Black Label Society - European Invasion - Doom Troopin' (DVD)
Eagle Rock Entertainment
Crushing Groove/Doom Metal
Disc 1: 20 songs (148'00") Disc 2: 5 songs (75'00")
Release year: 2006
Black Label Society, Eagle Rock Entertainment
Reviewed by Marty
The sign on the marquee outside the London Astoria Theater where part of this DVD was filmed pretty much sums it up...."Tonight Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society - all drinks £2". For those unaware, alcohol (beer in particular) plays a very significant role in the Black Label Society lifestyle. BLS lead guitarist/vocalist Zakk Wylde (Ozzy) and company took to the road in 2005 to play shows across Europe with each show being labelled a meeting of the local "chapters" of the BLS much in the same way that the Hell's Angels address their various affiliates. Unlike the Hell's Angels, being part of the Black Label Society only requires wearing the colors (black and white) with the BLS logo, lots of biker attire and simply living the lifestyle. If you do that, you're in. Like the "Deadheads" who followed the Grateful Dead years back, Zakk and company also have their legions of followers, or "family" as he calls them who travel with the band and attend all the shows. It seems like his blend of groovy doom metal which is a cross between Black Sabbath, Alice In Chains, White Zombie and Motorhead with a country twang of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Bayou sound of Creedence Clearwater Revival has really struck a chord with the European fans. With this latest DVD release from BLS, we get 16 tracks from the meeting of the Paris "chapter" as well as 4 from the London "meeting".

For the "Paris Chapter" show, aside from his guitar, the row of about 10 full cups of beer on top of his amps seems to be the main focus of Zakk's attention. Right from the start, he's guzzling beer before and after every song. There's even some odd moments where the band is waiting for him while he continues to chug them back. There's no denying his guitar playing abilities but it seems like he couldn't perform without beer and it does get a tad annoying. On to the music....Zakk and company (at this time included current Megadeth bassist James Lomenzo) put on a great show and rip through tracks from their Mafia album (Fire It Up, Suicide Messiah, In This River, Been A Long Time and Spread Your Wings), the Blessed Hellride album (Stoned And Drunk, Stillborn, Suffering Overdrive, Funeral Bell and Destruction Overdrive. Spoke In The Wheel is the only one from Sonic Brew with Demise Of Sanity and Genocide Junkies coming from the 1919 Eternal album. With the Paris show, Zakk pulls put a Dimebag Darrell edition Dean guitar for the touching In This River, a more electrified and extended tribute to his friend Dimebag (guzzling beer and toasting the heavens in the process) and also has a little fun playing the opening chords of Iron Man with just his left hand while guzzling beer with his right. Despite the beer-swilling redneck persona, Zakk shreds like a madman and has staggering technical skill as a guitar player. His acoustic guitar prowess is front and centre for a little solo acoustic guitar jam with him sitting cross-legged on the drum riser. He dabbles with jazz and blues interludes with some insane picking speed them morphs into the intro to Ozzy's Diary Of A Madman and points to the sky in tribute to Randy Rhoads. Ozzy's Mama I'm Comin' Home gets the audience singing along before he wraps it up and we get "electrified" again. As far as stage presence, I'd say he owes more to Ted Nugent than any other performer out there. He has a weird nasally Lane Staley (Alice In Chains) type of voice with lots off effects used in the live performances. I'd almost be willing to wager that he used an old trick of Ozzy's ("boss" as he calls him) to redo some of the vocals in the studio. They really don't have that "live" sound. It's a solid set list but highlights for me would have to be Funeral Bell, In This River, Suicide Messiah, Stillborn and the Acoustic Jam.

The second disc called Backstage Pass is a 50 minute "featurette" that shows backstage footage, tour bus antics, beer, beer and more beer including Zakk showing how they map out their journey by bus based on where the beer stores and whore houses are (without which, any BLS tour could not function according to Zakk!). There's also footage of Zakk weight lifting in preparation for the tour and several conversations that really give insight to this intense and potentially dangerous individual. He says that he doesn't go looking for trouble and hates to see people being bullied but you get the sense that if provoked, he would rip your head off and shit down your throat! Also included are the videos for Suicide Messiah, including behind the scenes footage of the filming process, In This River and Fire It Up. This is a great package and covers most of the best material from Black Label Society and although they are an acquired taste but you can't deny the catchiness to their crushing heavy groove metal sound. This one's really for the fans but the performances are spot on and would also be a great introduction to the Black Label Society especially if you're a fan of Zakk's work with Ozzy and want to see another side of him and the inner workings of his real personality.

Killing Songs :
Funeral Bell, Fire It Up, Stillborn, Suicide Messiah and the Acoustic Jam
Marty quoted no quote
Other albums by Black Label Society that we have reviewed:
Black Label Society - Grimmest Hits reviewed by Goat and quoted 78 / 100
Black Label Society - Catacombs of the Black Vatican reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Black Label Society - Order of the Black reviewed by Jake and quoted 69 / 100
Black Label Society - Skullage (CD/DVD) reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
Black Label Society - Sonic Brew reviewed by Khelek and quoted 92 / 100
To see all 11 reviews click here
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