If you haven’t heard Zakk Wylde’s early material, you may be a little surprised early on in this collection. He wasn’t exactly the metal powerhouse he is today. There was a lot of southern rock and country influence on “Losing Your Mind” from the Pride & Glory days. I wasn’t a big fan of Book of Shadows, but they picked probably the best two songs from that record that represent the Zakk of today; “Between Heaven and Hell” represents his softer acoustic side (with some great guitar tones), while “Sold My Soul” crossing the bridge from acoustic to electric mayhem. I would say these are the most commercial songs Wylde has ever done.
I was a bit disappointed that only one song from Sonic Brew was chosen, because that was by far the best BLS album in my opinion, but at least the picked the thunderous and devastating “Bored to Tears”. “Bleed for Me” showcases a monstrous chugga-chugga riff and a vocally melodic Zakk Wylde. “Stillborn” is where Ozzy Osbourne helped out his faithful guitarist out with vocal; although, both men sound pretty much the same. “Crazy or High” revisits Zakk’s early days of acoustic-based rock, but combines it with Zakk’s new found vocal style and always consistent solos. There are two unreleased tracks included in the best of collection; “Doomsday Inc.” is a balls-to-the wall metal thriller, and “SDMF” is just as powerful with a lot of enhancing electronic effects.
“Taz”, “Speedball”, and “Takillya” are really just filler tracks. They do show off Zakk’s guitar skills, but each clock in around a minute or so. Six years and six albums are a little early for a best of, unless you’re calling it quits (which I don’t think he is).
If you’ve been living in a cave in recluse from the rock world and started wondering, `who is this Zakk Wylde guy, and why is he held in such high regard as a guitar player?’; then Kings of Damnation is the perfect introduction to a heavy metal guitar master that’s only just begun to crank out his best. If you’ve always been a fan, you’ll be more than pleased with the new tracks.