Zakk Wylde has survived an alcohol addiction, blood clots and more impressively, over 20 years as Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist. Black Label Society IS Zakk. It’s the band he put together as his creative outlet during the down times and Catacombs Of The Black Vatican is the tenth studio album he’s released.
The clarity and focus of this record really stands out and it’s safe to say this is the best Zakk and his band has sounded since 2003’s The Blessed Hellride. ‘Beyond the Down’, ‘My Dying Time’ and the opener ‘Fields of Unforgiveness’ are stand outs as future classics while ‘Heart of Darkness’ is the heaviest slab of riff on offer.
Wylde’s guitar playing is exemplary but it’s his vocal that really stands out – especially on ‘Scars’ and ‘Damn the Flood’. It’s more heavy blues than heavy metal but the attitude is the same as ever.