Black Label Society - 'Grimmest Hits' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     April 22, 2018    
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The title made me think that this was going to be a "best of" compilation release, but this is in fact a brand new fully-fledged album.

The title of this album immediately made me think that this was going to be a "best of" compilation release, but this is not the case and it is in fact a brand new fully-fledged album. I also thought this would probably be one of the easiest albums to review because it's Zakk Wylde and he gives "The Brethren" just what they want. If you are not into these guys, it's fair to say that you never will be.

Generally speaking, Wylde doesn't deviate too often from his favourite format (apart from a ballad here and there, a couple of keyboard songs and 'The Book Of Shadows Parts 1 and 2') and why should he? Therefore, my initial expectation was that on this album fans will find the usual Wylde Metal sound with the trademark squeals and distinctive vocals, and the hordes will be more than happy.

However, as I listened to this for the second time, I started to think that I was hearing things – different references and styles (not Harry!). Now I think I have a reasonable musical knowledge, I've been listening to it for years, and I can identify stuff; notes, sounds and styles. The first thing that came into my head was that the opening track 'Trampled Down Below' started with what sounded like the bass riff from Ozzy Osbourne's 'No More Tears', but I didn't think too much about it at that point.

However, after listening to 'Seasons Of Falter', 'The Betrayal', 'All That Once Shined', the ballad 'The Only Words', the short-but-sweet stomper 'Room Of Nightmares' and 'A Love Unreal', it was in latter where a nice blend of classical, acoustic and electric guitar once again turned into something which sounded very familiar, but I just couldn't identify what it was. Rainbow and Black Sabbath eventually popped into my head. Then, the very beginning of 'Disbelief' reminded me of seventies Alice Cooper, and I started looking for other band references. I heard Led Zeppelin in 'Illusions Of Peace', Cream in 'Bury Your Sorrow' and The Doors in 'Nothing Left To Say'.

I honestly don't know if this was intentional, or if my ears are just playing tricks on me, but either way, it adds a fun element to Wylde's music which can't be a bad thing.

Andy Brailsford

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