By now, everybody knows of the illustrious career of heavy metal guitarist Zakk Wylde. Wylde has found his niche since bursting onto the scene with Ozzy Osbourne in the late 1980s. Catacombs Of The Black Vatican is the latest studio album from Wylde’s band, Black Label Society.

This LP has something for every Wylde fan, with a nice mix of ballads and heavy metal tracks. As soon as “Fields Of Unforgiveness” kicks off, you can immediately identify that distinct sound that has been forged over the years, with a mix of backing vocals and heavy guitars. “My Dying Time” keeps things upbeat with a nice combination of clean and distorted guitars. The drums maintain the rhythm during the solo, and fill empty spaces between the verses. “Angel Of Mercy” and “Scars” are two ballads that bring about a change of pace in the middle of the record. “Scars” starts off with acoustic guitars and leads into a bluesy guitar solo that uses the slide technique.

“Believe” and “Damn The Flood” are perfect examples of how Wylde uses driving riffs to create fantastic grooves. Another of Wylde’s trademarks is the use of pinch harmonics. The prime example of how he uses pinch harmonics can be heard in the riff on “Beyond The Down.” “Empty Promises” and “Shades Of Gray” are the final two and longest tracks on the album. The latter song is a ballad that features an incredible solo that is soulful and showcases Wylde’s immense talent.

The deluxe version of this record also includes two bonus tracks, “Dark Side Of The Sun” and “The Nomad.” Catacombs Of The Black Vatican contains even more memorable tracks that add to Wylde’s legacy. As a fan of both Wylde and Black Label Society, this album is just another one to add to my collection.

In A Word: Killer

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