at Rockefeller, Oslo, Norway, March 3rd 2015

BLACK LABEL SOCIETY (Oslo, Norway, March 3rd 2015)
BLACK LABEL SOCIETY (Oslo, Norway, March 3rd 2015) Photo by Patrick Larsen Holseth

All photos by Patrick Larsen Holseth


Photo by Patrick Larsen Holseth

Support for Black Label Society on this tour is the American Sludge trio from Savannah, Georgia, Black Tusk. They’re actually no lightweight and are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. Late last year they went through a travesty as their bass player Jonathan Athon died due to injuries sustained from a motorcycle accident.

Many have wondered what would happen to the band after Athon’s death. Well, less than five months later they’re on tour with touring bass player/vocalist Corey Barhorst (Niche, ex-Kylesa). They’ve also announced that they finished the recording of the follow-up to 2013’s Tend No Wounds prior to Athon’s death.

Black Tusk have named their genre Swamp Metal and has released five albums and two EPs to date. Their style is muddy, in the vain of Kylesa and Baroness, where all the band members take turns singing/screaming. Picture early Mastodon only with a rawer sound. Songs like “Vulture’s Eye” off last year’s EP with the same name is more up-tempo than many of their previous releases. It didn’t really hit home with the BLS fans. They reached the crowd more with their groovier songs like “Enemy of Reason” (off Tend No Wounds), “Bring Me Darkness” and “Set the Dial to Your Doom” (off 2011’s Set the Dial). These songs were perhaps more suited for the occasion.

What’s great about Black Tusk is the intensity with which they play their music. They have the attitude of Punk in their Sludge Metal. The way Jamie May beats the drums and Andrew Fidler literally screams the lyrics to the songs is proof of that.


BLACK LABEL SOCIETY (Oslo, Norway, March 3rd 2015)
Photo by Patrick Larsen Holseth

Guitar god Zakk Wylde IS Black Label Society. Yes, John DeServio has been playing bass in BLS since 2005 and Nick Catanese played guitar in the band for fourteen years before quitting two years ago. It doesn’t matter. Black Label Society is Zakk Wylde’s show. It all revolves around him… and it’s GREAT!

Zakk handles the fiddle like no one else and the rest of the crew are well over par too. BLS seems to be a tight crew now. The newcomers Jeff Fabb (drums) and Dario Lorina (guitar) that joined last year are smiling on stage and everyone seems to be having a good time. The good vibe definitely rubs off on the crowd.

Photo by Patrick Larsen Holseth

More melodic and more guitar oriented than the support band, BLS took the stage with “The Beginning… At Last” from their 1998 debut album Sonic Brew. This was the evening of the classics so they followed with “Funeral Bell” (off 2003’s The Blessed Hellride) and “Bleed for Me” (off 2002’s 1919Eternal) before launching into one of three songs played that night from last year’s Catacombs of the Black Vatican. Of course, the set also included gem such as “Suicide Messiah” (off 2005’s Mafia) and “Concrete Jungle” (off 2006’s Shot to Hell). Zakk even played piano on “In This River” (off Mafia) and both he and Lorina played double neck guitars on “The Blessed Hellride.”

Midway through the set Zakk was left alone onstage to give the crowd the mandatory guitar solo spot. Zakk Wylde is a unique guitar player and he is very technically skilled. His solospot contained technical playing, pinch harmonics and other sounds with makes him sound like a mix of Dimebag Darrell and Jimi Hendrix. It’s cool but after five minutes you’ve heard all you need to hear. The solo spot lasted for ten minutes and some people in the crowd began murmuring that maybe it was time for the band to enter the stage again.

Photo by Patrick Larsen Holseth

Zakk is good at communicating with the crowd and he makes sure that everyone feels included. He doesn’t speak much onstage but he uses his eyes and all kinds of nonverbal contact to reach the crowd. Just like Slayer BLS is one of the few bands that doesn’t bother with the whole “let’s-go-off-stage-and-come-back-on-and-do-an-encore” routine. When they had finished “Stillborn” (off The Blessed Hellride) the show was over. It’s kind of liberating and definitely an honest to end a great show.

Setlist: The Beginning… At Last / Funeral Bell / Bleed for Me / Heart of Darkness / Suicide Messiah / My Dying Time / Damn the Flood / Guitar Solo / Godspeed Hellbound / Angel of Mercy / In This River / The Blessed Hellride / Concrete Jungle / Stillborn


  • Kristian Singh-Nergård

    Kristian is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He is Metal Express Radio's Marketing and Communications Manager, and on occasions also reviewer and photographer. Based out of Oslo, Norway, Kristian is a bass player and owner of the independent record label Pug-Nose Records. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2006.

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