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Happy Birthday Zakk Wylde!!! The guitar slinging Viking Berzerker turns 51 today! Born Jeffrey Phillip Wielandt on January 14, 1967 in New Jersey, he is of course best known as long-time guitarist for Ozzy and founder of the band Black Label Society. His signature bulls-eye design appears on many of his guitars and is widely recognized. He was the lead guitarist and vocalist in Pride & Glory, who released one self-titled album in 1994 before disbanding. And as a solo artist he has released Book of Shadows and Book of Shadows II. And you can pretty much see Zakk every year on the “Experience Hendrix Tour,” or with Zakk Sabbath his very own Sabbath tribute band/supergroup!

“Trampled Down Below” is the opening track off of Black Label Society’s upcoming tenth studio album titled “Grimmest Hits” that is set to be released on January 19, 2018. It is the first Black Label album since 2014’s Catacombs of the Black Vatican. And no, it is not a compilation album of your favorite BLS songs! Zakk will be the first to tell you, “If it’s Grimmest Hits, you know going there’s a grim chance there’s going to be any hits on this record.” However, I can tell you this, the legendary axeman’s new group effort is loaded with some of Zakk’s best riffs, and there is a whole lot of Black Sabbath inspiration flowing through the newly recorded tracks. Which makes a lot of sense since Zakk has been out on the road these past few years with his very own tribute band Zakk Sabbath. It was bound to bleed through or cross over eventually.

“Grimmest Hits” very much sounds like Zakk’s own personal thank you letter unto his musical idols, Black Sabbath and Ozzy. And that should excite his fans!

“Sleeping Dogs” featuring Corey Taylor of Stone Sour and Slipknot comes off of Zakk Wylde’s second solo album, Book of Shadows II, which came out on April 8, 2016, 20 years after the original Book of Shadows album. And instead of heavy rock and metal, “Shadows II” is influenced by southern rock, country, blues and Americana music. Plenty of acoustic guitar can be heard throughout the album, but Zakk also plugs in from time to time, especially during the solos. The mood of the album is reserved and introspective, though the tempo varies. Whether he’s unplugged or fully electric, Zakk’s guitar skills are never in doubt, and that’s definitely the case on Book of Shadows II. Certainly not a party album, it’s one better enjoyed kicking back, mellowing out and letting the emotions wash over you. (I feel this album went overlooked when it was released) There are 2 versions of the single “Sleeping Dogs” that were released, the first was Zakk solo only and then several months later the version with Corey Taylor was released. Also check out the bluesy “Lost Prayer” song from the album. It almost has an Allman Brothers Band feel to it. It’s really awesome. There was a video released for it as well.

This was the original video released for the “Sleeping Dogs” single.

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