PHOTOGRAPHY BY: ANNA SKLAVOS
WORDS BY: GIANCARLO CORTEZ
On January 8, 2015 Black Label Society played the last metal show of the legendary Kool Haus in Toronto which closes on end of the month. The band was joined by Hatebreed and Butcher Babies.
Every time someone mentions the Butcher Babies the first thing that comes to people’s minds is the two bombshells Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd.
Both ladies are former Playboy TV and radio personalities, and are known for dressing in a very provocative way. However, Butcher Babies are a quintet completed with Henry Flury (guitar), Jason Klein (bass), and Chrissy Warner (drums). In 2013 they joined up with Rock Star Mayhem Fest Tour, scoring a prime spot where they received gushing reviews and turned on a legion of new Butcher Babies fans.
The singers might not scream or growl with the intensity of the most elite death metal vocalists, but at least they sang with genuine emotion. The California-based band performed as though it was an arena show! The girls wanted to be them and the guys wanted to be with them! The rest of the musicians were tight, those Meshuggah-inspired riffs coming from that 8-string guitar were massive and cohesive but, of course, they were completely ignored by the crowd. Towards the end Heidi came into the pit and started a circlepit.
The band members were kind enough to meet fans after the set at the merch table to sign autographs and take pictures. Anyone who thinks that women do not belong in metal would’ve received a sorely overdue education. We will be seeing and hearing a lot more of these sexy alien murder lords.
Connecticut’s Hatebreed brought pure adrenaline-pumping aggression to the Kool Haus.
We could all learn from Hatebreed, whose venomous assault continues to out-blast most bands half their age. I got to say I admire the way the band interacts with the fans. Even on FB the members will answer almost any question. The Connecticut stompers played a mosh-inducing, pit-erupting show full of chugging riffs, full-on chanting choruses, and consistently strong breakdowns. Old school number “Perseverence” off their second studio release of the same name got stuck in with the ferocity of a machete wielding berserker in the midst of a bloody frenzy.
In his pre-neanderthal phase he got a letter from Black Sabbath’s singer Ozzy Osbourne telling him his services weren’t needed and Guns and Roses singer Axl Rose had also gotten rid of him. This is what started it all for Zakk Wylde’s own band. No, I’m not talking about the trio Pride & Glory which were originally called Lynyrd Skyhead, isn’t that an awesome band name? I’m talking about Black Label Society! Even though the idea was born purely out of desperation this is what started it all! Zakk is not the kind of man who going to be left on the sidelines. He has a tremendous resume; the gigantic guitar player has appeared on almost as many records with the prince of darkness as Black Sabbath’s legendary guitarist Tony Iommi.
Live, the new single “In My Dying Time” sounded bathed in southern rock tradition while ” Concrete Jungle” was full of testosterone and bourbon. “Suicide Messiah” was a spontaneous outburst of riled redneck rabble rousing! The other tracks were no duds either. Furthermore, long time bassist JD DiServio would not stop playing solo after solo in between songs; it made many in the crowd smile big! Zakk’s 20 minute blistering guitar solo got mixed reactions. Even though guitar maniacs enjoyed it, many in the crowd looked bored to tears.
Wylde’s band performed in front of a very chilled crowd but seeing that little kid on his father shoulders giving the metal horns was priceless! He was rocking harder than most!
Zakky and his band got the job done! Not bad for a man that survived blood clots in his lungs, alcohol-related illness and being dismissed from Ozzy Osbourne (Zakk’s passport to fame) all in the same year. Go to a BLS show and tell him you can’t feel the passion! He’ll get no argument there.