When the first Zakk Wylde solo record came out back in 1996 I was barely even alive. Yet I found that record and I fell in love. Sitting here with the long awaited sequel, The Book Of The Shadows II. Though Zakk Wylde hasn't done much to interest me with Black Label Society for years this record has got me listening back again and again. It proves that Mr. Wylde is still an incredibly talented individual and one who has a ton of material to give to the world. This is an album that takes me back and uses dark vibes to create something that can resonate with any fan of dark music.
That's the thing - The Book Of Shadows II is a perfect example of what dark music can be, There are a surprising amount of layers here, especialyl for an album that feels this intimate. Yet The Book Of Shadows II is much more than just Zakk Wylde sitting down with his guitar and singing whatever acoustic numbers he's composed over the last twenty years - this is an achievement, one that shows the depth of Wylde's guitar talent with its folksy ideas, country picking and willingness to dive into places where most metal musicians would never dare to go. In other words - in a world of fading faith, Wylde once more proved his genius.
There is something strangely cathartic about this record. Sure it isn't heavy or evil but somehow it is cleansing. There is a very human sadness here that is oftentimes Simon & Garfunkel-esque. Zakk sounds tired and old - but he also sound great. His gentle organs, powerful, meditative choruses and straightforward chord progressions help to make The Book Of Shadows one of his greatest works to date. He's not trying to impress anyone here - just pull them into his world, and now that I'm in, I never want to get out.
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