Vera : We have a proper rough diamond right here. That’s how we can describe this solo album from Zakk Wylde. Naturally the guitar hero gathered word-wide fame as guitarist of Ozzy Osbourne – he co-wrote million-sellers such as ‘No More Tears’ and ‘Ozzmosis’ – and later he settled down in his own signature outfit Black Label Society. Even with this band he does not shun any acoustic approaches, ‘The Song Remains Not The Same’ (2011) and the live registration ‘Unblackened’ (2013) are perfect examples of that. However, more than twenty years have gone by since his release ‘Book Of Shadows’ as solo artist. Now we can enjoy the sequel of it, logically called ‘Book Of Shadows II’.
It is an ultimate genuine, acoustic album on which Zakk’s heartfelt voice and his guitar are featured. Now and then supported by keyboards and/or secular percussion, he has recorded fourteen new songs in his own Black Vatican Studios. The American musician sounds melancholic and introspective on marvellous songs like ‘Tears Of December’ (think of Neil Young in ‘Helpless’), the southern vibe reigns in ‘Lost Prayer’ with the magnificent one-liner ‘I may be blind, but I found my way’. When he lets his guitar do the talking – and be sure he does in most of the songs – it really gives you goose-bumps. Every gem on this album represents the troubadour in Wylde, contemplative and honest. Also Lynyrd Skynyrd (‘Sleeping Dogs’) and Bruce Springsteen are names that pop up in the back of my head when listening to this amazing, yet quiescent record. In the meantime Zakk keeps on touring, with all star band Generation Axe (with Steve Vai, Tosin Abasi, Yngwie Malmsteen and Nuno Bettencourt) as well as solo artist. We look forward to see him live this summer in this melancholic setting. It is only one aspect of this multilateral artist.