Black Label Society live in Orlando, Florida, 2019

When it comes to brutality, or more to the point Sonic Brew-tality, there is no one more powerful and brutal than Black Label Society and their guitarist the almighty Zakk Wylde. On October 7th, they brought their onslaught of hard hitting music to the House Of Blues in Orlando, Florida. Joining them on this night all the way from New Zealand was Alien Weaponry.
Black Label Society US Tour 2019 poster
When it comes to hard rock and heavy metal bands, there are all different genres and styles. But Alien Weaponry occupies a category all to themselves. Hailing from New Zealand, this three piece band is comprised of brothers Henry DeJong on drums and Lewis DeJong on vocals and guitar, as well as Ethan Trembath on bass. What makes them so unique is they are all of Maori descent and performs their songs in the Maori language, as well. For those that haven’t had a chance to see them, this high octane thrash metal band is definitely exciting to watch. From chanting in their native language, to head banging, hair flying action, their set never let up for a second.
After Alien Weaponry was done the curtain was drawn on the stage for the change-over. The packed audience was starting to get restless when classic rock songs “Whole Lotta Love” and “War Pigs” were pumped through the house speakers. Everyone knew that in mere seconds one of the great guitarists of all time would hit the stage alongside his amazing band.
As the curtain raised the opening notes of “Genocide Junkies” were playing and bathed in red light was the man himself Zakk Wylde on his riser wearing his kilt. With his Wylde Audio guitar in hand he was set to unleash his sonic fury on all that were in attendance. He swiftly ripped into “Funeral Bell” and was singing into his mike stand covered in skulls with a crucifix at the top. In between verses, he would get back up on his riser, get into his patented power stance and rip into some of the most spine tingling guitar work anyone could ever see. As this year is the twentieth anniversary of his album “Sonic Brew”, nearly a third of his set was dedicated to it including “Peddlers of Death”, “The Rose Petalled Garden”, “The Beginning… at Last”, and “The Spoke in the Wheel”.
Black Label Society doesn’t just have one great musician. Zakk has surrounded himself with uber talented musicians. Each had a chance to shine as well fellow guitarist Dario Lorina performed a wicked solo ala Jimmy Page with a bow. J.D DeServio shined with his bass work on “Heart of Darkness”. Typically, during the show Zakk would slow things down and take a seat behind the piano and dedicate “In This River” to fallen Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell. Tonight, he would do the same, except he would also dedicate it to Darrell’s brother Vinnie Paul, who also passed away this year. With pictures of both brothers adorning each side of the stage, it was a great tribute to the two brothers performed by Zakk.
Now it was time to get things back into high gear, and what better song than “Fire It Up”. As they ripped into the song beach balls were dropped into the audience for everyone. But that wasn’t the only treat to be had. Zakk disappeared off the stage only to reappear on the far side of the venue and make his way down into the middle of the packed floor, all while playing the hell out of his guitar. He even played it behind his head all while surrounded by his fans. As he made his way back out of the floor, everyone was expecting him to go back on stage. But the answer to that would be no. Instead he went up into the balcony and continued his shred-fest all while leaning over the railing. Even more surprising for everyone was Dario Lorina joined him up there and they both continued on with the soloing together. After they were done, they were both all smiles and gave each other a fist bump too!
With all the anticipation built up in the crowd by Black Label Society’s legions of fans, Zakk and company more than delivered the goods. Whether you’ve had the opportunity to see them play many times, or this was your first show you couldn’t help but be in awe of the talent that Zakk Wylde has. If you get the chance to see Black Label Society once, you’ll wind up becoming one of their legions of loyal fans and be part of the local Black Label Society chapter.