The Reaper Rides Again on the Black Label Society New Album “Grimmest Hits”… Its been four years since “Catacombs of the Black Vatican”(eOne Music)… so, you know its time for a new album to drop. The guitar-slingin’ legend Zakk Wylde led group Black Label Society (BLS) is set to release their tenth full length studio album, “Grimmest Hits” (eOne Music), on January 19th and its not a greatest hits compilation, as the title may lead you to believe. Its a dozen tunes varying from gritty, hard rockers… to blistering metal…to beautifully arranged bluesy tracks and a few Southern-laden ballads intertwined. Of course, the heavy guitar squeals of Mr. Wylde’s signature sound are present in just about every song along with his unmistakable vocal style to make one helluva album. Wylde has assembled a mighty arsenal of artists to accompany his “Berzerker” brigade. The New Jersey seasoned veteran John (JD) DeServio (Cycle of Pain and Pride & Glory) provides the thunder on his Schecter bass since 2005, six-string extraordinaire Dario Lorina (Jani Lane and Lizzy Borden) joined in 2014 and Jeff Fabb (In This Moment and Filter) has been beating the hell out of the buckets since 2012 for BLS… these mega-talented musicians together are a brutal symphony of chaos.

The album gets right-down-to-business with the opening jam “Trampled Down Below”. It starts with a mesmerizing bass sequence from DeServio and a classical string ensemble then blasts into a heavy rocker when Wylde and Lorina join in. “Seasons of Falter” begins with some meaty riffage and lyrics that seem to beg for Layne Staley’s resurrection to sing-along with Wylde. The patented guitar squeals abound in this 90’s inspired mid-tempo track. The next tune, “Betrayal”, gets started with brutal six-string licks before the vocal hooks are set and Wylde lets loose on blistering solos at a few crucial points in this gem. “All That Once Shined” begins with Wylde’s vocal delivery soaring over a haunting bass line from JD. A menacing guitar harmony rips this slow-paced tune until an “in the round” style bridges another doomy bass line joined with Wylde’s sacred six-string squeals. The first of the beautifully arranged ballads, “The Only Words”, blasts-off with a bluesy guitar pickin’ style paired with sentimental and soulful lyrics for a magical love song… hard-rockin’ metal can have a heart too… can’t it? Just as the previous song has relaxed you… the sentimental stuff is kicked to the curb and “Room of Nightmares” takes over with a killer guitar sequence and an impeccable, multi-layered solo jam. My favorite track on the album, “Love Unreal”, gets started with a little acoustic melody and a can of gas is thrown on the fire when Wylde’s chugging guitar progression picks up the pace. The tune is ignited by more guitar squeals and pedal work creating some outstanding tunage… helluva track !!! The next doomy rocker, “Disbelief”, provides the runaway roller-coaster tune on the album that can’t seem to make up its mind where to go. It starts out as a mid-tempo jam and morphs into a somewhat slow jam and rudely erupts into a fireball of angst-filled riffage. Another mystical slow-paced genuine blues song, “The Day That Heaven Had Gone Away”, is the tear-jerker on this offering… complete with a crying guitar solo backed by some splendid Lorina backing rhythm licks that just chokes you up inside. “Illusions of Peace” cranks it to 11 right off the bat with a nasty riff and a crushing display of power from JD and Fabb earning their keep as Wylde conjures up a supernatural, jaw-dropping solo  as only he can do. This mighty track showcases all the band members attributes perfectly and is absolutely my second favorite jam on the album . “Bury Your Sorrow” is a dirty-south rocker with swampy guitars and a hard-hitting drum arrangement from Fabb… determined to make his drum kit tap out. Wylde’s vocals and pure guitar brilliance shine brightly on this gem. The finale of the album is a magnificent slower jam with poignant lyrical harmonies and the chorus, “fly away…my wings may be bent, but I could not stay” cements the reoccurring theme… “Nothing Left to Say” boasts some soaring guitar slides along with an acoustic backing track that is simply mesmerizing. Its a beautiful song to close a remarkable album, indeed.

With all the accolades of Zakk Wylde’s storied career, he still finds time in his busy schedule to feed his loyal followers what they want… and he never disappoints them. He has undertaken the duties to rejoin “The Boss”, Ozzy Osbourne, next year for a farewell world tour that is planned to last two years to make a memorable send-off for the undisputed Prince of Darkness. The BLS bad boys are currently on tour with Corrosion of Conformity and special guests Red Fang and EyeHateGod on select dates. We are intently awaiting the January 27th stop at the House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach, SC and the 28th show in Raleigh, NC at The Ritz… some dates have sold-out so make sure to get your tickets early and these are the only tour stops in the Carolinas. Until then…get your copy of “The Grimmest Hits” on January 19th to hold you over. Keep an eye on ’em at

Review by Rob Grissom for



Jan 19 – Bogart’s | Cincinnati, OH

Jan 20 – Center Stage | Atlanta, GA

Jan 21 – ShipRocked | Port Canaveral, FL

Jan 26 – Jannus Live | St. Petersburg, FL

Jan 27 – House Of Blues | North Myrtle Beach, SC

Jan 28 – The Ritz | Raleigh, NC

Jan 29 – The Fillmore Silver Spring | Silver Spring, MD

Jan 31 – Playstation Theater | New York, NY

Feb 01 – The Palladium | Worcester, MA

Feb 02 – Aura | Portland, ME

Feb 03 – Electric Factory | Philadelphia, PA

Feb 05 – Town Ballroom | Buffalo, NY

Feb 06 – The Goodyear Theater at East End | Akron, OH

Feb 07 – Stage AE | Pittsburgh, PA

Feb 08 – Eagles Ballroom Club Stage | Milwaukee, WI

Feb 09 – Myth Live | Saint Paul, MN

Feb 11 – O’Brians Event Centre | Saskatoon, Canada

Feb 12 – The Ranch Roadhouse | Edmonton, Canada

Feb 14 – Commodore Ballroom | Vancouver, Canada

Feb 16 – Bowes Event Center at Revolution Place | Grande Prairie, Canada

Feb 17 – MacEwan Hall | Calgary, Canada

Feb 19 – Showbox SoDo | Seattle, WA

Feb 20 – Roselande Theater | Portland, OR

Feb 21 – Ace Of Spades | Sacramento, CA

Feb 23 – House of Blues | Las Vegas, NV

Feb 24 – The Marquee | Tempe, AZ

Feb 25 – Sunshine Theater | Albuquerque, NM

Feb 27 – The Fonda Theatre | Los Angeles, CA


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