Zakk Wylde Brings Book of Shadows II to New York City
Whenever Father Zakk Wylde pulls into your town with his electric fiddle o’ doom, you know the sermon he preaches will satisfy your eternal soul. Last night with the New York chapter of the Black Label Society in attendance was no let down. Father Wylde is currently touring solo in support of his latest release Book of Shadows 2. This record, released to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the original book of shadows album, showcases the softer side of the guitar god. Father Zakk is deep, and this album shines a light on his inner thoughts in a way that his other projects, namely as Ozzy Osbourne’s go-to guitarist and his own band Black Label Society, don’t allow him to explore. Now before you go off all half-cocked, thinking the man has gone soft, let me tell you soft is not a word to describe this metal deity. Unless of course your are talking about his jovial manner when dealing with his legion of fans or his hordes of social media followers. The man is just one hell of a nice guy, but his music is just as demonically tasty as your last cup of Death Wish coffee. As much as BOS2 is a respite from the usual ass-kicking, eye-gouging, rip-snorting fare normally released by BLS, it is still intense. The songs delve deep into the mind and heart of the Father. With recurring themes of retrospection, and coming to terms with the past, Zakk digs deep into his soul in order to pour out some of his best work.
In support of his new release Wylde has embarked on a summer-long tour supported by Jared James Nichols and Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown. Tuesday night they rolled into Webster Hall in New York City. The face melting commenced with a blistering set by Nichols and his band. The young man can bring it and is cut from the same cloth as the father himself. My highlight of his set was a scorching cover of Mountain’s classic song “Mississippi Queen”. Next up was Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown. It was another lava-like snort of 100 proof metal goodness. The young band was cocked and loaded for their biggest NYC show to date and they brought the thunder. Bryant truly owned the spotlight and the reception the legion of Metal faithful gave them was outstanding. If it wasn’t for the imminent arrival of Father Wylde, I’m not sure the crowd would have let the band leave the stage so easily.
To say that Zakk is a metal giant would be an understatement, and the stars came out in droves to pay homage. From famed metal photographer Mark “Weissguy” Weiss, who not so coincidently introduced Wylde to family friend Ozzy Osborne known simply as the boss, to legendary Type O Negative and current Danzig drummer Johnny Kelly, the room was alive with metal luminaries.
When the band hit the stage the built up energy exploded across the entire room and beyond. This tour is all about the two BOS records exclusively, and Sold My Soul off the first album opened the night. The hat Zakk wears on the cover of the new album lasted on his head for all of three minutes, but the mountain of a man and his regal lion’s mane must have been a bit warm in the well packed ballroom. After that it was three songs off the new LP. Next it was a steady diet of switching off between the two albums. Highlights were Road Back Home and Between Heaven and Hell off the first record, and Yesterday’s Tears off the new album.
After Two decades the great songs off the first Book Of Souls album get to see the light of day again and rightfully so. They blend seamlessly with the new release to tell a cohesive story. This being the beginning of the tour, I would say to any fan of heavy music “Don’t miss this tour, don’t miss this moment in time”. It’s special to see such an different side of a musical genius.