The first solo album by ex Ozzy Osbourne and current Black Label Society axe man Zakk Wylde, Book Of Shadows, was released in 1996 and is seen by many, including me, as a highlight in Wylde’s successful career. Beautiful songs, impressive delivery and a few surprises along the way too.
So how do you compete with such an achievement? Well, my guess is that Zakk is not one for looking back. I think he felt the time was right to once again focus on his more mellow side (which he does show from time to time in BLS) and deliver a set of songs he thought would make another good album.
And once again the result is an album that houses some of his most melancholic work and heartfelt playing and singing. And yes, for those who love his solos, plenty of that here too. Just no heavy riffing, but instead you get loads of acoustic guitar and keyboards as well as bass and drums. All sung in his typical style. And while one is of course tempted to compare, I always try to look at every album as being the only one and try to find the merit it has. With an image based largely on being a bad ass biker type (which we probably shouldn’t take all too serious anyway), it never ceases to amaze me how he is able to write this type of material. Great ear for detail (just listen closely to the string arrangements here and there, or the piano playing it’s role), and in fact beautiful from start to finish.
Which brings me to my only, if only small, complaint. 17 songs and almost 80 minutes of songs in much the same vein, might be a lot to take in at once. On the other hand, it is a smooth listen, and will keep your girlfriend happy if she is not too much into the heavier stuff 🙂 And only time will tell whether this will hold up against it’s famed predecessor.