As a critic, my job is to relay my opinion of a record to you in a way that is hopefully informative enough to give you an impression of what that record is like, and whether it's worth your time to check it out. What never gets said, but is an underlying premise of this whole enterprise, is that opinions are nto static. You don't hear a record once, understand everything about it, and never need to reflect on how your views have changed with time and more experience.
I take great pride in my ability to judge how the arc of history is going to bend, at least as it pertains to my taste. Writing as many reviews as I have these last few years, I have found the ability to fairly consistently peg my first impression along the lines of how my opinion will ultimately settle out. The degree of my feelings might change slightly, but in the overwhelming majority of cases, I stand by nearly every word of the review I have written. But that's not to project an image of infallibility. I do make mistakes, and when that happens, I feel like it's my responsibility to own up to it.
That is why I am issuing a 'mea culpa' right now.
The review I wrote recently for Zakk Wylde's new album, "Book Of Shadows II", was indeed a positive one. I shared my affection for the record, and gave it due praise. Unfortunately, the circumstances of that review did not let me write a review that looks accurate, even just a week or so later. I received the album a week before the release date, and wanting to be timely, I got the review done in short order, as I often have to. But in the week that has followed, as I have listened through the album nearly a dozen more times, it pains me how wrong I was.
I should not have written that review.
I should have written something far more glowing, because the added element of time has let the album grow, to the point that I have to call it a heavy contender for the crown of Album Of The Year. You would not have gotten that impression from the review posted here, and I feel that going back and editing it after the fact to change the tenor of it would be dishonest. Instead, I am saying here that I was wrong in my initial judgment, and that if I could go back and do it again, I would tell everyone reading this that they owe it to themselves to go to iTunes or their favorite distributor, and listen to the samples of this album. I'm convinced that should be enough to illustrate just how good it is.
It has made an indelible mark on this year.