"Book Of Shadows" (Spitfire)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Having started my Zakk Wylde's library with Black Label Society's "Sonic Brew" (and, of course, his work with Ozzy), I missed what many claimed was Wylde's very best work, "Book of Shadows." Finally, after Spitfire released the CD with a bonus CD, I decided to take a listen and see if what I had been hearing was true or not.

I'm happy to say that - for the most part - the comments I'd heard about "Book of Shadows" were true indeed. Easily Zakk's most personal work, "Book of Shadows" is a collection of incredibly well-written songs that delve into Zakk's psyche and are swollen with emotion. 

Unlike his work with Black Label Society (which I love as well), "Book of Shadows" is a collection of songs that, while definitely guitar-driven, aren't the thick, almost muddy walls of sound that make up most BSL songs. Instead, this CD contains music that exposes Zakk's heart. It's truly evidence that music can be the window of the soul. 

Lest you think that "Book of Shadows" is a schmaltzy collection of maudlin tunes, I should mention that Zakk's unmatched metal guitar ability is put to good use here. True, the songs are slower than most and, yes, there's a lot of acoustic guitar. But the guitars are in the hands of a master and there's nothing slick or sticky sweet here. With Zakk's trademark blues-tinted vocals, "Book of Shadows" has a bold, solid sound that almost feels like art.

Fans of Wylde's work simply must have "Book of Shadows" on their shelves. It's so completely different from his work with Black Label Society - and so much more personal - that you've got to hear it to believe it.

By the way, for what it's worth, the bonus tracks on the second CD are "Evil Ways," "The Color Green" and "Peddlers of Death." The bonus CD may or may not still be available.

Performing on "Book of Shadows" are: Zakk Wylde - vocals, background vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, harmonica, piano, keyboards, bass guitar on "1,000,000 Miles Away"; Joe Vitale - drums, keyboards, piano on "I Thank You Child"; James LoMenzo - bass guitar.

For more information, check out

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

Back to CD Reviews Page

Back to home

Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 27 May 2024 14:00:22 -0400.