Black Label Society formed officially in 1998 and released their first album Sonic Brew in late October. At first, the record was only received in Japan but later they found an American label in late spring of the following year. They would go on to produce many albums, tour the world and basically generate rock n roll and mayhem wherever they went. Eagle Vision decided to bring concert footage to Blu-Ray from their European Tour in 2005. It is simply called Doom Troopin Live.
In 2005, Black Label Society produced their sixth studio album entitled Mafia. It was a commercial success and sold over a quarter of a million copies. This would be the only record that the band would release under the label, Artemis Records. As per their usual promotion, they toured to sell the album to their die hard fans. This time they traveled to Europe and did a series of concerts. This disc focuses primarily on the Paris Chapter with a few songs from their infamous stop at the Astoria.
The Paris Chapter was performed at the Elysee Monmartre in France. The band lineup was Craig Nunenmacher at drums, James LoMenzo at bass, founding member at rhythm guitar, Nick Catanese. At the helm is the sole reason that Black Label Society even exists, Zakk Wylde who does lead vocals, lead guitars and piano if so needed.
Their set included many favorites from their recent album, Mafia such as Fire it Up, Suicide Messiah, In This River, Spread Your Wings, and Been a Long Time. In This River in particular was dedicated to Dimebag Darrell, long time friend of Zakk’s and former guitarist of Pantera. Other old time favorites were also included such as Demise of Sanity, Genocide Junkies, and Stillborn.
In addition to the Paris Chapter, a piece of the London Chapter is also included for your viewing enjoyment. It has some of the same songs from the Paris set but the four songs included show an increase in the ruckus of the fans. Security is consistently removing audience members for crowd surfing and attempts to find their way up on stage. By the last song, Genocide Junkies, Zakk is furious enough at his amp/speaker setup that he starts throwing them off the stage.
In a rather funny couple of moments, we also see security put back the same speakers back onto the stage. Zakk kicks them down again and then yells at the security to keep them down there. The end of the concert has the band practically destroy parts of the set (except for the actual instruments) and put the speaker into the audience. It is typical Black Label Society mayhem and unapologetic rock and roll.
Basically, every song follows the same format. Zakk turns his back to the crowd, drinks half a beer (there are about a dozen beers lined up behind him), postulates a little, changes the guitar, and then starts wailing on a guitar solo before breaking into the song. Rinse and repeat for the next number. The odd thing is that the songs work and the music is so raw and full of energy that you can’t do anything but bang your head. Then there is always the possibility that Zakk will throw things into the audience. In typical BLS concert fashion, the item usually comes back to the stage.
There are some issues with the concert however but they really don’t involve the music one way or another. Apparently, whoever produced this concert was taught a bunch of video effects from the introductory course on editing. Swirl effects, three pictures at once, fade in, fade out, psychedelic colors and anything they could think of to distract the viewer from the song. This is music that stands on its own and doesn’t need an acid trip to help enjoy the experience. However, a six pack of beer might honestly help.
The video is in 1.78:1 widescreen presentation in 1080i resolution. The video is fairly rough and footage was probably hard to come by. There is a ton of grain and speckle noise and while an occasional shot might come through pretty well, it is far from the norm. As previously explained, some amateur production guy decided to play with the film adding swirls and other elementary camera effects that only distract the experience and not enhance it.
For the audio portion, we get a 5.1 English DTS-HD track (also included are mixes for Dolby Digital 5.1 and LPCM Stereo 2.0). Black Label Society is certainly loud and they really drive it home for the audio portion. Vocals are clear, guitars are on overload and the drums are smashing. It’s not quite as good as some concerts I’ve heard, but there are hardly any complaints worth mentioning. No subtitles are included.
- Backstage Pass 51:04: This is a very deep featurette that explores various aspects of this European tour. They start off with asking Zakk Wylde about his stage antics and why he was pushing over speakers at the Astoria performance. He goes into his hell raising activities and even takes time to train out with his little son, Hendrix. Zakk also talks about the path of the tour and how there must be brothels and liquor stores along the way or else it wouldn’t be worth it. They spend most of the featurette behind the various shows where we are treated to special moments like Zakk taking a piss, Zakk drinking, fellow band members drinking and not remembering what time it is and some actual guitar practice.
- Suicide Messiah Video 3:58: In this video, the band wears metal masks and ride Harleys to an unknown destination. There they get the masks repaired by hot women who use power tools. It’s unapologetic rock and roll, I love it.
- Making of Suicide Messiah Video 5:47: Behind the scenes at the video. It is basically the song with clips of the antics that went on. Nothing really special, unless you are dying to see Zakk Wylde’s bare behind again.
- In This River Video 4:02: This video has Zakk Wylde playing piano (before destroying it with a blunt axe and then setting it on fire). In the background we are treated to a story about two kids who visit this mysterious voodoo island and try to swim back where one of the kids drown. It’s a tribute to Dimebag Darrell and very moving for a heavy metal band.
- Fire It Up Video 4:19: It is BLS TV and Martial Law has been declared. This is basically just an excuse for Black Label to play it loud and proud while fake newslines play in a ticker underneath their performance. There are burning buildings, explosions and newsmen who have skeleton heads.
Black Label Society is still around today making music. Even though some of the members change, Zakk Wylde and Nick Catanese are the foundation and soul of the group. This concert shows us that heavy metal doesn’t need a gimmick, just an electric sound and pulse pounding guitar solos.
The video is acceptable, audio is solid and there are a decent list of extras for you to peruse. The recommendation of this disc solely rests on whether or not you like Zakk Wylde. He is a mountain of a man (and honestly I’m glad I don’t have anything negative to say or else he might come to my house and beat the crap out of me) and one hell of a rocker. Recommended.
Stoned and Drunk
Been a Long Time
In This River
Demise of Sanity
Spread Your Wings
Solo Acoustic Jam
Spoke in the Wheel
Fire It Up
Been a Long time