If Black Label Society’s performance at The Forum on Tuesday night is anything to go by, then the tens of thousands of fans who are due to flock to the Melbourne leg of the 2012 Soundwave Festival later this week are in for one hell of a treat.

From the moment guitar icon Zakk Wylde, complete with extravagant native American headdress, and Co. kicked things off with an electrifying rendition of ‘Crazy Horse’ to the show-ending ‘Stillborn’ that whipped the loyal members of the BLS Melbourne chapter into a frenzy, the Doom Crew delivered in bucketloads.

BLS supplied their legions of metal-thirsty headbanging junkies with a healthy dose of ass-kicking ‘Brewtality’ that made the hour-long set seem to go by quicker than the way Zakk’s fingers race up and down the fretboard during one of his mind-blowing solos.

And speaking of solos, the former Ozzy Osbourne axeman left everyone gobsmacked when he preceded the final three songs of the night with a guitar-shredding exhibition that lasted no less than eight minutes!

But that was just one of many highlights from a ball-tearer of an evening.

After ‘Crazy Horse’, the fellas ripped into the fist-pumping ‘Funeral Bell’ and by the time the third track ‘Overlord’ was done, you could forgive the fans for needing a breather because the collective amount of energy expended by that time would have already been enough to power the Spirit of Tasmania across Bass Strait and back.

However, the mosh pit continued to feed off the band unabated throughout the set and reached its chaotic zenith when ‘Stillborn’ pumped through the speakers to cap off an awesome night.

Songs such as ‘Fire It Up’, ‘Bleed For Me’ and ‘Parade Of The Dead’ also stood out in terms of crowd interaction.

In all, four tracks were played from the band’s last studio release Order Of The Black (2010) with the other six choices coming from four of the five albums that immediately preceded it.

The fact that no songs were chosen to be played from the band’s first two brilliant LP’s Sonic Brew and Stronger Than Death may have caused some consternation amongst the traditionalists in the crowd.

But even the slightest hint of disappointment was undetectable from a supremely satisfied audience who bore witness to BLS producing a phenomenally tight, adrenaline-inducing performance.

It’s sometimes easy to forget that there are three other members of BLS such is the sheer presence and aura of Mr Wylde, but John DeServio (bass), Nick Catanese (rhythm guitar) and newbie Chad Szeliga (drums) all played their parts seamlessly to ensure a faultless, super professional showing.

Their concert was shorter than usual because Hellyeah served as support along with Black Tide.

Hellyeah, led by legendary Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul, were a ball of fun and provided the perfect warm-up for BLS.

The southern metal supergroup took all the components of Pantera, Damageplan, Mudvayne and Knives Out! and compressed them into an attention-grabbing energy-filled 40 minutes.

Hellyeah will also feature at Soundwave on Friday at the Melbourne Showgrounds and are definitely worth checking out.

BLS setlist
Crazy Horse
Funeral Bell
Parade Of The Dead
Bleed For Me
Suicide Messiah
Fire It Up
Zakk Guitar Solo
Godspeed Hellbound
Concrete Jungle

Hellyeah setlist
Matter Of Time
Hell Of A Time
Rotten To The Core
You Wouldn’t Know
Alcohaulin’ Ass
Cowboy Way

— Contributed by Ronny ‘Bomber’ Lerner