Guitar icon Zakk Wylde will release "Book Of Shadows II" on April 8 via Entertainment One Music (eOne Music). Zakk's first solo release in 20 years is the highly anticipated follow-up to 1996's "Book Of Shadows", a classic album Wylde released between his work with Ozzy Osbourne that has since become a fan favorite. "Book Of Shadows II" was recently named as one of the "Most Anticipated Metal Releases of 2016" via RollingStone.com.
Wylde has been feverishly working on new material since he wrapped up BLACK LABEL SOCIETY's "Unblackened" spring tour last year. All songs on "Book Of Shadows II" were recorded and produced at Wylde's home studio, The Black Vatican, where several of Wylde's recent releases were made. The new effort will be followed by a wave of tour dates, to be announced soon.
Speaking to the Phoenix New Times, Zakk said: "For the 'Book Of Shadows II' record, we ended up having about 40 basic tracks we put down. It's an immersive-type style for BLACK LABEL. You know, acoustic, piano, but electric guitar in there as well."
Released in 1996, and reissued by Spitfire in 1999 with the bonus disc containing "Evil Ways" (the Japanese bonus track from the album's original release), "The Color Green" and "Peddlers of Death" (an acoustic version of a track that appeared on BLACK LABEL SOCIETY's "Sonic Brew"), "Book Of Shadows" showed a different side of Zakk's songwriting output, with Wikipedia describing it as "an introspective and mostly acoustic [effort] recalling many of the lighter moments from his previous project, PRIDE & GLORY, as well as classic folk rock artists such as Neil Young."
In an interview with Rough Edge, Zakk stated about the creation of the original "Book Of Shadows" album: "The thing is that I had all these tunes from [OZZY OSBOURNE's] 'Ozmosis' record, you know. Aside from writing all the fuckin' heavy shit because at the time we were doing 'My Jekyll Doesn't Hide' and the 'Perry Mason' stuff. And then 'Thunder Underground', just like fuckin' pure riff fuckin' music. So, aside from doing that, I always had acoustic around because it's just great for your chops. You know, you sit down and jam on an acoustic when you pick up an fuckin' electric guitar it's like fuckin' lightning."
He continued: "So I'd be jammin' on an acoustic all the time and I'd have all these ... I'd just be dickin' around writing songs all the time. So whether I'm writing riffs all the time or I'm writing regular flat-out songs, I just had all these tunes and I was like, man, it's like fuckin' beer-drinking music at the end of the night, you know? I had all these tunes lying around and that's when Geffen… they asked me to do another album. I tried to get out of it, because I owed them, like, three records when I signed with them, so we did the PRIDE & GLORY thing and then [A&R guru John] Kalodner left and went to Sony and it was just like fuckin'… I didn't know what the fuck was going on. Let's put it this way: They wanted me there about as much the Pope wanted to have lunch with fuckin' Anton LaVey, man. Which was basically not gonna ever fuckin' happen. The whole thing was, like, 'We gotta get outta here, man.' So we did the 'Book Of Shadows' thing."
Zakk added: "I tried to get off the label but it was more cost effective for them to have me go in an do another fuckin' record, so we ended up doing the record and after that, Ozzy called and said, 'Dude, you wanna do this 'Ozmosis' record?' so I was jammin' with... Actually, I got it backwards here. Fuckin' 'Book Of Shadows' was after the 'Ozmosis' record. In between jammin', we'd go back to trackin' the stuff and I'd go back to this bar that was right next to the hotel and I'd be in there until, like, six in the morning drinking with everybody. They'd be, like, 'Dude, go get your fiddle and play us a fuckin' tune.' So I'd be jammin' for 'em — I'd be playing all this new shit for 'em. You know, that's pretty much how that record came about."
Zakk Wylde is no stranger to showing the lighter, introspective side of his music, having previously released two BLACK LABEL SOCIETY albums of stripped down material. "The Song Remains Not The Same" came out in 2011 and included acoustic versions of songs originally released on "Order Of The Black" and 2013's "Unblackened", a live acoustic album that was recorded live at Club Nokia in Los Angeles.
Zakk will also be in full participation in this year's NAMM convention taking place at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California January 21-24. Zakk's newly minted line of guitars known as Wylde Audio will be on full display in Room 210-D and he will be signing from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, January 22.
ZAKK SABBATH, a BLACK SABBATH tribute band featuring Wylde, bassist Rob "Blasko" Nicholson (OZZY OSBOURNE, ROB ZOMBIE) and drummer Joey Castillo (DANZIG, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE) will play at The Grove of Anaheim on Saturday, January 23.