Zakk Wylde

Book Of Shadows

Zakk Wylde - Book Of Shadows ©1996 Geffen
1. Between Heaven And Hell
2. Sold My Soul
3. Road Back Home
4. Way Beyond Empty
5. Throwin' It All Away
6. What You're Look'n For
7. Dead As Yesterday
8. Too Numb To Cry
9. The Things You Do
10. 1,000,000 Miles Away
11. I Thank You Child

Zakk Wylde is best known for playing unremarkable music for Ozzy Osbourne. A very sad label indeed, because the chap is clearly much more talented than he was able to show while in Ozzy's band; in fact, he might very well be the most musically interesting guitar player Ozzy ever worked with, and certainly more so than Randy Rhoads.

Paradoxically, what makes him interesting is not his guitar playing, which is good but rather unimpressive, given the expectations one might have of guitar players in the post-Malmsteen era. He is passable as a singer, and one must give him credit for working on his vocals after his first album Pride and Glory. But what is interesting is the quality and range of his songwriting on this album. The songs are very introspective, often slow and melancholy, and incorporate Wylde's conflicting influences very successfully: country blues, rock, metal and soulful balladery, among others.

Wylde plays a wide range of instruments on the record, and it is apparent both from his involvement and the general mood of the album that this is a very personal record. Notwithstanding very appropriate string arrangements, the production is very 70s-raw, with vintage effects and panning tricks; reverb is used very sparingly, which brings Wylde's vocals to the front; and his guitar is everywhere, with layers of chordal electric and acoustic guitars and electric lines doubled on the acoustic.

Why this excellent album regularly winds up in cheapo bins is beyond me.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 02/2001

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