If you never get the chance to see Black Label live, (and you damn well should) here is the next best thing, a Black Label live CD. This is the band’s new CD, and thus far, it’s the best new release I’ve heard this year. What you have here is the band captured live at the Kato Club in Berlin on their 2008 Euro Tour. I have seen Black Label a bunch of times over the years, and without any shadow of a doubt, they are the BEST live band in Australia, and have been for many years now. Forget comparisons to AC/DC, the Tatts and the like – Black Label are the genuine article, and as ‘Live In Berlin’ attests, they are on par with any of the planet’s best heavy rock bands, whoever you care to name. What most people don’t realise is that Australia is damn lucky to have a high calibre band like Black Label in its ranks, and they should not be taken for granted. Problem is – they are WAY underappreciated in this country, and their style of gritty, melodic heavy duty rock ‘n’ roll attracts bigger audiences in Europe, no doubt the reason why they toured there in 2008.  As I said, live, they never fail to deliver – so let’s take a listen to ‘Live In Berlin’. First thing you notice is that it’s a loud cut– the guitars are up front, and it’s in your face. No overdubs here folks, this is no bullshit rock ‘n’ roll of the highest order.  There are 12 tunes on the disc, and several of those are off “Blood Money”, the band’s fourth album (one of the most UNDERRATED heavy rock albums to come out of Australia – ever. That album should have justifiably lifted Black Label to the 1st division. Shame on all you promoters and other banal music media minions for letting this album slide from view (See my review of that here). The album opens with the big riffing, anthemic  “Big Talker”, and is followed by the heavy duty boogie of  “Don’t Come Lookin”.  If the Fritz fans didn’t know they were in for a night of real rock n roll – after these two openers, they do now.  The brutal “Brothers In Arms” follows suit, and it is superb. What a tune – loud, proud and fist raising, Steve Mulry screaming his lungs out. The heavy groove of “Addicted” is another goodun, highlighted by the thunderous bass rhythm of Laurie Marlow. The brooding and heavy “Slap In The Face”  sees the momentum maintained, before the super catchy  ‘Fallen Angel’ is unleashed. This is classic heavy rock, gutsy riff and catchy chorus, perfectly showcasing Mulry’s searing vocals. You want more ? Try the epic groove of “Forever More” on for size. Crunching riffs and big vocals – how good is this ? The first seven tunes are ALL from “Blood Money”! As a big fan of Blood Money, that scores two thumbs up from me, and I’m sure Jerry dug it as well, if the cheering and appreciative crowd is any indication. This CD is the perfect ‘live’ accompaniment to “Blood Money” (there’s a good idea for any major labels out there). Next up are a couple of kick ass tunes from the “Seven Deadly Sins” CD, “Fool No More” and the infectious sleaze of “Shake It Baby Shake It”, a catchy ditty that no doubt would have had the girls up and dancing. The Crue would kill to write a tune this good nowadays. A blistering version of “All Or Nothin” ensures that the punters keep on dancing – this has groove with a capital G. With its foot to the floor tempo, “Dirty Little Bitch” (another from “Blood Money”) is an ideal set closer, yet that mantle goes to a blistering cover of The Screaming Jets ‘C’mon’. Phew, what a ride. If you ain’t hip to Black Label – I strongly suggest you climb on board. You won’t be disappointed. ‘Live In Berlin’ is available from the bands web site or check out their Facebook page. 10 out of 10.

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