I’ll admit it: I’ve never been a Black Label Society fan. That said, I like Zakk Wylde’s work with Ozzy Osbourne, loved his Pride & Glory project which eventually morphed into BLS, and his work as Zakk Sabbath has blown me away every time I get a chance to listen or witness in person.
But I never got into Black Label Society.
Credit the recent ZS shows for tuning me back into the guitar god’s main gig and their upcoming 10th album because here I am kicking myself for not paying attention more over the years after aurally consuming Grimmest Hits several times over now.
Fueled by soaring signature Wylde riffage, “Trampled Down Below”, kicks off BLS’s latest studio record in a flurry of noise with Jeff Fabb’s heavy hitting accenting all the right places and a signature Wylde face-melting solo to finish it off. “Seasons Of Falter” is a bluesy, soulful riff rawker while “All That Once Shined” purrs when Wylde opens his mouth during the chorus.
First single “Room Of Nightmares” is the most accessible, smoothest BLS track on here. And that’s not an insult! Wylde has always been a very prolific vocalist and songwriter so this track just easily echoes that sentiment. The rhythm section of Fabb and John DeServio create a perfect synchronicity with Dario Lorina’s guitar providing the heavy riffing until Wylde comes in with another shredder of a solo.
“A Love Unreal” follows and is unreal in its’ earnestness until it devolves into the ultimate shredfest yet is still one of the most heartfelt tracks on Grimmest Hits thanks to Wylde’s vox once again. “Disbelief” charges headfirst into the riff ether while “Illusions Of Peace” is another shredder with no hopes of “peace” to be found as the track rages on.
Then “Bury Your Sorrow” comes in and is as deeply profound as are the riffs with Wylde screaming “I’ve found my peace of mind!” But like the press release says, similar to AC/DC or The Rolling Stones, BLS aren’t reinventing the wheel by any means with their brand of heavy rawkin’ which sounds like the perfect reason to keep coming back for more helpings!
“Nothing Left To Say” delivers a fitting end with an acoustic journey that serves as the perfect dichotomy to the heavy metallin’ good time you just heard. Like a morning after jam following a long night of partying, the track is that one that you hear as you stare out the window on the long ride home trying to remember what happened the night before. And while the details might be foggy, you know it was definitely a good time. Same goes as you contemplate what you just heard when the album inevitably finishes.
Grimmest Hits drops on January 19th through eOne Music. Pre-order options are available here and here. Black Label Society will be on tour this winter in support of GH with the mighty Corrosion Of Conformity (Who also have a new album dropping in January), Eyehategod, and Red Fang opening. For dates and more, head here.