(8/10) Imagine the picture of a cabin at the riverside, you’re sitting there on a rocking chair, watching the sunset with a cold glass of beer in your hand, reflecting on your life. This is what I was thinking while listening to Zakk Wylde’s newest acoustic release “Book of Shadows II”.
Men can‘t show emotions – says who? This album confirms that even tough guys like guitar wizard Wylde can show a lot of emotions, embedded in soulful tunes on the newest longplayer. Maybe you even have to be strong to also reveal your inner soul.
As mentioned in the title, it is Wylde’s second album, showing the master of mighty riffs from a different angle. “Book of Shadows II” is a melancholic and melodic journey that puts a spell on you.
Each of the fourteen songs is a highlight. It is the mixture of Wylde’s gentle guitar sound, the silent booming Hammond in the background, the guitarist’s iconic voice and the warm sound of the album that makes this "Book of Shadows II" to a special one. A tune that reflects all this in perfection is “Sleeping Dogs” that is for me one of the best numbers on the album.
A song that gives you the shivers is the closer called “The King”. The level of sadness this song spread is so intense, emphasized by the clever usage of a Hammond organ and some cello moments. You don’t want to be king after having heard this song.
Of course it’s not only the end of the album that sounds good. Actually I could have picked each of the 14 tracks. The bluesy “Tears of December”, the intense “Darkest Hour” or the rocking “Eyes of Burden”, all good tracks that you should listen to rather than reading about them.
“Book of Shadows II” is the second leg of Wylde’s acoustic journey, a trip that hopefully will continue with a few more stages in the coming years.
Label: Spinefarm Records
Release Date EU: April 8th, 2016
As already reported earlier Zakk Wylde will release a new acosutic album called "Book of Shadows II" which is, the title presages, the successor of "Book of Shadows".
Here comes the tracklist:
1. Autumn Changes
2. Tears of December
3. Lay Me Down
4. Lost Prayer
5. Darkest Hour
6. The Levee
7. Eyes of Burden
8. Forgotten Memory
9. Yesterday's Tears
10. Harbors of Pity
11. Sorrowed Regret
12. Useless Apologies
13. Sleeping Dogs
14. The King
Furthermore the iconic guitarist will be on tour in Europe too and here are the dates:
The good thing in life is, that you're surprised from time to time. That was also the situation when I listened to the newest release of the Black Label Society - the band of guitar maniac Zakk Wylde. It's a live album (also available as DVD) which was recorded in the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles and is called "Unblackened". I actually haven't expected a lot of the album and thought: OK, another live recording. But I was impressed when I heard it for the first time.
The biggest surprise is that Zakk rearranged the songs and the whole show is based on great songs and Zakk's guitar work combined with a lot of acoustic moments. In some moments the songs get even a kind of grunge touch. The opener "The blessed hellride" is one of those songs. "House of doom" and "Road back home" go in the same direction.
Another highlight is the very fragile piano-based version of "Sweet Jesus". It's not that often that a song carries that much emotion. From the intensity I think it is to compare with Guns'n'Roses" "November rain". And this feeling will continue on "In this river". And it's not only Zakk's great guitar play, it's also the great vocal which give the songs a mix between toughness and warmth. If someone will ever tell you that men have less emotions, just give them this record.
Worth listening to is also "Still born". The song starts very slow and acoustic before another great guitar solo starts and lead you to other dimensions. It sounds really different from the original version and it's excellent arranged.
Not to forget the well interpreted cover from Bill Withers "Ain't no sunshine when she's gone".
But actually it's not fair to just mention some songs, since all songs could be listed.
This is a live album which is authentic, different, has a good sound and is worth listening to. Well done.
Label: Armoury Records