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Book of Shadows

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  • It took me too long to track down the solo work of Zakk Wylde. I’m a big fan of his work on the Ozzy albums, but I’ve been disappointed by the solo efforts of other guitar gods (Nuno Bettencourt from Extreme, and Paul Gilbert from Mr. Big, for example). Too bad, because Zakk’s solo stuff is better than his “day job” work for Ozzy. And this album is just an excellent piece of work.First, ‘Book of Shadows’ is a real departure from the metal god style of Ozzy, and to a large extent, Wylde’s work with Black Label Society. Book of Shadows is generally acoustic music, and with a stronger southern folk feel. The strange impression one gets is that the style here is an odd mix of Allman Brothers and Black Sabbath. Strange, but it works. Beautifully. The songs on this album are earthy and mellow, but punctuated by just blistering lead guitar work here and there. For example, ‘Peddlers of Death’ has a nice acoustic folk feeling, but the solo bridge has Zakk diving in with a heavy, echo-delay laden solo that just sears. Then, magically, the song blends right back to the acoustic/folk groove.There’s no doubt that Zakk has a knack for catchy melodies and great riffs, but it’s this “sweet-and-sour” combination of styles that really makes this album tasty. Other great tracks on the album are “What You’re Looking For”, and “Road Back Home”.I really like Zakk’s wor with Ozzy, but this album is so good, I advise Zakk to hang up the Ozzy work, and focus on his own solo career. Believe it or not, the Ozzy material is just what Zakk did to build his career. It’s clear from this album that this is what Zakk loves to write and play.This album is one of those rare ones that you can listen to end to end for months at a time. My only criticism of ‘Book of Shadows’ is that Zakk hasn’t followed it up with another album in the same vein. Here’s to hoping.

    Posted on March 6, 2010