Tonight we are stealing and selling souls with Badlands and Zakk Wylde in BLOW IT OUT YOUR OZ!
Voodoo Highway, released in June of ’91 is the second album by Badlands, a band founded by former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E. Lee and former Black Sabbath members Ray Gillen and Eric Singer. After the first self-titled Badlands album, drummer Eric Singer left the band to join KISS, and was replaced by drummer Jeff Martin, who had previously sung lead vocals in the bands Surgical Steel and Racer X. Badlands were one of the most underrated bands of the late ’80s and early ’90s. I personally consider their first album an absolute classic in both style and content. A solid hard rock offering. And the follow up, Voodoo Highway was a less commercial more dirty Zeppelin-inspired blues-based hard rock album! Which unfortunately would later result in a fall out between singer Ray Gillen and Jake E. Lee. The songs on here are just as good as their debut with a little more fire in Gillen’s voice. Jake’s guitar is about as raw as you can get. One thing Badlands always had was energy and, of course, great rhythm guitar. The solos here are unmatched.
“Soul Stealer” is the sixth song on Voodoo Highway, the sophomore album by the band Badlands. As mentioned, Badlands appeared doomed by the time that the album was released in 1991, because the juggernaut that was grunge now would dominate the charts.
While Badlands’ rootsy blues-metal would have creatively fit in perfectly between Pearl Jam’s arena-rock jams and Nirvana’s complex punk-metal hybrid, label indifference and eventual hostility would put the band on the street withina year. Singer Ray Gillen who was at odds with Jake E. Lee over the bands direction was was given the boot, a new singer signed on, gigs in the UK/Europe were booked, and then that singer quit due to a conflict with money, Gillen was reluctantly bought back at short notice, and in hindsight this proved to be a very bad move as he and Lee still did not get along, which culminated in an onstage breakdown and band break-up at London’s Astoria Theatre. Things would not be the same again. Gillen was fired again, and another vocalist came on board, but by Spring 1992 it was all over. Ray Gillen’s health was a major concern all during the bands time together, and that all came to a head at the end of 1993 when he passed away due to AIDS related complications. If there is any consolation for Badlands, at least their first two albums have been given rightful credit as remastered reissues thanks to Rock Candy Records. I highly suggest you go out and buy them! They flat out rock! And they are a part of the Black Sabbath Family Tree.
(Instrumental only performance version of Sold My Soul)
“Sold My Soul” is the second track off of Book of Shadows, the first solo studio album by guitarist Zakk Wylde. The album was first released in 1996, and was later reissued by Spitfire in 1999 with a bonus disc containing three bonus tracks. Unlike Zakk’s work with Ozzy Osbourne, the future Black Label Society front man, shows a very different side to his music; an introspective and mostly acoustic style recalling many of the lighter moments from his previous southern rock project, Pride & Glory as well as classic folk rock artists such as Neil Young and Tom Petty. Promotional singles were released for the tracks “Between Heaven and Hell” and “Way Beyond Empty”, the latter of which also had an accompanying music video. Another track “Throwin’ It All Away” was written about the death of Shannon Hoon from the band Blind Melon. Shannon and Zakk had lived together and became close friends a few months before he died of a drug overdose. In conclusion, this is a very strong and underrated album, and in my opinion by far some Zakk Wylde’s best work. Die-hard fans of both Black Label Society and Ozzy might get discouraged over the lack of “metal,” but for the rest of us, Book of Shadows is a great listen for those who just wanna kick back with some cold ones and chill. It’s some good old fashioned down home rock and roll. So, if you have not heard it, I suggest that you give it a shot, you might be pleasantly surprised. Also Zakk released the sequel Book of Shadows II, his second official solo album in April of 2016. Check that one out as well.