May 26, 2017
Gas Monkey Live!
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Justin Press
Photos by Michael Insuaste
Valhalla Giant Takes On The Legendary Sabbath Catalog And Lives To Tell
Photos Courtesy of Zakk Sabbath Facebook Page
Photo by @annienyhc
Zakk Wylde for all his viking bravado and guitar pyrotechnics is first and foremost a fan. From naming his kids after his guitar heroes to fronting not only his own band with Black Label Society and playing the annual Experience Hendrix tour alongside other six-string maestros, as well as handling the reins on his Book Of Shadows project and its mellower faire. The man lives, breathes and creates music 24/7 and now he's taking on the catalog of his former and (soon to be current) boss Ozzy Osbourne's iconic band Black Sabbath. Zakk has spent years handling tracks like "War Pigs" and "Paranoid" for the old man during his solo act days but to take on not only the meat and potatoes but also some massive deep cuts from the "band that started it all" is a ton of weight to bring upon those broad shoulders. Trying to mimic Tony Iommi, while capturing the mournful vocals of Ozzy while his band comprised of Ozzy Osbourne bassist Blasko and Queens of The Stone Age drummer Joey Castillo try to harness the world's most powerful rhythm section is a massive feat. Thing is, they pulled it off, well.
ZAKK SABBATH "Supernaut" Gas Monkey Live Dallas Texas 2017
Tracks like "Supernaut" and "A National Acrobat" haven't been in a Sabbath set since 1973 so to be able to hear those in some form is an immense treat for anyone who worships at the alter of the Four Brummies. Wylde's voice has a familiar nuance to it that resembles Osbourne if he had a New Jersey accent. The de rigueur "War Pigs" and "Children of The Grave" were full of bombast but quite by the book numbers aside from Zakk's infamous pentatonic notes, while "Wicked World" from the Sabbath self-titled debut was spot on and included a solo that led Wylde into the audience to jam amongst the great unwashed masses as the iPhones were in full flight surrounding him as he played behind his neck and with his teeth, his primal nature rising up and showing its verve.
"Fairies Wear Boots" and its hook-filled groove is perfect for the band's swing tempo and Castillo with is four-piece kit was able to ape Bill Ward's jazz-paced wallop. But it "Lord Of This World" where Zakk Sabbath was precision personified. The original track was this template in drop D tuning and cadence, the molasses that crawls up your spine at 120 decibels. "Into The Void" and its intro included an nice touch adding Soundgarden's "Outshined" to its mix before plodding into the dinosaur bulge that the track so famously is (it closed what many could deem Sabbath's defining album Paranoid be damned). The closing "NIB" is the money maker shaker in Sabbath's cannon with it's gypsy gyro riffs and that familiar "oh yeah" that Ozzy made into his clarion call for 45 years going.
It takes schmaltz to tackle as something as daunting as the Sabbath legacy but if there is one artist who's got not only the juevos but also the pedigree to do it, it's Zakk and his merry band of satanic minstrels. This summer Wylde re-joins Ozzy for a string of dates; let's see if he can get the Prince of Darkness to reach a little deeper into his own catalog.