Sound — 9
Th is a "best-of" Black Label Society as chosen by the fans. I'm not a huge Black Label Society fan though I have listened to my share of their music so I thought that this would be a good starting point for me. Although I was at first disappointed after noticing that the first two tracks were significantly softer then I had expected, I found out that I was too quick to judge. The album starts off slow with some more acoustic tracks and then rockets the adrenaline pulse to the moon with savage riffs that are reminiscent of the evil Black Sabbath tone yet much faster. The softer tracks as well are classics and perhaps the more memorable ones. When I think "Black Label Society" I think Zakk Wylde who is one of the best guitarists in the biz right now. If you listen to music for awe inspiring guitar parts, then you won't be disappointed. I'd like to say again that this is a Best of so you'll only get the best. This is the band that's keeping metal tied to it's roots. There's no cookie monster vocals or mindless shredding. Everything is done to create some kind of greater harmony. The main style of music is heavy metal, although as I was listening I found some tracks that even my parents could enjoy. It's sad, it's angry, and it's sorrowful, but it's NOT sappy. For the acoustic lovers out there, the last few tracks are acoustic versions of some songs. There's also a country/southern rock shredder style intro which blew me away.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics aren't the best I've ever heard but they certainly aren't the worst. The songwriting is pretty good compared to a lot of metal out there today. Each song brings a new tone to the table and in tern the lyrics style changes. Zakk Wylde is the singer as well as the guitarist. He has a VERY unique voice that can be heavy as hell itself, or sweet as can be. It's not always easy to understand what he's saying but it's pretty damn good. Although the skill and talent is there for some reason it just doesn't feel as good as it could be. Maybe that's because the lyrics seem to be a small diversion from the fanominal guitar playing but it DOES feel different.
Overall Impression — 10
As I've said before, I'm not a huge BLS fan, so the only album I can compare this to is "Shot to Hell". The two stack up pretty well against each other but I'd give "Skullage" the edge because of a wider range and it's just plain more enjoyable. My favourite songs on the album are "Machine Gun Man" and "New Religion". They seem to stand out to me more but by no means are they any better then the rest of the album. The only thing that I don't like about this album is the fact that of the three acoustic versions of songs on the album, only one original version of those three is on this album. It's a small complaint and didn't really affect my listening experience but it still would have been nice. If God or Satan or Buddha or whoever the f**k else decided to take this album away from me along with every other version on Earth, I'd fight to the death (or at least semi-near death) to get it back. This is one of the top albums I've ever heard. Period.