‘Mafia’ is the sixth studio album by Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society. It was released on March 8, 2005. It is one of the band’s most commercially successful releases selling over 250,000 copies in the U.S.
A common misconception is that Zakk wrote the song as a tribute to his close friend “Dimebag” (former guitarist for bands Pantera and Damageplan), who was killed on December 8, 2004. In fact, he wrote the song many months prior to the incident, and subsequently began dedicating the song to him. On the topic of dedication, Zakk explains that he “was looking at the lyrics, and just said ‘Man, this has gotta be Dime’s tune’, so we made it Dime’s song and that’s how the video came about. I think it’s really emotional and it came out great. Everyone loves it – Vinnie Paul (Darrell’s brother), Rita (Darrell’s girlfriend). It’s all about Dime’s memory and there ain’t a dry eye in the house every time you see it.” Wylde also states that every time he plays a show, “it will never leave the Black Label set.”
The music video for “In This River” depicts a fictional account of Dime and Zakk as young kids, their childhood bond, riding bicycles together and diving into a river. At the end of the video, only the adult version of Zakk emerges, symbolizing Darrell’s death. He explains that “The river is a metaphor for life in general, and all the B.S. that you deal with from being a kid growing up. The whole thing’s just about life and death.” Footage of Dimebag performing was also incorporated into the clip.
“Mafia” was Black Label Society’s sixth studio album originally released in March 2005. It sees a return to the much heavier style of “1919 Eternal” and “The Blessed Hellride” and was their most globally successful album to date, selling over 250,000 in the US alone. “In This River” is dedicated to the memory of Dimebag Darrell, who had been a close friend of Zakk’s before his untimely death, and the album closes with a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “I Never Dreamed”. “Fire It Up” was featured in the 2005 edition of the game Guitar Hero.