Monday 29 January 2018

Black Label Society - Grimmest Hits (Album Review)

Release date: 18th January 2018. Label: eOne Released. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Grimmest Hits – Tracklisting

01. Trampled Down Below
02. Seasons Of Falter
03. The Betrayal
04. All That Once Shined
05. The Only Words
06. Room Of Nightmares
07. A Love Unreal
08. Disbelief
09. The Day That Heaven Had Gone Away
10. Illusions Of Peace
11. Bury Your Sorrow
12. Nothing Left To Say


Greetings All,

I got turned on to Black Label Society a lot of years ago when a friend of mine played me 1919 Eternal. I was blown away. I knew Zakk Wylde was Ozzy’s guitar player, but didn’t realize he had the extensive solo offerings. From that point I was hooked. I have been a huge BLS fan for years. However, I will admit that I haven’t really dug the last few releases. That all changed with Grimmest Hits. It is a remarkable record that stands up with some of BLS best, 1919 Eternal, Mafia, and Blessed Hellride.

This record is inspired and loaded with the trademark BLS style. The songs are strong and timeless. Killer guitar work (of course) and a newer vocal style that lends itself perfectly to the songs. My only complaint about this record is the title. I saw this release and didn’t give it a second thought thinking it was just a repackaging of older songs. Thank God I did investigate further, this is a most welcome return.

Grimmest Hits opens with a quintessential BLS style track, Trampled Down Below opens with a slick bass intro before exploding with a huge, monster sized riff. Seasons of Falter brings in a righteous, heavy groove that rocks throughout this mid-tempo track that unleashes the first (of many) killer solos. Next up is The Betrayal which is a darker, heavier track highlighted by a killer riff and some heavy cymbal crashes. All That Once Shined brings in some serious swagger and a killer groove and stomp.

The laid back, southern style of The Only Words is reminiscent of the Pride and Glory days with a breezy Lynard Skynard/Allman Brothers feel. A really amazing track. The heaviness returns with a vengeance on Room of Nightmares, one of my favorite tracks on the record. Musically, it is vintage Black Label. The vocal delivery is a little different and welcome as it fits the darker subject matter to a tee. There is some classic Sabbath inspired riffage on the stellar A Love Unreal. With its groove and 70’s style classic rock breakdown, this may be the biggest wink and nod to the kings. Disbelief continues the heaviness with a major stomp and riff.

The Day That Heaven Had Gone Away is a slower ballad with a killer solo. The song gives you a quick breather before hammering in with the heavy, political themed Illusions of Peace which is a monster of a song with some killer drums and guitars. Bury Your Sorrow carries things on with some more super juicy solos. Nothing Left to Say closes the album out with an acoustic guitar/organ filled, southern style rock jam. A fitting closer to an awesome album.

The songs on Grimmest Hits hit all the right notes and if you are familiar with BLS the record is everything you have been looking for. Black Label Society has returned to form. You owe it to yourself to check this one out!

- Todd S

Instagram @alltheghoststhathauntyou

Words by Todd Stealey

Grimmest Hits is available to buy now via eOne Music on CD/DD/Vinyl.