Review: Zakk Wylde- Book of Shadows II

It’s hard to believe that it has been 20 years since legendary guitarist Zakk Wylde unleashed his first solo acoustic project Book of Shadows on the world, ever since Wylde has been hinting towards a follow up. For those of you that loved the first one, the wait is over and Book of Shadows II has finally arrived. For you die hard Black label Society fans you need to understand that this is nothing like what Zakk does with BLS, even albums like Hangover Music Vol. 6, The Song Remains Not the Same or Unblackened only scratch the surface of what Wylde does on the Book of Shadows albums. In fact “In This River” is as close as he’s come on any of the BLS albums to the acoustic splendor and bliss of Book of Shadows II. Cuts like “Forgotten Memory” and “Harbors of Pity” are so far removed from BLS that if it wasn’t for the soulful raspiness of his unique one of a kind vocals, you’d never know it was him at all and even though this is an acoustic album it doesn’t stop Wylde from delivering some of his most incendiary solos to date on tracks such as “Darkest Hour” or “Eyes of Burden.” From the subtle hints of Pearl Jam in “Autumn Changes” to the Allman Brothers Band inspired “Tears of December” or the Lynyrd Skynyrd southern rock charm of “The Levee,” Wylde’s musical influences come shining through on every song. Songs like “Useless Apologies” and “Sleeping Dogs” finds Wylde tapping into the country elements of his Pride & Glory album, while the bluesy hook in the aptly titled “Lost Prayer” sounds like something you’d hear coming out of a southern Baptist church on any given Sunday afternoon. Here’s the bottom line. While Book of Shadows II may not appeal to all the BLS fans, if you grew up on 70’s rock radio like Zakk did, you’re going to fall in love with the very first listen. Rating: 9 out of 10 -Eric Hunker