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Review: Black Label Society crushes at the Ogden Theatre

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Black Label Society at the Ogden Theater

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The Revolver Golden Gods tour stormed into downtown Denver last Sunday night, packing the Ogden Theater wall-to-wall full of headbanging metalheads to worship at the feet of Zakk Wylde and his Black Label Society.

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The Denver date of the Golden Gods tour did not include Down (see video of Zakk and Phil performing I’m Broken in New York City here), but support from the sexy Butcher Babies and new group Devil You Know drew fans to the floor early in the night. The women of the Butcher Babies bounced around the stage, shrieking and roaring through their unique brand of full-throated female metal while the group thrashed through a half dozen songs and fans on the floor split their time between gawking at the long-legged, top heavy singers and simply rocking out to the thrashy metal music.

Devil You Know, fronted by former Killswitch Engage vocalist Howard Jones, make their debut Denver appearance without fanfare, instead dropping right into pure metalcore full of sizzling guitars and beautifully harmonized choruses. Jones wryly joked with the audience, but it was mostly just the music for him and his impressively talented supergroup, and their 30 minute set definitely created new fans by night’s end.

But it was the almighty Zakk Wylde that had brought most fans to the Ogden in the first place, and it was Zakk himself that brought down the house with an epic headlining set.

Opening with new single My Dying Time, the axemaster quickly drilled through classic BLS burners Destruction Overdrive and Godspeed Hellbound. As usual, Zakk’s beastly stage presence drove the masses on the floor to mosh, headbang, and just lose their minds as he blasted through riffs and shredded through his solos.

New band members Jeff Fabb and Dario Lorina did an excellent job alongside longtime bassist JD in supporting Zakk’s over-the-top playing, but the band quietly melted away for an almost 10-minute solo that threatened to blow out the venue’s entire sound system with its pure tonal audacity.

Zakk has never been afraid to show his mellow side, and In This River and Blessed Hellride allowed his piano and acoustic guitar skills to shine through, but they were practically forgotten when the band finished the night with a three song run that could be felt in every corner. Suicide Messiah, Concrete Jungle and fan favorite Stillborn are all crushers of songs, and every neck in the house was headbanging until the last squeal of feedback.

Black Label Society hasn’t been very visible in recent years, spending time in the studio releasing DVDs like Unblackened as well as recording new album Catacombs Of The Black Vatican, but the band’s ferocity hasn’t mellowed a drop. Zakk and his group are as strong and dazzling as ever, and Sunday night’s bombastic show reminded us all once more that BLS remains the certified honor guard for all that is and will ever be heavy metal.

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