Zakk Wylde – Book of Shadows II
Release Date: April 8, 2016
Label: EOne Music

In 1996, when Zakk Wylde released his Book of Shadows album, I remember being absolutely floored by it.  At this point in time, I had pretty much written off Zakk Wylde because I couldn’t stand his style of playing any more.  Those god awful pinch harmonics just made it impossible for me to listen to but that aside, I was always a fan of his songwriting.  I was already a fan of his Pride and Glory album from 1994 and after hearing Book of Shadows, I really hoped that this might be a new direction for Zakk.  Well, it just wasn’t to be as after this album, he started Black Label Society and continued to make music that I couldn’t connect with.

Over the years, I would find myself always gravitating back to that Book of Shadows album but the older I got, the less it seemed to stand the test of time as a whole.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are some fantastic songs on Book of Shadows such as  “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell”, “Dead as Yesterday”, and “Road Back Home” that are truly timeless but as a whole, the album just had me longing for more of that.  I just knew that Zakk had it inside of him to pull these songs from but would we ever see it?   Well, 20 years later, my wish would be granted with the release of Book of Shadows II.

For those of you that know me, you know that it’s damn near impossible to make me speechless but the lead off track, “Autumn Changes” absolutely took my breath away.  The production, the layers of remarkable instrumentation, and Zakk’s soulful playing and singing just hit me right in the gut.  “Tears of December” left me feeling the same way.  There are a few “sleeper” tracks on this album that just seem to be a bit lifeless but even those songs, lyrically, are so strong that it makes up for the lack of oomph they may have musically.

Under all of that leather, hair, and huge ass beard is a man who feels things very deeply and is bearing his heart and soul with Book of Shadows II.  Book of Shadows II is a great representation of where Zakk Wylde is these days.  Book of Shadows sounds road worn, introspective, and soulful.  You can hear the years in Zakk’s voice and his lyrics and what I hear is a guy who is far more refined and mellow than he really lets on.  While Book of Shadows II was a long time coming and well worth the wait, hopefully we won’t have to wait another 20 years for Book of Shadows III.


About Don de Leaumont

Don (aka. The Brainfart) has been a heavy metal fan since hearing it for the first time in 1983. Don is also repsonsible for all of the typos, shitty grammar, and kick ass content on this site. Don likes cheap beer, whiskey, Coca Cola Icees, going to shows, and hanging with his kick ass wife, two cats and dog. He originally wanted to name his dog Shandi but his wife said, "No fucking way."

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