Zakk Sabbath – “Vertigo” LP / CD / DVD artbook (Magnetic Eye Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Zakk Sabbath is Zakk Wylde’s (Black Label Society, Ozzy Osbourne) Black Sabbath cover band formed in 2014, and whose members today include bassist Rob ‘Blasko’ Nicholson (Ozzy, Rob Zombie) and drummer Joey Castillo (Danzig, Queens of the Stone Age). In celebrating Black Sabbath’s debut released 50 years ago, which inspired the guitarist while he was playing school keg parties aged 17 years old, this ground breaking album also offered the trio a challenge in being able to re-work the original material, without losing sight of its original style, while in adding their own creative flair to the 70s music. Named after the label that released that debut, “Vertigo” is based on the 5-track listing of the North American pressing, although the length of the covers vary based on the DIY recording process that took account of live renditions in playing the songs as they would’ve done onstage. Recorded live and with a film crew documenting the sessions, “Vertigo” is also released in limited edition yellow vinyl in keeping to the authenticity of the fan sought experience back in the 70s. While sensibly not taking on the insurmountable challenge of going anywhere near Ozzy Osbourne’s demented vocal style, Wylde still maintains all the gloom and tripped out insanity in his own singing to do the vocals fine justice. However, the music is what really makes the difference here. Benefitting from today’s technology, the songs are shit heavy and kick ass in every note and beat – along with heavy live sound resonating power in every groove! As such, when the creeping gloom of the title track ‘Black Sabbath’ becomes doom, the Zakk Sabbath cover literally explodes with every pistoning beat, yanked bass string and cranked riff stoking tons of reverb in between screaming. Likewise, ‘N.I.B’ crashes in amid feedback with its huge droning riffs and Castillo’s thumping drums, and even during the quieter melancholic passages, you can feel the energy from the amps still humming away! With ‘Blasko”s bee buzzing basslines running riot all over ‘Wicked World’, Castillo’s kick drum is just waaaaaay out there man, as Wylde’s tidal wave riffing just soaks it up in possessing you into headbanging to its doom majesty. Clearly as stoked to play this material in his 50s as he was in his teens, Wylde’s take may not be as musty as the original, but “Vertigo” is a whole lotta supercharged intensity!