Black Label Society DVD

‘The European Invasion – Doom Troopin”
(Eagle Rock Entertainment)

Black Label Society are definitely a man’s metal band. Not for them the dark romanticism of bands like HIM or the art-metal musings of Tool; these guys are all about the booze, beards and powerhouse riffs. One of the first things you’ll notice on this DVD is that whenever frontman/guitar hero Zakk Wylde isn’t playing his instrument, it’s usually because he’s drinking a beer.

‘The European Invasion…‘ is essentially a documentary of Zakk and his heavy metal brethren’s tour of Europe in mid-2005 (with bars, liquor stores and brothels marked out on their map), featuring over 3 and a half hours of live footage and various behind-the-scenes clips.

The first disc consists of a full-length show recorded at Paris’ Elysee Montmartre, as well as a handful of tracks from a London Astoria show. Right from the start, this is good ol’ no-nonsense, headbanging fun – a feast of prime-era Sabbath riffs and Pantera-esque grooves, topped off with Zakk’s whiskey-soaked howl and jaw-dropping guitar acrobatics. Sure, it all gets a bit repetitive by track 10, but if your stereo isn’t cranked to floor-shaking volume and your brain isn’t fully disengaged by then, then BLS are probably not for you.

The second disc features promo videos for recent tracks ‘Fire It Up’, ‘Suicide Messiah’ and ‘In This River’ (all replete with suitably dark imagery and plenty of fire/explosions) and various clips of tour and festival footage. Other highlights include a couple of interviews with Zakk,
a short clip of him lifting weights with his young son Hendrix (wahey), and footage of an almighty row between band and stage manager backstage in London.

It’s good to see that Black Label Society have taken the time to make this so much more than just another live DVD, especially given the loyalty on show from their patch-wearing fans. Now toss me a cold one, motherfucker.

Alex Gosman