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  BLACK LABEL SOCIETY FIRE IT UP IN MINNESOTA
Black Label Society/Corrosion Of Conformity/Red Fang: The Myth, Maplewood, Minnesota USA

19th February 2018

jeff kunze
Words and Pictures: Jeff Kunze



black label society

Zakk Wylde brought his Black Label Society to the Twin Cities Chapter of rabid fans that had crammed into The Myth in Maplewood, Minnesota. The band are touring their newest release 'Grimmest Hits', and the guitar hero was welcomed with a sold-out show where Corrosion Of Conformity and Red Fang provided support.

Red Fang, from Portland, Oregon, opened the show, throwing a charged up dose of stoner rock that resonated throughout The Myth. Heavy riffs ploughed straight ahead while adding an addicting groove which got people's attention.

black label society

When the lights went down for Corrosion Of Conformity there was an instant roar. The band have just released 'No Cross No Crown' with the reunited singer/guitar player Pepper Keenan. Along with Keenan, the band from Raleigh, North Carolina consisted of Woody Weatherman (Guitar), and Mike Dean (Bass), with Jon Green filling behind the drum kit for the absent Reed Mullin.

The band plays its own brand of sludge rock that's fused with rock, Metal, punk, and stoner genres while also throwing in jam aspects. The set was short, only ten songs with 'The Luddite' being the only song off the new record. 'Albatross' and 'Clean My Wounds' were crowd favourites as they were nailed to perfection.

black label society

Black Label Society launched into action as the curtain dropped. Zakk's presence was felt immediately as that familiar guitar tone and pinch harmonics engulfed everything within earshot.

Besides Zakk, the band consisted of John Deservio (Bass), Dario Lorina (Guitar) & Jeff Fabb (Drums) all up to task in providing a sonic explosion. Kicking into 'Genocide Junkies' and my personal favourite, 'Funeral Bell', and 'Suffering Overdue' set the tempo.

black label society

Perching himself on a two-foot-high platform next to the microphone, Zakk put on a display of riffs and solos. If you were able to catch his face while he played you were lucky, his blond mass of hair twisting and turning with force, burying his face for most of the night.

There was little conversation early on as they blasted through song after song including 'Bleed For Me', 'Heart Of Darkness', and the powerful 'Suicide Messiah'.

black label society

The rhythm section of Fabb and Deservio was perfect. They gave Zakk that platform to do what everybody there wants to see and that's total destruction of the guitar. Lorina kept the sound full by providing that second guitar and a backdrop for the solos.

black label society

Halfway through the show we get our first taste of new material from 'Grimmest Hits. 'Trampled Down Below', 'All That Once Shined', and 'Room Of Nightmares' brought the new record to life. All three songs were well received and Zakk took a moment to introduce the band during 'Room Of Nightmares'.

The show shifted into a mellower vibe with some ballads, 'Bridge To Cross', then the Dimebag tribute, 'In This River', with Zakk on piano. 'The Blessed Hellride', another favourite on mine, and 'A Love Unreal', another new track, closed out this section of the show.

black label society

Amps were turned back to eleven for 'Fire It Up'. Walking through the mass of people trying to get phone pictures, Zakk made his way to the soundboard area and climbed up. After shredding for a few minutes he disappeared from view, having fallen off and landed on the floor. He got up and made his way back to the stage and seemed no worse for wear.

The show closed with 'Concrete Jungle' and the big hit 'Stillborn' which brought the house down. This was a great night of entertainment and a perfect billing of three bands that offer heavy rock at its best.

Red Fang was able to light the fuse, C.O.C. took that fuse to the edge and Black Label Society blew it up. There are only a handful of guitar players that can consume an entire room and make it completely his and Zakk is one of those players.

black label society

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