Zakk Wylde: “Book of Shadows II”


Metal Nexus recently received a pre-release copy of “Book of Shadows II” by Zakk Wylde.  While this album is by no stretch of the imagination, Metal, it is the Zakk Wylde and after listening to it, deserves a high place on our must-have list for 2016, regardless.  Release date is set for April 8, 2016.  With no spoilers, we respectfully submit the following review of this pivotal album:

There have been calls for a sequel to Zakk Wylde’s widely acclaimed “Book of Shadows” since its release in 1996 and subsequent re-release in 1999. Its acoustic-Blues style, soulful vocals and raw, emotional lyrics were commonly described as introspective and offered a thoughtful perspective into the psyche of an already established legend. “Book of Shadows” was also a dramatic departure from his loud, guitar based Hard Rock music, rambunctious stage presence and larger than life persona. This allowed for almost universal appeal. Hard Rock fans wanted to hear what their hero had to say but also remained accessible to those that may never have listened to Wylde before. It was at times sad, somewhat musically playful, and sometimes angry or frustrated. It held the touching passion of a young man’s idealism, sadness and hope.


On “Book of Shadows II”, the acoustic musical style remains, albeit more mature and expressive. The real contrast is in the lyrical and poetic direction. It remains honest and intimate, almost to the point of being voyeuristic but is written from the perspective of the Zakk Wylde of today. The clean and sober, healthy father of four, loving husband and twenty years wiser Zakk Wylde. It is truly heart-wrenching, oftentimes to-tears touching. Gone is the frustration, anger and playfulness found on the first album. “Book of Shadows II” is written by a man that is comfortable in his own skin; resigned to feel the pain and sadness of things he cannot control and wise enough to gain strength from life’s trials, knowing that he has prevailed through it all. With such melancholy and retrospective subject matter, it is remarkable that there is not one ounce of cynicism, spite or blame reflected in Wylde’s masterful and poetic album. As it is written, “Book of Shadows II” could not have been written any earlier, but the result was well worth the wait. It is simply astounding just how good it is.

Make no mistake: This is a powerful and important piece of musical artwork. If Zakk Wylde’s entire career could be juxtaposed with classic works of art, one might choose marvels like Piccasso was to paint or as Twain was to the written word. Complex, deep, poignant and timeless. Using this analogy, “Book of Shadows II” would be the crayon drawing with “I love you!” scrawled across the top of the page given to a proud parent by their innocent, loving child or the intimate love letter sent from a distant Armed Services Member to their spouse: simple, sincere and could not be traded for a million priceless pieces of artwork or first edition books from one of the greats. In these cases, the value of the object is in the selfless emotions they illicit that last a lifetime. “Book of Shadows II” is just that gift to listeners from a very wise Zakk Wylde. Respect…

– Odyssey

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About Odyssey

I have had a life-long love of music, but from the first time I heard Kiss and Black Sabbath with my landlord's son in Nicholasville, KY in the mid 70's, I have been hooked on Hard Rock and Metal. While my tastes in music have done nothing but expand since then, Metal remains closest to my heart. In addition, I have played bass, still play guitar and have literally 1000's of CDs/MP3s, so my knowledge is long steeped and honest. I don't buy the whole splintered, sub-genres thing and choose to like bands and music based solely on individual merits. Obviously, this is always colored by my mood, what I need at any given point and time and what is generally pleasing to my ear. I also don't like to rip any music or band, instead having an open mind and ear for it all because I have a passion for it all. It is completely subjective and in a constant state of flux. Consider me a music "nerd" not a music "snob". As an extension of this love, I hope to share this passion with everyone here and learn from your passion as well! - Odyssey -

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