree"   4:09
8. "Low Down"   5:04
9. "T.A.Z."   1:56
10. "Black Pearl"   3:27
11. "World of Trouble"   5:20
12. "Spoke in the Wheel"   4:13
13. "The Beginning... At Last"   4:26
Reissue bonus tracks
No. Title Length
14. "Lost My Better Half"   4:24
15. "No More Tears" (Ozzy Osbourne, Wylde, Randy Castillo, Mike Inez, John Purdell) 6:57


  • The song "Mother Mary" originated as an unreleased Pride & Glory demo, a live version of which was performed during Pride & Glory's set at the Donington Monsters of Rock Festival in 1994. The Black Label Society version is almost completely different both musically and lyrically but both do share the same basic chorus lyrics.