Black Label Society, Corrosion Of Conformity and more at The Diamond Ballroom (2018)
The Diamond Ballroom (Oklahoma City, OK, USA)
Black Label Society, Corrosion Of Conformity, Eyehategod
July 23, 2018
Third time was the charm for the Doom Crew. OKC finally got a show after two previous postponements, the most recent just two days prior, due to mechanical issues with the BLS bus. With the rescheduled date on a Monday, rather than the previously scheduled Saturday, there was definitely some lost opportunity in attendance, as well as a multitude of disappointed fans. Yet, the potent three band lineup definitely did their best to make it up to the exuberant crowd on hand.
Nearly immediately following C.O.C.'s departure, a BLACK LABEL SOCIETY banner was raised in front of the stage as the dedicated and skilled road crew prepped the stage for Zakk Wylde and band. Taking the stage at 9:55pm amidst plumes of CO2 smoke and swirling lights featuring Wylde's signature bull's-eye guitar graphics , BLS immediately rocketed into "Genocide Junkies", followed by the sonic assault of "Funeral Bell" and "Suffering".
Adorned in a kilt, with hair and beard whipping about, Wylde is an imposing presence. Whether at his skull adorned chain microphone stand, or taking the raised platform to wail away solos on his signature guitars, Wylde knows what his fans want, and he delivers. Supporting their newest release, "Grimmest Hits" on Entertainment One Music, BLS delivered three songs from that album consecutively, pretty much in the middle of the set. "Trampled Down Below", "All That Once Shined" and "Room O' Nightmares" all fit in well in a set otherwise supported by fan favorites such as "Bridge To Cross" and "The Blessed Hellride".
A definite highlight for me and likely everyone else, was "In This River", which was originally penned for Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott following his untimely death. With the recent loss of Vinnie Paul Abbott as well, the song takes on extra significance now. With a large banner depicting portrait photos of Dime and Vinnie Paul, dropping of the left and right amp stacks, it was quite an emotional moment. The set rarely let up it's break-neck pace, and in fact seemed to only intensify as it hit the final stretch. "Concrete Jungle" saw the BLS crew feeding beach balls into the rabid crowd, while "Fire It Up" featured Zakk dropping onto the audience floor for his fan favorite extended solo while walking through the crowd, much of which while he played behind his head. Closing out the night and their nearly two hour set was an intense "Stillborn". As the last chords were struck, large plumes of CO2 blasted into the air, and just as they began, they ended the evening. Tossing picks and drum sticks out to the adoring crowd, the band took their final bows paid their respects and appreciation, and bid Oklahoma City a likely exhausted goodnight.
In the middle spot was COROSSION OF CONFORMITY, as bassist Mike Dean and drummer Reed Mullin ushered the band into "Bottom Feeder" as guitarist Woody Weatherman and vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan settled in. Weatherman is about as steady a guitarist as the metal genre knows. One with an inate understanding of the specific notes to play, and the ones to specifically leave out. Soaring solos, and heavy riffs all while making it look easy, as well as smiling and interacting with the crowd.
Keenan is the quintessential metal frontman, with an ample swagger, rugged good looks, a proper knowledge of appropriate power chords and vocals perfect for their signature brand of Metal. All while Dean and Mullin hold down the thunderous bottom end pace. Also limited to a mere 40 minutes for their portion of the night, C.O.C. made the best of it, with a set highlighted with "Luddite" and "Wolf Named Crow", two songs from their current Nuclear Blast album, "No Cross, No Crown". Their exceptional set winded down with a powerful one/two punch of "Albatross" "Clean My Wounds". Rarely a band to disappoint, C.O.C. did not, and they were the perfect warm-up for a crowd decidedly anticipating the Doom Crew.
Hitting he stage promptly at 7:30pm was EYEHATEGOD, they immediately launched into "Lack of Almost Everything" as front man Mike Williams swung back and forth upon the mike stand. Propelled by the guitar riffs of Jimmy Bowers and Williams' tortured scream vocals, EHG plowed through "Jack Ass in the Will of God", "Sisterfucker" and more over their 40 minute set. It was quite an enjoyable set, and with Williams presumably still somewhat on the mend from a 2016 liver transplant, it was even moreso impressive. Distinctive New Orleans Sludge pure and simple, and exceptionally well done. Williams and Bower both seemed to really enjoy themselves, and the energy from the crowd and it showed.