Black Label Society @ Metropolis, Fremantle

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VAHALLA JAVA ALMIGHTY BLACK LABEL – vocalist Zakk Wylde announces when introducing his unorganised religion that is Black Label Society. Perth was treated with the opening leg of Zakk and his cronies’ national Australian tour.

Metropolis Fremantle quickly filled with the usual collection of faded black band tees, containing a mixed demographic of young and not so young. Local Power Metalers Silent Knight hit the stage to a full venue and got the party started. Despite some technical difficulties, the Perth band belted out tracks from their brand new album Conquer & Command as well as some more well-known tracks. Guitarist Stu McGill engaged with the crowd with excitement and had the room scream for Zakk before taking their proud selfie with punters.

Without much intermission at all, the lights and dimmed, fists were raised and so were iPhones with the record button already on in anticipation. The images of skull and bone filled the stage with banners and logos of the band painted everywhere. Drummer Jeff Fabb launched on stage, quickly followed by Wylde and the rest of the band, and without further ado, the speakers projected the opening riffs of ‘The Beginning at Last’.

Wydle’s lifted his spiked and patterned orange guitar above his head with enormous enthusiasm as the crowd went wild. Though Black Label Society juiced up the audience with tracks like ‘Bleed for Me’ and ‘Suicide Messiah’, it was incredible how well the newer tracks were received from ‘Catacombs of the Black Vatican’. The ex-Ozzy Osbourne guitarist quietly commenced ‘My Dying Time’ and within seconds, screams were echoing through the Fremantle nightclub.

It became hard not to smile when watching the guitar god’s lion maine fling back and forth as he immersed himself in his very own magical riffs; and with such ease, like gifted muscle memory. Wylde threw his guitar with such control and caressed each chord so respectfully and knowingly.

Mid-set Wylde put down the guitar and introduced his talented band in his signature New Jersian accent. Anyone that follows the legendary musician on social media would appreciate his hilarious sense of humour and easy going demeanour. Wylde described each band member as if announcing the specifications of WWE stars in the ring. The crowd embraced the laid back attitude which enhanced the family atmosphere, clearly what Wylde had intended.

After playing crowd favourite ‘Angel of Mercy’ from the new record, Wylde mixed things up and got onto the keyboard to play ‘In This River’, as he did at the Revolver Golden God Awards in 2014 to commemorate the fallen metal heroes. He kissed his fingers and acknowledged the almighty heavens before dedicating the jam to Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell.

The thick culture of camaraderie was reflected by the band’s lack of interest in going off-stage just to return for a rehearsed encore. Closing with ‘Stillborn’ from ‘The Blessed Hellride’, Black Label Society showed their immense musicianship one last time to the ‘WA Chapter’ of their family.