Grimmest Hits soars toward maturity
Black Label Society is among the most revered and recognized names in hard rock and heavy metal, and has been since the turn of the century, thanks in part to numerous festival appearances and being fronted by guitar legend Zakk Wylde. In addition to performing with his tribute band Zakk Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne’s farewell tour over the past year and into the near future, Wylde still managed to prepare and release a rock-solid new album. It is only fitting at this point in their career for the band to celebrate their two-decade run with the release of Grimmest Hits. The new release is an elegant fusion of blues, groove, and doom rock that is tied together by Wylde’s soulful voice and larger than life guitar style.
Grimmest Hits is an obvious hat-tip of sorts to Black Sabbath and is incredibly apparent in tracks such as “Seasons of Falter” and “A Love Unreal.” They both feature grooves akin to Tony Iommi’s sinister and trudging guitar technique, as well as soaring vocals comparable to a younger and more sprightly Ozzy Osbourne. Though he takes time to pay homage to his tutors, it doesn’t mean that Wylde doesn’t put his own spin on things by crashing through the melody with the oh so familiar supercharged guitar solos and heavy overdrive on songs like “Room Of Nightmares” and “Disbelief” in the style that he became known for decades ago.
For what it is, Grimmest Hits speaks volumes toward the maturity of Black Label Society and how far they have come in the time that they have been together. As a testament to this fact the album is well rounded, entertaining, and incredibly well produced to boot. The rock ballad feel throughout much of the album leaves a little to be desired, but ultimately doesn’t detract from what a stunning and insightful album this is.