By Matt Lewis
Zakk Wylde. The man, the guitar hero, the biker, the virtuoso….what the hell happened? Skullage is a “greatest hits”, starting from his Pride and Glory days all the way to his latest works, including previously unreleased acoustic arrangements of various songs. It starts with the good old days, “Machine Gun Man” from Pride and Glory and “Dead As Yesterday” from Book of Shadows. It progresses in chronological order so it makes the flow of the album a little uneven. I’ve been a fan of Zakk since I started listening to metal. His early work with Ozzy, his solo debut with Book of Shadows and his first two albums under the “BLS” name with Sonic Brew and Stronger Than Death. They were all fantastic records. In his pre-biker days, Zakk always found a way to be different album to album. Pride and Glory was nothing like Book of Shadows, my favorite album by Zakk, even the first 3 “BLS” had a little something different. Since The Blessed Hellride, Zakk has found a formula that he likes and has not really deviated from it, save Hangover Music Vol.6. This is disappointing to say the least and it shows as Skullage progresses. Halfway through till the acoustic tracks it’s all the same: riff, riff, harmonic signature, solo. For a guy who can blaze the guitar and amaze any guitarist he’s lost his ingenuity and pizzazz. Zakk: put down the electric, pick up the acoustic for a couple albums and for the love of god lose the southern style vocals. You were born in New Jersey, not Birmingham, Alabama.
(Amroury Records/Eagle Rock Entertainment)