Unquestionably, Zakk Wylde is a very talented musician and a guitarist with tremendous skills, whether he is shredding with his hard distorted guitar, or when he kicks back and lets the melody and feelings come out. We tasted his acoustic and melodic version back in 1996 with the first “Book Of Shadows”. We have then seen him turning acoustic in 2004’s “Hangover Music Vol. VI” and 2013’s “Unblackened” with BLACK LABEL SOCIETY.
And now, 20 years after the first one, he releases “Book Of Shadows II”, and . 14 songs (and a bonus track that features SLIPKNOT’s Corey Taylor as guest) that stand between southern rock, blues, country and americana. The album is once more mainly acoustic and Wylde, away from his rough hard rock and metal style is for one more time magnificent in the guitars, keyboards, piano and vocals. The only electric parts appear in the soloing which although highly technical, is well-adjusted to the care free style of the songs. Alongside him, Joe Vitale on drums and James LoMenzo on bass guitar complete the excellent work.
From one point you could say that the songs don’t differ much from one another and that there isn’t a standout moment. But this is barely a flaw. Personally I think that this is the best thing about them. Despite its long track listing and its duration (which exceeds one hour), “Book Of Shadows II” is a much enjoyable and not at all tiring or boring piece of work, that you will enjoy from the first second to the last. From the uplifting bluesy “Lost Prayer” to the subdued melodies of “Useless Apologies” and the sweet melancholia of “Darkest Hour” and “Sorrowed Regrets”, the album will bring out your sweetest and deepest emotions.
Undoubtedly, we are not dealing with a party album. But other than that, “Book Of Shadows II” is a perfect choice while on a road trip, while relaxing at home having a drink, or on a half-awake Sunday morning.
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