Zakk Wylde – Book of Shadows II
Every twenty years or so Zakk Wylde reflects on the crazy merry-go-round that is his life. When he gets into a deep thinking mode, he gets out the acoustic guitar, listens to old Allman Brothers albums and then writes music. Okay, maybe he does not listen to old Allman Brothers albums for inspiration, but that was meant as a compliment. In his mellowness, he solos with the same passion as Duane; this is very noticeable on the album opener “Autumn Changes” from Book of Shadows II.
It’s hard to believe it has been two decades since the first Book of Shadows was released, and somewhere around three decades since he burst onto the heavy metal scene as Ozzy’s newest guitar wizard. Look, Zakk, as we know, can rock like a son of a bitch. With Ozzy as well as with his band Black Label Society, the wild maned rock star has proven he is a true powerhouse of an electric guitar soloist. With Book of Shadows II, Zakk reaches deep and delivers big. The guitar solo on “Darkest Hour” is the most epic he has ever played. His playing on “The Levee” is so deep and dark it will make you cry.
This album is mellow, and at times a little mundane, but it is also very emotional and interesting. His monotone vocals are the perfect foil to his blazing solos. The songs are not just acoustic- this is not Zakk unplugged, though there is plenty of acoustic guitar here. There are many electrified solidbody solos that harken to the best of 1970s era soloing. This is Zakk the muse. He lays his heart on his sleeve. He bares his soul and he opens up to his audience. I am not sure he has ever been better.
This is an amazing album that is sure to resonate with his fans. In fact, I hope he doesn’t wait another twenty years to make Book of Shadows III. Zakk is a survivor as well as a warrior and a rock god. He is also a great musician and songwriter.
The bottom line here: BUY THIS ALBUM.
Tears of December
Lay Me Down
Eyes of Burden
Harbors of Pity
By Jeb “Sleeping Dog” Wright