Black Label Society performing their Catacombs Of The Black Vatican Tour at Rock City on Wednesday 18th February 2015.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Black Label Society owned Rock City last night as they roared into Nottingham to promote their 10th Studio album, Catacombs Of The Black Vatican. Lead singer and guitarist Zakk Wylde needed no introduction to this packed crowd, because in the two decades since Ozzy Osborne hired him away from his job at a petrol station in New Jersey to become his new guitarist and co-writer, he has established himself as a brilliant individual guitarist. And it was not hard to see why as his guitar playing dominated this set throughout. Now no longer backing Osborne, this gifted musician literally stole this show.

When the curtain dropped it revealed this four piece band with Wylde as its frontman, and as they launched into their first song, Beginning from their album Sonic Brew, the crowd simply went wild. Everyone was pushing forward to try and get as close to the front as possible, and for the first time in many a year, I got covered in lager. With Wylde’s distinctive vocal sound, they didn’t disappoint the fans with favourites, Concrete Jungle, Suicide Messiah, and Bleed. There were tracks of the new album, with Heart Of Darkness and Angel Of Mercy being particular favourites. On new track Damn The Flood, the guitar solo from Wylde was so good that my mouth was open in awe for its entirety.

We may not have seen much of his face, but we didn’t need to see it as he let his guitar playing do the business. Old numbers such as Funeral Bell, In This River and Godspeed were all very well received. But it was the encore number, Stillborn that got the biggest reception of the evening as the fans all heaved forward to show their appreciation for one of the most iconic rock players of all time.