Inkcarceration Music & Tattoo Festival 2022

The Inkcarceration Music and Tattoo Festival returned to the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio, on July 15-17 with three days of music played to a sold out crowd.

Spiritbox. 📷: Nathan Zucker

Inkcarceration is a relatively new event. The festival began in 2018, following on the heels of the Ink In The Clink festival that had run for three years prior in a similar theme. When I first attended in 2019, and there was one main stage and a smaller side stage. Last year, the festival partnered with a major festival promoter, Danny Wimmer Presents, and the festival expanded dramatically, attracting 75,000 fans in 2021. In 2022, there were more than fifty bands playing at the event, including headliners KORN, Breaking Benjamin, Evanescence, and Disturbed.

There are many things that make Inkcarceration different from other music festivals. To Begin with the most obvious, the event is held on the grounds of the Ohio State Reformatory, an historic prison that opened in 1896 and was in use until 1990. All attendees of the festival could go on a self-guided tour of the prison for free during the weekend. You don’t get that at Bonnaroo.

Another huge feature of Inkcarceration is right in the name – it is a tattoo festival as well. More than sixty tattoo artists displayed their work and offered tattoo appointments to attendees in halls set up toward the rear of the prison. Even though I focused on the music while I was there, I did see a lot of fresh ink wandering the grounds so clearly the tattoo aspect of the fest is a big draw.

With so many bands playing during the weekend, I cannot talk about them all, so I will mention a few highlights from each day to give a sense of experience.

Papa Roach. 📷: Steve Thrasher

Day 1. The big draws on the first day were Papa Roach and headliner KORN – I have seen both bands many times before and they always put on a great show. Being a metalhead myself I am perpetually on the lookout for the louder acts, so I was also fired up to see Code Orange and DED, and they did not disappoint. The crowd was at first a little confused by Code Orange, I think, but they came around and threw in with the spirit of things by the end of the set. Lacuna Coil gave an emotive performance, and they announced that they were releasing a re-imagined version of their famous album Comalies in the near future for its twentieth anniversary. All of the music was delivered with energy and passion, and the big show really was KORN at the end of the day.

Code Orange. 📷: Steve Thrasher

Day 2. There was a chance of rain as the second day dawned, but it never happened. Clouds provided a nice screen from the summer sun most of the day and the music went off without a hitch. Breaking Benjamin and Evanesence were the biggest name on the slate, and they offered up breath-taking performances. The award for the feistiest set goes to Spiritbox for an amazing show. There is a short drone video of part of Spiritbox’s set and if you haven’t seen it yet, look it up because it is extremely well done. You get to see the perspective of the crowd, and then the perspective of the band, and you also get to hover on stage for a while. Very cool. My favorite set from the day, predictably, was Black Label Society. Zakk and crew played an hour of unforgettable metal spiced with amazing, nearly-impossible guitar playing and a rowdy round of chest beating at the end. It couldn’t have been better.

Black Label Society. 📷: Steve Thrasher
WOR. 📷: Lexie Alley

Day 3. The rain caught up with Inkcarceration on Sunday. The door time got pushed back one hour because of lightning in the area and three bands were cut from the line-up as a result: Fire From The Gods, The Violent, and Darkhorse Saloon. That is unfortunate for those bands and their fans, but overall it is amazing that no other scheduling adjustments had to be made. The crowd was a bit smaller on the third day of the festival, but concertgoers still swarmed in droves to make it all happen. Disturbed, Lamb Of God, and Seether were the top-billed names on the schedule for day three. The slots leading in were loaded with hot tickets, too: Jelly Roll, Black Veil Brides, John 5, Butcher Babies, and 10 Years were must-sees for me. Even in the rain.

Butcher Babies. 📷: Steve Thrasher
Jelly Roll. 📷: Steve Thrasher

Inkcarceration is a festival that is growing every year. The combination of the setting, the tattoo artists, and the compelling line-up makes it one of the best music festivals of the year. If you missed out on the festival in 2022, give this one strong consideration for next year because it is a guaranteed good time.

[This is an excerpt from the article I wrote for Ryze-Up Magazine. A link to that full article appears below (or it will, as soon as it posts).]

Inkcarceration Festival website, https://inkcarceration.com/

Ryze-Up Magazine article,

Inkcarceration Music & Tattoo Festival 2022

Inkcarceration is coming up in a couple weeks — Set times released.

Inkcarceration happens July 15-17 at the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio. Some tickets are still available to see headliners Korn, Breaking Benjamin, and Disturbed, along with a strong second line of Black Label Society, Evanesence, Papa Roach, Seether, Lamb of God, Black Veil Brides, and many more.

Grab Inkcarceration tickets here: https://inkcarceration2022.frontgatetickets.com/

Inkcarceration is coming up in a couple weeks — Set times released.

Black Label Society, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 09, 2021

If you have never seen Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society in the wild then put that on your 2022 list. Loud metal in a rampaging atmosphere, that’s what you’ll get. Who doesn’t want that?

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Website, http://blacklabelsociety.net/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/blsnet

MNRK Heavy, https://mnrkheavy.com/collections/black-label-society

Blue Ridge Rock Festival coverage at Ryze-Up magazinehttps://www.ryze-up.com/music-2/blue-ridge-rock-festival-2021/

Black Label Society, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 09, 2021

Black Label Society, Doom Crew, Inc. (MNRK Heavy, 2021)

The eleventh studio album from metal enterprise Black Label Society shakes all the bolts loose and ravages your brain with some of the best heavy music around.

I first heard Zakk Wylde when he was playing guitar for Ozzy Osbourne in the late 1980s. I couldn’t believe my ears. He was incredible. And he still is today. I have seen him perform many times since over the years, at Clutch’s Earth Rocker festival with Black Label Society to Rock on the Range in Zakk Sabbath to this year’s Blue Ridge Rock Festival heading BLS, and every time his precision and energy are overwhelming.

Black Label Society came together in the late 1990s, releasing their first album, Sonic Brew, at the close of the century. An astonishing number of albums followed: live recordings, compilations, EPs, and ten more long-players, including the latest, Doom Crew, Inc. The driving force behind it all is guitarist and vocalist (and pianist) Zakk Wylde. The work he has done is even more impressive when you realize he also played for Ozzy on and off during this time, released solo albums under his own name, played guitar for Generation Axe, and fronted his Black Sabbath cover band, Zack Sabbath, which released an album in 2020. It is hard to simply document all he has done. Zakk is amazing.

The new album has twelve tracks and runs just over an hour. The first song is “Set You Free,” and it has a determined mid-tempo riff to go along with Wylde’s distinctive vocals and welcome us all back into the fold. “Destroy & Conquer” picks up the pace a notch and keeps all the other elements firmly in place, including the roaring lead breaks. “You Made Me Want To Live” rounds out the first triplet. It is a song soaking with emotion and dark in its ambience, like a white cloak at a funeral.

As we have come to expect, there is variety and depth on this album. “Forever And A Day” is a heavy ballad, told in a way that only Black Label Society does. “End Of Days” is very serious in its lyrics and music. To wit: Blind your eyes / One’s chosen fate / Wander in the desert / You’ll find your end of days. When you watch the video the band made, the song sinks in with a different tint. That happens on Black Label Society music a lot. I hear it differently when I re-listen to it over and over. It is not that I heard it wrong the first time. It is more like I didn’t get it all on the first and second passes.

There are so many great songs on Doom Crew, Inc. “Gospel Of Lies” is delightfully doomy while “Gather All My Sins” is a tooth-rattling headbanger. Around every corner is a new wonder so there is no way to announce a favorite. Hear it all. I think Black Label Society is getting better with each new album. I do truly like each and every one of them, and the newest is at the top of the stack. Highly recommended.

Doom Crew, Inc. is out now through MNRK Heavy in many different forms. If you like the special editions and variants, snap them up while you can.

Band photo by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Website, http://blacklabelsociety.net/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/blsnet

MNRK Heavy, https://mnrkheavy.com/collections/black-label-society

Black Label Society, Doom Crew, Inc. (MNRK Heavy, 2021)

Day 1: Blue Ridge Rock Festival 2021, Danville, Virginia

I am going to post daily photos to tide you over until the full article is ready. Here is the first batch.

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

Black Label Society
Sabaton
Testament
MX The American
Testament
Sabaton
Zakk

© Wayne Edwards.

Day 1: Blue Ridge Rock Festival 2021, Danville, Virginia

Zakk Sabbath, Vertigo review (Magnetic Eye Records 2020)

Zakk Sabbath gives us a welcome reminder of the pivotal album Black Sabbath, and an exploration of its timelessness.

The band is Zakk Wylde, Blasko, and Joey Castillo. I first saw Zakk Sabbath a couple years ago at the Rock on the Range festival in Columbus and I was completely blown away. I’d seen Zakk Wylde with Black Label Society, of course, and with Ozzy Osbourne, but I didn’t know what to expect from what looked like a tribute band from the billing. What I saw and heard was jaw dropping. An absolutely amazing performance. I tried to find some recordings, but at the time there wasn’t much. Now there is some video, and Zack Sabbath has “live bootlegs” up on their Bandcamp page (for free, by the way – there is actually a lot there so go check that out at the link below). No studio recordings, though. So when I heard Vertigo was coming out, I was on board immediately.

Every metal fan knows about that first Black Sabbath album, and most have heard it more than once. Some of us have listened to it so many times we know it by heart. So while listening to Zakk Sabbath commemorate the album, we are going to hear anything that is different from the original. And of course it is different. This is not meant to be a note by note recreation. It is celebration of the music and the seminal nature of the compositions on the album. There are extensions and bending and warbling variations throughout. The tempo matches the original very closely. Wylde’s vocals are extremely well suited for this music, and the musicianship is absolutely impeccable. At the same time, this is not a tribute album like, say, the Nativity In Black releases, so the new recordings do not reimagine the music. The songs included are the ones on the original US release, meaning that “Evil Woman” is not here and instead “Wicked World” is (on the standard CD).

If you are still wondering what this is all about, then grab a couple of those free live downloads from Bandcamp or check out a few videos of Zakk Sabbath on YouTube. It is clear that the band has great admiration and respect for this music. For me, Black Sabbath was one of the first bands I started listening to when I was a teenager and their music had a massive impact on me. It still does – not a week of my life has ever gone by without me listening to Black Sabbath. As a result, I won’t tolerate any fucking around with their music. With all that said, I really like Vertigo. Go get it now. Highest recommendation.

You can pick Vertigo up now from Magnetic Eye Records either at their website or through another retailer but there are no downloads. Physical versions only.

Live photo from the band’s Facebook site by @bilakos_thrash.

Links.

Zakk Sabbath Bandcamp, https://zakksabbath.bandcamp.com/

Zakk Sabbath Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/officialzakksabbath/

Label website, https://en.merhq.spkr.media/

Label Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/MagneticEyeRecords

Zakk Sabbath, Vertigo review (Magnetic Eye Records 2020)