Zakk Wylde: Book Of Shadows II

Black Label bruiser explores his sensitive side again.

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

As much as the worlds of rock and metal are broadly in agreement that Zakk Wylde is a good thing, there have often been rumblings about his odd decision, around the time of Black Label Society’s classic album The Blessed Hellride, to start singing like an ultra-nasal, underwater Ozzy.

As a result, the first thing that Book Of Shadows II demonstrates is that he’s remembered how to croon properly again, and it’s a wonderful, soulful thing to behold.

The breezy, predominantly acoustic backdrop certainly helps: in essence, these are melancholy campfire songs dealing with life, love and loss, and their execution could hardly be more elegant or tasteful.

Black Label diehards may bemoan the lack of turbo-driven crunch and endless widdling, but there’s something far more believable and emotionally affecting about folksy hymns like Autumn Changes and Darkest Hour. He’s back, he’s all grown up and he’s never sounded better.

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.