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This article was originally published in issue #56
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Of course, Guitar Interactive Magazine will once again be on-site along with the guaranteed legions of fans that won't want to miss a second of an Ozzy with Zakk Wylde performance, and with good reason.
Heralded as one of the most ferocious and intense guitar players to have ever picked up the instrument, Zakk Wylde is showing no signs of resting on his laurels in 2018. After reuniting with Ozzy Osbourne last year, plus a brand new Black Label Society release—'Grimmest Hits'—taking metal fans by storm, Zakk took some time out to chat with Guitar Interactive Magazine editor Jonathan Graham, and gives some interesting insight into the life of the 'Wylde' man of rock and roll.
When Zakk Wylde formed Black Label Society in early 1998, the message was simple: The music was to be hard rocking, unfiltered and uncompromising. Twenty years on (and ten studio albums later), their latest release 'Grimmest Hits' encompasses that no B.S. rock 'n' roll motto in every way...and then some.
Black Label Society's new effort is the highly anticipated follow-up to the Billboard Top 5 charting titles; 'Catacombs of the Black Vatican' (2014) and 'Order of the Black' (2010), and reached #1 on the Billboard Hard Music, #1 Independent, and #2 Rock Charts. It also took the #1 spot on iTunes Top Rock Albums Chart in its first few days of release back in January 2018.
In support of the record, BLS has solidly been on tour with dates spanning North America, as well as European shows to sold-out audiences. The one part invading horde and all other parts travelling carnival party, Black Label Society traverses the world powered by cacophony and caffeine. BLS engages and inspires audiences everywhere they go, on every radio dial they burn, inviting all comers to join in and participate in their brother and sisterhood of hard rock and vigour.
'Grimmest Hits' once again showcases Black Label Society’s ability to deliver fresh and tempting material on a record without deserting the band's proven recipe for success. Their new anthems, such as radio single “Room of Nightmares,” the bluesy “Seasons of Falter,” and (Southern-rock influenced) “The Day That Heaven Had Gone Away” are part of a collection of 12 unstoppable tracks that are guaranteed to satisfy storied-fans’ appetites after nearly four years of waiting for a new album.
Of course, BLS is just one of the many vehicles Zakk Wylde uses for his musical expression. In 2016, Wylde released 'Book of Shadows II' (which debuted at #18 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart), the long awaited follow up from his 1996 solo debut of the same name. He is also constantly on the road with the exceptional Zakk Sabbath, (with Ozzy bassist Blasko and drummer Joey Castillo), and of course, now reunited with Ozzy Osbourne (whom he refers to as “the boss”) after an eight-year break, there thankfully appears to be no signs he'll be slowing down any time soon.
As a lifelong disciple of Black Sabbath and a Randy Rhoades fanatic, Zakk was always destined to be the longest-serving axeman for the Ozzman himself. Tapped to join Ozzy's band (after getting his demo tape into Osbourne's hands) as lead guitarist and co-writer at just 19 years of age, Zakk would go on to co-write the modern Ozzy Osbourne classics “No More Tears,” “Mama I’m Coming Home,” “Road to Nowhere,” and “Miracle Man.” As well as, earning a Grammy for the live recording of “I Don’t Want to Change the World.”
Wylde's live reunion with Ozzy kicked off over the summer of last year with a handful of appearances at the high profile festivals, Chicago Open Air, Louder Than Life and Ozzfest meets Knotfest. This year Zakk will finally return to the UK stage with Ozzy Osbourne at the 2018 edition of the Download festival at Donington Park. The legendary rock icon will close the festival on Sunday night, which marks the end of three days of epic rock between 8-10 June and amazingly will be the Prince of Darkness’ first-ever headlining Download solo set.
Of course, Guitar Interactive Magazine will once again be on-site along with the guaranteed legions of fans that won't want to miss a second of an Ozzy with Zakk Wylde performance, and with good reason. Wylde wields his guitar like a Viking weapon, bashing out thick riffage and squeezing out expressive squeals as if the glory of his Berserker brotherhood depends upon every single note, which of course, it does. Charismatic beast and consummate showman, Zakk puts his massive heart and earnest soul on display with unbridled, unchained, animalistic passion in everything he puts his hands too whether it’s a crushingly heavy blues-rock barnstormer or a piano-driven ode to a fallen brother. Each album is another opportunity to top the one before it, but like AC/DC or The Rolling Stones, he isn’t here to reinvent the wheel. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Zakk Wylde is one brand you can always trust to deliver.
‘Grimmest Hits’ Track List
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