Kings of Damnation: Era 1998-2004
In a painfully short span of time Zakk Wylde and his Black Label Society amassed a back catalog that takes some bands nearly decades to accomplish, and often with half the quality and consistency. Kings of Damnation is a survey of Black Label Society's greatest moments so far, reaching back to the post-grunge years of 1998 and mixing the sound (largely in debt to Alice in Chains) with his Southern rock influences and your basic heavy metal throwbacks of Sabbath and Zeppelin. It's more than evident that the star attraction here is ferocious and proficient guitar playing, and while Wylde does his best to scream and sing with some of the tops in the field, the magic lies in his virtuosity behind a well-tuned guitar, especially evident in the two acoustic interludes that are spread among the album. Die-hard fans will no doubt already have most of this material, so aside from the new performances there really isn't much here to offer up to loyalists. However, those just getting initiated into the Black Label Society will find this the perfect orientation package to seek out and study.