Black Label Society
Kings of Damnation
Shortly after recording 1995’s Ozzmosis album with Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Zakk Wylde parted ways with his mentor and went out on his own. Seven albums later, including solo endeavours and his frontman duty with both metal-laced Black Label Society and southern-fried Pride & Glory, he's amassed a slew of memorable cuts. Granted, the material doesn't all work hand in hand, and slapping selections from each onto the same compilation is somewhat of an earsore — the Lynyrd Skynyrd-esque “Between Heaven And Hell” doesn’t mesh all that well with “Crazy Or High” (which evokes heavy memories of Alice in Chains), the Ozzy-tinged “Stillborn,” the Chris Cornell-like vocals on “Losing Your Mind,” the periodic jam instrumentals or the influx of prog, stoner and thrash undertones every so often. That said, it would be difficult to accuse Wylde of repeating himself. Another inconsistency is the claim that this particular disc covers his entire career since the mid-’90s, as it completely overlooks BLS’ Mafia and Alcohol Fueled Brewtality. That’s likely because the former was released in early 2005, compromising the schedule of this particular compilation, and the latter is a live recording. In any case, Kings of Damnation is still an excellent introduction to the metal legend's work, or an interesting look back at an impressive arsenal for the diehards. And he’s not even close to done yet. Now working with Osbourne once again while perpetually chipping away on his own, the disc is highlighted by a pair of new, unreleased gems: “Doomsday Inc.” and “SDMF.” Definitely a taste of what's yet to come.