by Martin Popoff

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Fresh Metal

Black Label Society - Boozed Broozed & Broken-Boned
(Spitfire/Eagle Vision)

Rough and tumble as the man and ramshackle band itself, this set is drunken chaos personified. The anchor of the thing is a sweltering live gig in Detroit, for no other reason than they were there, band and fan forming a chapter of oneness. The sound is as good as the studio albums, the band, grimy and profane, belting out riff rockers to the strains of Zakk's drawling voice. Elsewhere, there's some Japanese footage, an acoustic set, plus an interview where Zakk behaves himself and plays it straight. Then again, there's another interview where Zakk is dressed as a ghost, replete with ooh-ooh's, beers, beard and choice comic timing. Eccentric goodies includes a home vid of a young, clean-shaven Zakk playing an acoustic song with his three year old daughter belting out the lyrics (she's 11 now), plus a wicked batch of guitar lessons, Zakk shredding full speed and then breaking it down for elucidation. As efficient use of DVD technology and gimmickry, this is worse than average, but as a Zakk attack, the set, with acceptable width and girth, satisfies. And congrats to the icon at hand, 'cos it's selling briskly, as is the current album, now at well over 100,000 copies and still moving.
Rating 7.5

Eidolon - Apostles Of Defiance
(Metal Blade)

Long now Canada's premiere power metal band, Eidolon have flourished as they've chewed through three singers. But current belter Pat Mulock (this is album two for him) is a perfect fit for the band's timeless, leaden, serious, sinister attack of the traditional convention. The man's voice is a powerhouse, Mulock swooping towards his highs in Ripper-like fashion. The band's sound is an oddly grey and stoic one, a sort of technician's dream subjugated to, and made to live symbiotically with, songs that are all business, and often fast, courtesy the hopelessly (and thankfully) underground metal mindspace of guitarist Glen Drover . An emotionally harrowing addition is occasional black metal voicing added by drummer Shawn Drover and Voldamares Gollum, from Eclipse Eternal, turning the album elusively extreme while still meticulous and precisely preening. I've said it before, but really, only Nevermore straddles these worlds successfully, and incredibly, the bands share only this similarity, with really no crossover in sound to be found.
Rating 8

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