Gig Review : Black Label Society @ Hard Rock Hell II***
The intro tape kicks in, woo, BLS are about to appear. No they're not, there's a second intro tape, ok then, it's building the atmosphere, here they come. Or not, because there is a third intro tape, oh good grief, anyway, here they come to kick to kick some arse. What is this ? It's bloody Monty Python, there's a fourth intro tape, four intros ! Who in the name of all things metal needs four intros ?
Finally then Black Label Society actually appear on stage, and by the large number of Doom Crew back patches being sported in the audience this is the band that most of the Hard Rock Hell crowd have come to see. I'm quite keen on seeing them, their brand of rumbling classic metal appeals to me, I've got about half of their albums, so whilst I'm not a die hard fan I am looking forward to Ozzy's guitarist's riff and fret work.
The first problem is the same one that beset Thin Lizzy last night, the sound level is astonishing, it is beyond loud, so thunderously loud that the sound of the band is distorted. Three or four songs into the set I find I'm not getting the buzz from BLS that I expected, the songs are all sounding very samey, the dirty sound isn't helping but BLS don't seem able to create a very clear rythym, everything just seems a bit muddy.
Two other things stand out in Black Label Society's set, and neither of them are good. What's with all the spitting Zack ? It's bloody disgusting, I'd be highly pissed off if I was down front and got gobbed on when the big singer clears his throat at the start of each song, vile behaviour, just stop it. The other thing is Zack's guitar solo, normally I enjoy a good fret wank, but this was just wank, ten minutes of pointless screeching and yowling with no depth or melody, I've seen hundreds and hundreds of solo's over the years and this was one of the very worst.
I sat up at the back for this set, and the floor in front of me is crowded (actually the scaffold seating area is crowded as well, dangerously so, the security team have not bothered to count how many people are up on the scaffold, it's lucky there was no jumping around up there), and the majority of the audience seem to be enjoying BLS. For me though, I'm sure BLS are a much better band than this, but the poor sound and indistinct playing have made this a rather average set.