Grimmest Hits signals the return of celebrated axeman Zakk Wylde its the first Black Label Society album since 2014s Catacombs Of The Black Vatican and it is safe to say that everything you expect from an album featuring Wylde is here in spades.
Ever since he burst onto the metal scene three decades ago as the fresh faced guitarist for the legendary Ozzy Osbourne (who he still shreds for to this day), it has been apparent how talented a guitarist he is, but what is sometimes overlooked is how good a vocalist and songwriter he is. From co-writing some of Ozzys best loved hits like No More Tears and Mama I’m Coming Home to the massively underrated Pride & Glory album he released in the mid 1990s (go and check it out, its fantastic) to his close to twenty year output with Black Label Society, he has proved himself as a talented composer of great rock and metal tracks and this continues on Grimmest Hits.
From big riffed anthemic rock songs like the opening Trampled Down Below, Room Of Nightmares, the bruising A Love Unreal and the Southern fried boogie of Bury Your Sorrow to the more reflective and heartfelt tracks like the beautiful Lynyrd Skynyrd indebted The Day That Heaven Had Gone Away and the blissful The Only Words , it is clear that this ranks as the best album that the band have ever made and it those latter songs where the band and Wylde in particular really flourish and it is testament to the songwriting abilities of Wylde that eve then heavier songs contain more melodic and thoughtful parts.
Vocally Wylde sounds better than ever (sounding at times like a hybrid of Ozzy and much missed Alice In Chains singer Layne Stanley especially on the track All That Once Shined) and is backed by a fine band of musicians who ably bolster the Black Label Society sound.
Grimmest Hits is the sound of a band doing exactly as they want and loving it with a mixture of hard rocking and more laid back anthems and it elevates the reputation of Zakk Wylde even further.
Zakk Wylde proves once again that not only is he one of the best guitarists out there but also how much of a gifted songwriter he is with this collection of rock anthems.