Eyeballin': Black Label Society's Skullage

black label soc skullage.jpg
Skulls are very big in the world of Black Label Society. A jawboneless half-skull serves as the L.A. power-metal quartet's logo, and lead singer/guitarist Zakk Wylde's mic stand is a skull-topped length of chain. One can only imagine Wylde, also Ozzy Osbourne's lead guitarist, chose skulls becase his riffing is the definition of "face-melting." He's the sort of fellow who starts a song by yelling "Incoming!" and ends it by announcing "Limp Bizkit can suck our big motherfuckin' fat cocks." It's hard not to love the guy.

The DVD component of Skullage (the CD is the decade-old band's best-of) is split into three parts: live footage of BLS grinding it out in Europe and Detroit, and an acoustic concert in Pennsylvania, dubbed "Slightly Amped," that highlights Wylde's bluesy debt to Southern noodlers like Duane Allman and the Lynyrd Skynyrd boys. There's also five videos that use every metal cliche in the book to hilarious effect. "Stillborn," with guest vocals from Ozzy, looks like it was shot on the same soundstage as any post-1994 Nine Inch Nails video and features Wylde flicking his tongue at the camera like a snake. (Mrs. Wylde must be a very lucky woman.)

It gets better: "Suicide Messiah" toggles between BLS live and a motorcycle procession of Wylde and four guys in pagan gladiator masks. When not playing it, he chops a grand piano to bits during "In This River," which he wrote for his good friend, late Pantera/Damageplan guitarist Dimebag Darrell Abbott. The surprisingly funky "Fire It Up" (check that talk-box intro) is a mock news broadcast of "BLS-TV" featuring skeleton newscasters and tons of flames and explosions, and "New Religion" pivots on a duel between two more masked dudes when Wylde isn't soloing in front of some bitchin' lasers.

The last part is 10-minute documentary "Welcome to the Compound," where Wylde welcomes a camera crew into his L.A.-area home to record him, among other things, working out - he pounds a brew on the treadmill and, at one point, drops a 70- or 80-pound weight on his foot - watching football, driving up to the foothills to talk about Dimebag, shocking the shit out of himself while trying to repair an amp (he's kind of a klutz) and showing off his considerable Les Paul collection.

Oh, and Wylde collects one more thing: dolls. He proudly displays assorted Barbies given to him by the likes of Pink, Slayer's Kerry King, Jay-Z (who gave him the Beyonce Barbie) and Dimebag (this one has a cowboy hat, naturally). He doesn't leave them on the shelf, either. After he showing his collection, Wylde puts on a dress and enjoys a spot of tea with a couple of them in his backyard. Then he pees on a rosebush.

Celebrities: They're just like us!

With Dope, Sevendust and Infinite Staircase, 8 p.m. tonight at Warehouse Live, 813 St. Emanuel, 713-225-5483 or www.warehouselive.com.


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