Black Label Society’s “Grimmest Hits,” is both what you’d expect, and what you wouldn’t expect.
What you expect: doomy grooves, heavy driving gratifying guitars, well-done and long highlighted solos, and Zakk’s unique voice.
What you don’t expect: It’s not a best of album…it’s 12 tracks of new BLS.
Zakk positions great musicians to stand tall behind him and lay the foundation for him to shine. But for a couple of ballads (which are very pretty), the rest of the album is typical BLS…bluesy, heavy, doomy, and a bit of reincarnated Sabbath/Ozzy with an Alice in Chains flair.
While the last BLS release was 2014’s “Catacombs of the Black Vatican,” Zakk wasn’t doing nothing in this absence, rather he released the long-awaited Book of Shadows II.
My favorite tracks on “Grimmest Hits” (besides the ballads, because no one does ballads like Zakk) are “Illusions of Peace,” and “Disbelief.”
While I don’t feel like Zakk uses a formula, I do think he employs a distinct technique used for a tried and true blueprint (yeah, I see that as different from a formula). Zakk has conjured up Zakk Sabbath, Black Sabbath, Black Label Society, Pride and Glory, and his Book of Shadows all together to make this record…which really means, it’s a Zakk Wylde written album.
The heavy solo work is impressive, but often goes on longer than you’d expect…but somehow you don’t mind. His voice is uniquely Zakk; there is no change there…and while sometimes I can’t distinguish the words without the lyrics (because he mumbles sometimes), I personally find it comforting. This iteration of Black Label Society is solid and they lay an unshakable foundation for him to proudly stand upon and do his thing. And Black Label Society is Zakk’s thing.
Fans of Black Label Society will like it. Metal fans who don’t like BLS won’t like it any more or less than his previous releases.
At this writing, Zakk is likely happy Nick isn’t in the band anymore (just google Nick Cantonese pleads guilty 2018) if you don’t already know. The timing of it is unfortunate with Zakk’s album being released on January 19th, and the story about Nick breaking just days before. Hopefully BLS fans know Nick left the band after 17 years in 2013, and his wrong doings have no bearing on Zakk or BLS, whatsoever. Unfortunately, if you Google BLS members, Google still has Nick as active. Someone on the BLS camp should do some clean up.
You can catch BLS on tour in North America with Corrosion of Conformity and Eyehategod or Red Fang, depending on your city. http://blacklabelsociety.net/tour-dates/
The track list for “Grimmest Hits” is as follows:
1 – Trampled Down Below
2 – Seasons of Falter
3 – The Betrayal
4 – All That Once Shined
5 – The Only Words
6 – Room of Nightmares
7 – A Love Unreal
8 – Disbelief
9 – The Day That Heaven Had Gone Away
10 – Illusions of Peace
11 – Bury Your Sorrow
12 – Nothing Left to Say
Black Label Society is:
· Zakk Wylde – lead vocals, lead guitar, piano (1998–present)
· John DeServio – bass, backing vocals (1999, 2005–present)
· Dario Lorina – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2014–present)
· Jeff Fabb – drums (2012–2013, 2014–present)