SixX Strings: Zakk Wylde Opens Up His Soul with ‘Book Of Shadows II’

Hulking and bearded, he commands his place upon the stage of history with a vengeance and vigor so strong that few could ever rival him.  A legion of brotherhood appears to almost lay down in his honor.  Upon your first sight of him, you might envision an axe wielding Viking crashing through a battlefield of a war torn history, but this warrior swings an axe of a different kind.  One with an edge so sharp it cuts you to the quick just hearing its lonesome call.  There is a secret deep down inside this man though, a secret that few ever admittedly expect to see.  This secret is one of soulful shadows and heartfelt introspection.  A softer core lies within the hard exterior of this man.  And that man I speak of is… ZAKK WYLDE.

 

This past Sunday I witnessed a second coming of sorts.  Fitting for this day of rest, Zakk Wylde openly exposed another side of himself 20 years in the making.  Now you see, 2 decades ago this guitarist explored something in him that might have been touched upon within his musical journey with the “Prince of Darkness” Ozzy Osbourne.  The solo album “Book of Shadows” was created and was a step away from Wylde’s heavy metal endeavors.  It was a look under the armor of this bullseye cloaked six stringed warrior and revealed a softer, gentler side.  Well this past April, Wylde opened up his soul once again with the more acoustic “Book of Shadows II” and a supporting North American tour which started last month.

Even though this tour is composed of Zakk Wylde and his fellow Black Label Society band mates, it is not nearly as aggressive as the typical BLS show.  Now, I don’t want to imply that this a “Black Label Lite” sort of thing, but more so an exploration of the roots of a man steeped in Southern Blues, Americana, and the Art of the Ballad.   This is really something that is to be experienced with an open mind.  Don’t go into it expecting to get pummeled with the crushing fervor and brutality you get when Wylde usually plays.  This is one that will wash over you with emotions and a new respect for this man.  Songs such as “Autumn Changes” and “Tears of December” are the perfect examples of how Wylde’s has been of late.  Reminiscent and evolving of a man’s mind looking back, all the while stretching out into what has become a very, very complex soul.  The emotionally loaded “Yesterday’s Tears” seems to show a man dealing with broken memories and the heaviness that has rested on his chest

Hulking and bearded, he commands his place upon the stage of history with a vengeance and vigor so strong that few could ever rival him.  A legion of brotherhood appears to almost lay down in his honor.  Upon your first sight of him, you might envision an axe wielding Viking crashing through a battlefield of a war torn history, but this warrior swings an axe of a different kind.  One with an edge so sharp it cuts you to the quick just hearing its lonesome call.  There is a secret deep down inside this man though, a secret that few ever admittedly expect to see.  This secret is one of soulful shadows and heartfelt introspection.  A softer core lies within the hard exterior of this man.  And that man I speak of is… ZAKK WYLDE.

 

This past Sunday I witnessed a second coming of sorts.  Fitting for this day of rest, Zakk Wylde openly exposed another side of himself 20 years in the making.  Now you see, 2 decades ago this guitarist explored something in him that might have been touched upon within his musical journey with the “Prince of Darkness” Ozzy Osbourne.  The solo album “Book Of Shadows” was created and was a step away from Wylde’s heavy metal endeavors.  It was a look under the armor of this bullseye cloaked six stringed warrior and revealed a softer, gentler side.  Well this past April, Wylde opened up his soul once again with the more acoustic “Book Of Shadows II” and a supporting North American tour which started last month.

Even though this tour is composed of Zakk Wylde and his fellow Black Label Society band mates, it is not nearly as aggressive as the typical BLS show.  Now, I don’t want to imply that this is a “Black Label Lite” sort of thing, but more so an exploration of the roots of a man steeped in Southern Blues, Americana, and the Art of the Ballad.   This is really something that is to be experienced with an open mind.  Don’t go into it expecting to get pummeled with the crushing fervor and brutality you get when Wylde usually plays.  This is one that will wash over you with emotions and a new respect for this man.  Songs such as “Autumn Changes” and “Tears of December” are the perfect examples of how Wylde has been of late.  This second chapter of an album is reminiscent and evolving of a man’s mind looking back, all the while stretching out into what has become a very, very complex soul.  Even the emotionally loaded “Yesterday’s Tears” seems to show a man dealing with broken memories and the heaviness that has rested on his chest throughout the years.

 

Now don’t get me wrong…this album and show is not devoid of what we have grown to associate in Wylde.  The song “Eyes of Burden” features that guitar solo prowess that we have all come to love.  The one thing that those not so familiar with this guitar master might not expect is the piano playing skills of the bearded one.  Wylde’s affection for the keys on the song “The King” shows an intense finesse behind all that brawn.  And for good measure, BLS guitarist and Boston area native Dario Lorina steps up to lay down a masterful display of stringed, and keyed fortitude.  I bet it’s almost reflective for Wylde playing with Lorina; especially when contemplating on his own storied rise to guitar infamy.

 

So what can people take away with them after checking out the “Book Of Shadows II” album or show?  They can see that behind even the toughest of battle scarred exteriors there is an exposed soul… a soul full of pain, love, passion and recovery.

 

Check it,

SixX

For more information on tickets to a show near you or to pick up a copy of “Book of Shadows II” go to: http://www.zakkwylde.com/ 

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