Souls Of Sabbath put on a fiercely successful show at Quincy’s Pete’s Bar & Grill last Saturday night. From their opening “War Pigs” to their closing “Paranoid,” this much above average Black Sabbath tribute band conjured the vibe of that kind of music as well as nailing the material note for note, dynamics, colors and tones.
Siren sound effects and a pounding double bass drum ushered in “War Pigs” as the band soon made clear that these four musicians knew what they were doing. Vocalist Doug Aicher displayed a loud, clear, rangy voice, making his sustains plaintive and scary. “N.I.B.” from the first Sabbath album featured more of Aiche’s eerie vocal tone. It also contained the dark, punchy metal groove that Sabbath had pioneered with Rob Smith’s lead guitar coating its edgy thrust over the rhythm section’s chunk.
“Fairies Wear Boot’s found the band handling the tight interplay between Smith’s lead guitar and the rhythm section of drummer Mike Boisclair and bassist Brian Huberdeau during the mountainous build up to the first verse. And again, Aicher’s voice brought it home as he lead the band and the audience through the tune’s lyrical nightmare world of fairies and dark imaginary creatures.
Souls Of Sabbath delivered “Electric Funeral” as the foreboding doom piece it was meant to be. The musicians kept their dread filled energy chugging though Pete’s party atmosphere with the thrusting motions of a tank. Epic doom filled the room, making one wonder if a nuclear apocalypse was about to begin. “Zero The Hero” from the more obscure Born Again album was feisty and punchy before the harmonica lead “The Wizard” from Sabbath’s eponymous debut album became, in this bands’ hands, a swaggering, hard rocking wall of sound.
Taking things down tempo for “Hand Of Doom,” the band showed what they could do with shifting dynamics. The rhythm section moved it along with a determined course until it was time for Aicher’s vocal yorp or Smith’s eruptive guitar phrase. The group went into the Ronnie James Dio period with “Lady Evil,” a number more catchy, hooky than other Sabbath material but no less rocking. Smith kept his traveling phrase loaded and pulsating with energetic flow.
Aicher’s wide vocal expression on “Spiral Architect” felt like an offering from gods on high as his bright, expansive tone made him sound larger than life. Uncannily, the band kept this one moving
along its intended spiraling, galloping pace. “Under The Sun” was handled with a scaling riff soaring up the side a mountain size groove. “Hole In The Sky” let the band show their ensemble power prance, darting forward like a panther through a jungle of sound. Aicher rode the rails of this one with a smooth, eerie, coiled timbre. At any given moment his plaintive vocal could suddenly turn into a force to be reckoned with. The band played “National Acrobat” with a thick elastic groove and chunky, crunchy guitar riffs.
The dramatic tension between lead guitar and rhythm section surfaced most intensely on “Into The Void,” a pushy, forceful groove that could knock things over coated with a sharply focused lead guitar line that could cut diamonds. “After Forever” was played with an enticing trance like groove before “Supernaught” displayed the band’s low end groove and Boisclair’s drum work, soloing on his kit with ample rolls and fills over a stomping beat.
The first song on the first Sabbath album, “Black Sabbath,” was presented with an enormous development of sound; Aicher’s huge vocal presence coupled with blazing, twisty guitar phrasing and a rhythm section which built that tune into a monster. Traveling forward in time to Dio’s second Sabbath outing, “The Mob Rules” came alive with thunderous bass and drums and an arcing vocal line that reminded why it was hit in the first placde. “Sweet Leaf,” off of Master Of Reality, pulled several dancers forward with its infection swagger before “Snowblind” unleashed riffage both furious and disciplined.
A raucous version of “Never Say Die,” the final title track the band recorded with Ozzy Osbourne reminded of what could have been had Osbourne never left the group and formed his own solo act. It was a good rock song, pulsating and blistering. “Iron Man” met the riff standards while the vocal timbre completed the sense of impending doom. The four band members made everyone feel it with their surging, motivational waves of guitar and memorable bass and drums. Souls closed out with a tight, speedy “Paranoid,” the song that mostly likely brought the band to the forefront of the global music scene in 1971.
Souls Of Sabbath are a tribute band to be reckoned with. They’ve got the Sabbath sound down pat, and they kept it entertaining. Everyone at Pete’s Bar & Grill in Quincy were enthralled through all three sets.