LIVE REVIEW: Black Label Society, Corrosion of Conformity, & Eyehategod – 1/13/18 @ The Bomb Factory, Dallas, TX

Black Label Society, with special guests Corrosion of Conformity and Eyehategod, brought an excellent tour package to Dallas last night. Kicking off the 2018 metal concert season, these three bands quickly set the bar high for our expectations on those who will follow them this year. The Bomb Factory was packed and those in attendance were eager to let off some steam.

The crowd was still slowly filing into the  Bomb Factory when New Orleans’ Eyehategod took the stage. Unfazed, the band (who is celebrating their 30 year anniversary) was in fine form. Playing a variety of songs across their catalog, they were in lockstep as they plowed through their set. Vocalist Mike IX Williams has overcome some serious health issues in the recent past, but last night he sounded strong and confident. His band, Jimmy Bower (guitar), Gary Mader (bass), and Aaron Hill (drums) were dialed in and flawless. Several songs throughout the set got a huge reception from the crowd, proving that Eyehategod was more than simply a support act, rather they drew a healthy audience of their own. Near the end of their set, the venue had filled up quite nicely, probably 3/4’s full. Eyehategod is a band to be reckoned with. Their thick, sludgy riffs and Williams’ impassioned vocals engaged the crowd, especially those who were not necessarily there to see them. Doubtless, they satisfied their fan base and won over new fans as well.

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Supporting their latest album, released the day before the show, Raleigh, North Carolina’s Corrosion of Conformity hit the stage sounding like a Goliath. Lead by guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan and backed by C.O.C. mainstays Woody Weatherman (guitar), Mike Dean (bass), and Reed Mullin (drums), the band delivered everything they’re known for: huge riffs, pummeling drums, and hook-filled songs that had the crowd singing  along track for track. Playing “The Luddite,” from their new No Cross No Crown album, and a slew of tracks across the Keenan catalog, the veteran band quickly had the crowd eating out of their hand. Nineties classics like “Albatross,” “Vote with a Bullet,” and “Clean My Wounds” got a huge response from the crowd. Keenan chatted with the crowd between songs while the rest of the band not-so-quietly worked through the set like true professionals. Each song was note-for-note perfection, exceeding the recorded versions due to the energy each musician brought to the show. Indeed, C.O.C. was excellent.

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A little after 10:00pm, Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society hit the stage to an uproarious applause. Wylde, who has been stricken with an illness, has been forced to postpone four previous dates on the tour, including the previous nights show in Oklahoma. But, last night they came out swinging. His vocals may not have been as strong as a 100% healthy Zakk Wylde, but he more than made up for it with his guitar playing and showmanship.  Alternating between the stage floor and a 2-foot high pedestal, Wylde showed exactly why he’s a guitar legend worthy of his career with Ozzy Osbourne and a solo artist. Whipping his hair around as he banged his head, the guitarist executed every guitar lick, lead, and solo without error. Likewise, his band was in top form. The crowd was euphoric. They sang along to nearly every song, went ape shit when the opening riffs of a song kicked in, and held their devil horns, fists, or cell phones in the air from the first song to last. Wylde got behind a piano for “In this River,” that also served as a tribute to fallen Dallas guitar legend Dimebag Darrell. Obviously, this struck a chord with the audience, but also showed Wylde’s versatility as a musician and songwriter. Easily the highlight of the set, the song and tribute made the show personal for the Dallas crowd.

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This is a great tour package that left everyone at the Bomb Factory satisfied. If it’s coming to your town, you should definitely be there. If it’s a few hours away, you should make the drive. And if you end up staying home, don’t be annoyed when your friends tell you how much fun they had.

–  J. Kevin Lynch (words); Brently Kirksey (photos)

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