ALBUM REVIEW: Grimmest Hits – Black Label Society

When it comes to introductions, there is a man within the scene of heavy metal that needs none whatsoever, Zakk Wylde. His overwhelming passion and pure trademark voice and visceral riff style have made him more than a legend that will echo through the ages, and it seems that legend is far from being over. BLACK LABEL SOCIETY overpowers the airwaves with pure rocking charm that holds candles to the classic sounds of the genre that is by no means boring or generic. There’s a certain sound that everybody expect to hear from this band and Grimmest Hits does not disappoint.

Looking at the name of the album, it’s easy to mistake this as a greatest hits record. But this is not the case; Grimmest Hits is BLACK LABEL SOCIETY’s tenth studio album and features twelve hard-hitting tracks that feature a variety of sounds that just surge the listener into stages of nostalgic awe. The album shifts between generic conventions and seamlessly splices together different sounds, borrowing something from multiple genres. With some songs such as Seasons of Falter showing clear grunge inspiration with steady beats and a guitar backing that gives a throwback to bands such as PEARL JAM or ALICE IN CHAINS.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Zakk Wylde without throwing a ballad or two into the mix. There’s an overwhelming sense of satisfaction to hear the husky, soothing voice accompanied with the mellow guitars and backing of organs. The Only Words engrains an image of bringing the embrace of berserkers, mid mosh pit, to hold their lighters to the sky for five minutes until BLACK LABEL SOCIETY smash back into their rocking core with something like Room of Nightmares. which dives straight back into the deep, doom and bluesy style that this group have been so renowned for.

As the album progresses it breathes more and more life into the mixture of sound with a few reprieves from the bombardment of pure savage riff dominance in the likes of The Day That Heaven Had Gone Away that keep true to Zakk’s love for country music before continuing to the classic BLACK LABEL SOCIETY sound that the fans known as “berserkers” come to expect.

Illusions of Peace and Bury your Sorrow carry this heavy, dirty guitar and thunder-clapping drum beat to the climax of the album before closing out with yet another softer, slower ballad with Nothing Left To Say. This has such a feeling of accomplishment and success to close out a solid album where BLACK LABEL SOCIETY showcase the mastery of their craft in the blending of styles whilst still pumping out incredible guitar solos within these slower songs. What BLACK LABEL SOCIETY has cleverly mapped out on this record is their clear cut influences whilst still keeping it true to their own artistic style throughout.

Rating: 8/10

Grimmest Hits - Black Label Society

Grimmest Hits is out now via Spinefarm Records.

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