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Black Label Society - O2 Academy Bristol - February 14 2015 (Live Review)

Friday, 20 February 2015 Written by Jon Stickler

With three bands on the bill at Bristol's O2 Academy tonight, it's no surprise to find a queue snaking down Frogmore Street before the doors have even opened. Black Label Society's loyal Bristol chapter are here to heed the call.

The first of two support acts tonight, Pennsylvania's Crobot stoke the fire in fine form. Riding the same road travelled by the likes of Monster Truck, Scorpion Child and Rival Sons, the gutsy rock n rollers make a lot of friends screaming through material from their 2014 debut, 'Something Supernatural'. Meanwhile, adding to the build up, Savannah heavyweights Black Tusk take the title of heaviest band on the bill with their mix of stoner, thrash and sludge metal banging the heads of many awaiting the main event.

With sirens blaring it is time. Firing hard and heavy riffage from the moment the giant BLS curtain drops, the band explode onto the stage and Zakk wastes no time in presiding over the masses, hammering the strings through opener The Beginning... At Last.

Flanked by bassist John DeServio and guitarist Dario Lorina, while backed by the relentless force of drummer Jeff Fabb, the 48-year old pinches through Funeral Bell and Bleed For Me, the swaggering Heart of Darkness and Suicide Messiah before newbies from the latest record, 'Catacombs Of The Black Vatican', My Dying Time and Damn The Flood.

Briefly taking their foot off the gas for an extended Zakk solo, the slight loss of momentum is shaken off when the band return to thunder through Godspeed Hellbound. I'm still not sure why softer songs Angel Of Mercy and In This River are lumped together, however, its pretty special seeing Zakk take to the keys to pay tribute to his late friend "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, passing solo duties to Lorina, who does a damn good job centre stage.

Packing two, TWO, double-necked guitars for The Blessed Hellride, the pace picks up to chug through Concrete Jungle and the brutal Stillborn, raising the horns for the final time. Like the band's motto dictates, strength, determination, merciless, forever indeed.





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