Written By Braddon S. Williams aka “The Concert Critic”
On this date in history, 10/30/21, Black Label Society, Obituary, and Prong staged an epic Halloween Eve invasion at Bogart’s in Cincinnati, OH.
This was my first time at the venerable rock club and it was definitely a memorable experience. Prong wasted no time in getting the enthusiastic audience involved in their thrash-y groove metal. Lead singer/guitarist Tommy Victor remains a bundle of energy, and his joy for playing live music is contagious after 30 years in the business.
Although their set was relatively short, Prong filled it with fan favorites like Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck and their mix was rock solid, the power trio sounding like a much larger band.
Next up was the mighty Obituary, one of the founding fathers of Death Metal. Prong had warmed up the crowd quite well, but Obituary effortlessly took us to a ravenous threshold with their crushing sound. The bedrock duo of drummer Donald Tardy and bassist Terry Butler delivered this massive bottom end that anchored the monstrous riffs of rhythm guitar mainstay Trevor Peres and the scalding leads of Ken Andrews.
Topping off the death metal ferocity was John Tardy’s distinctive roar. I would have expected a more ominous set of facial expressions befitting the subject matter of their material, but Obituary smiled a lot, too. Their setlist was full of brutality, including Slowly We Rot, A Lesson In Vengeance, Turned Inside Out, Deadly Intentions, Chopped In Half, Straight To Hell, and a cover of Celtic Frost’s Circle Of The Tyrants.
Obituary’s lights and sound were excellent, with suitably Halloween friendly hues of deep greens, purples and reds throughout.
Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society put the icing on the cake with a thrilling display of musical muscle, Wylde’s distinctive earthy vocal style, and a catalog of great songs. It had been a long while since I had last seen BLS, dating back to the Ozzfest days, so I was unaware that Zakk had a guitar player in his band that is on Zakk’s playing level. Dario Lorina traded leads with Zakk in a number of songs (most effectively in a segment where both guitarists played with their instruments behind their heads in a jaw dropping display of guitar gymnastics). Lorina also covered the emotional solos in the tribute to Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul, In This River. Wylde sat at an electric piano and sang the heartfelt lyrics to this highlight portion of the show. Other BLS classics like Bleed For Me, Demise Of Sanity, Fire It Up, The Blessed Hellride, Spoke In The Wheel, Overlord, Suicide Messiah, and Stillborn were played with passion, precision, and power.
I was quite impressed with the bass playing of John DeServio and drumming of Jeff Fabb. Those guys are monster players who sometimes get lost in the shadows of Zakk’s super sized persona, presence, and talent. Make no mistake: Black Label Society is a BAND, and a supremely talented one at that.
I love the diversity in this tour lineup. Each group delivered a distinctive style and it all meshed together into a thrilling evening of larger than life metal music. My wife and I will be back for more at Bogart’s without a doubt.