Black Label Society w/COC & Eyehategod in Austin TX, January 2018

Corrosion of Conformity guitarist Woody Weatherman (left), drummer Reed Mullin (back) and frontman Pepper Keenan (right). All images by Nathan Gibbs. Words by Jay H. Gorania.

Black Label Society / Corrosion of Conformity / Eyehategod @ Emo’s in Austin, Texas (Jan. 14, 2018)

These bands have paid their dues for decades, so the packed houses for the Black Label Society/Corrosion of Conformity/Eyehategod tour have been well earned. The show at Emo’s in Austin was no different, but there is no question that the majority of the crowds have attended for the headlining act.


Eyehategod kickstarted the evening with a set that perhaps surprisingly won over a throng that was heavily represented by leather-vested folks who looked like they made a wrong turn from a Sons of Anarchy casting call. On more than a handful of occasions I overheard comments like, “Who the hell is this?” The same people ended up nodding their heads in unison to the New Orleans-based act’s gritty grooves.

Eyehategod’s squealing feedback seemingly harnessed the primal energy within both the band and the herd as though they were tenderizing those in attendance prior to stabbing through the collective psyche with discomforting sounds that are anathema to some, a source of masochistic pleasure to others.

While their fracas is hideous by design, it isn’t pure noise. Beneath the filth and grime, the entrancing Southern blues ’n doom and melodies churn out a twisted kind of beauty. The thick sludge factory didn’t disappoint, but something was missing. Someone was missing, rather. Eyehategod’s wall of sound was slightly but noticeably hollow due to the absence of guitarist Brian Patton, who has missed a couple of tours in recent times. Some kinks need to be worked out, but however they proceed, Eyehategod appears to be in fine form.

Corrosion of Conformity

Crossover kings turned Southern metal gods Corrosion of Conformity followed suit with a heavy focus upon their new album, No Cross No Crown, their first release with frontman Pepper Keenan in over a decade. On record and on stage, they’ve brought the magic back. COC began its set with the opening section of “Bottom Feeder (El Que Come Abajo),” the crushing and catchy doom closer of the monumental 1996 effort Wiseblood. The North Carolina band rolled through its set as if it was a steroid-fueled, metallic version of The Allman Brothers Band, ripe with COC’s signature Sabbath-worshipping swagger, of course.

Black Label Society

Both acts were tough to follow, but the bulk of the biker-looking assembly were awaiting Black Label Society, and the band did indeed tickle the audience’s G-spot. There’s no question that former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist and BLS’ central figure Zakk Wylde can shred, but the entire band’s performance and material didn’t seem exceptionally imaginative.

Beyond the rugged rocker aesthetics, their music is pedestrian. If the hard living maniacs of Eyehategod are a herpes sore on the face of music, BLS is a caked-on layering of make-up. That isn’t to question the extent to which their expression is sincere. It’s just safe. It’s too slick, too polished. BLS is, in a sense, music for Nickelback fans who want to turn things up a notch.

words by Jay H. Gorania | images by Nathan Gibbs

Black Label Society & Corrosion of Conformity remaining North American Tour Dates:

w/ Red Fang (Jan. 26-Feb. 9)

Jan. 26 – St. Petersburg, Fla. @ Jannus Live
Jan. 27 – Myrtle Beach, S.C. @ House of Blues
Jan. 28 – Raleigh, N.C. @ The Ritz
Jan. 29 – Silver Spring, Md. @ The Fillmore Silver Spring
Jan. 31 – New York, N.Y. @ PlayStation Theater
Feb. 01 – Worcester, Mass. @ The Palladium
Feb. 02 – Portland, Maine @ Aura
Feb. 03 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ Electric Factory
Feb. 05 – Buffalo, N.Y. @ Town Ballroom
Feb. 06 – Akron, Ohio @ The Goodyear Theater at East End
Feb. 07 – Pittsburgh, Pa. @ Stage AE
Feb. 08 – Milwaukee, Wis. @ Eagles Ballroom Club Stage
Feb. 09 – St. Paul, Minn. @ Myth Live

w/ Eyehategod (Feb. 11-Feb. 27)

Feb. 11 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan @ O’Brians Event Centre
Feb. 12 – Edmonton, Alberta @ The Ranch Roadhouse
Feb. 14 – Vancouver, British Columbia @ Commodore Ballroom
Feb. 16 – Grande Prairie, Alberta @ Bowes Event Center at Revolution Place
Feb. 17 – Calgary, Alberta @ MacEwan Hall
Feb. 19 – Seattle, Wash. @ Showbox SoDo
Feb. 20 – Portland, Ore. @ Roseland Theater
Feb. 21 – Sacramento, Calif. @ Ace of Spades
Feb. 23 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ House of Blues
Feb. 24 – Tempe, Ariz. @ The Marquee
Feb. 25 – Albuquerque, N.M. @ Sunshine Theater
Feb. 27 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ The Fonda Theatre