Live Review: Black Sabbatha at Molly Malone's in Santa Ana, CA

Material: Black Sabbatha is a tribute/concept musical group based on one of the heavier rock bands of all time; Black Sabbath. The show revolves around the Queen of Darkness, Sabbatha, as she travels from country to country executing her deeds of darkness. As she tells her story, her band mates/henchmen perform Black Sabbath tunes with reverence and excellence. All the great tunes are played, from both the Ozzy and Dio eras. Tunes like “Sweet Leaf” and “Paranoid” take you way back to the band’s dark, drug-infested days, while “Heaven N Hell” was instilling fear and dread wherever they went.

Musicianship: Black Sabbatha is composed of some of LA’s best all-around musicians. Manzo and Brunner comprise the rhythm section and together they hold down the fort for Silcox and O’Neal to work their magic. The rhythm section is one solid wall of Thump and Bass as Silcox sprinkles the finishing touches that make you think you’re listening to the real Black Sabbath. With the band summoning all the evils of the world with their crazy hard-hitting sound, the canvas is left to Sabbatha to paint as she wishes. Still needing to strengthen her voice (no doubt from all the singing she does), O’Neal tries her hardest to keep up with the guys. Some would say she doesn’t need to keep up, thanks to all that sexiness and sultriness emanating from her as she takes you on this wild, wicked journey.

Performance: Black Sabbatha is loaded with energy, imagery, lighting, special effects and sexiness. They incorporate titillating visuals to go along with the great music. Ghosts, goblins and skeletons appear out of nowhere to dance and groove as Marlone happily teases the crowd with more dance and ballet, and tries to coax them to join her. You can definitely feel the vibe and all the hard work that has gone into this production as the music takes hold and you feel it coursing through your veins. Marlone is a great prop and background vocal specialist as she tries to get you to participate in the ghastly rituals.

Summary: This is a not-to-be-missed production if you’re a heavy metal fan; and even more so if you’re into Black Sabbath. Cranking their amps to 11, the band is superb in recreating the Sabbath tunes of yesteryear with a definitively positive and modern feel. Most of these musicians have recordings and music experience under their belts and are known to play loud and hard. You can’t help sing, dance, yell and scream along to “War Pigs,” “Iron Man” and “Black Sabbath.” Super-fun performance filled with seduction, sensuality and hard-hitting rock & roll that will surely please the metal child in you. As of this writing, Sabbatha is still in its developmental stages, but more surprises, shock and revelations are promised.

Web: BlackSabbatha.com

Contact: JimManzo1@iCloud.com

Players: Lisa O’Neal, vocals; Jim Manzo, bass; Bob Brunner, drums; Jimmy Silcox, guitar; Dawn Marlone, backup vocals/visuals/props