VOODOO CIRCLE, the brainchild of guitarist extraordinaire Alex Beyrodt, returns with a new album, Raised On Rock, and a new vocalist in Herbie Langhans. “What’s this?!!?” you say? Relax…the sound of the band hasn’t changed. They still deliver blues-driven kick ass rock n’ roll in the vein of WHITESNAKE and RAINBOW, and the songs still pack plenty of punch. David Readman left the band to pursue other interests, and no one should fault him for that because he made some terrific music with these guys over four albums. But now it’s Herbie’s time in the sun, and man oh man does he deliver…on each and every single fucking track. This is actually a nice second marriage for Beyrodt, and the results clearly speak for themselves.
Right out of the gate “Running Away From Love” sets a high-speed low-drag tone, sounding not unlike something off of WHITESNAKE’S landmark self-titled 1987 album. This tune goes straight into fifth gear, and the whole band is electric. Bassist Mat Sinner and drummer Francesco Jovino punch sonic holes in the wall, while Beyrodt goes to town riff-wise and Langhans makes his presence known and then some. “Higher Love” employs a sexy boogie and Beyrodt hits us with some talk box, something you guys know I love. Great song, and I’d love to hear it live. There’s also something dirty about “Walk On the Line” while at the same time Beyrodt sets his fretboard on fire with one of the album’s best solos!
And speaking of guitar acrobatics and histrionics, check out “You Promised Me Heaven”, easily my favorite on this disc. Guarantee I’m not in the minority here, either. If you’re not blaring this one several times a day you need your fucking head examined, case closed. Oh, and once again Beyrodt’s solo destroys. “Just Take My Heart” is a mid-tempo rocker firmly rooted in AOR, which is hardly a bad thing, while “Where Is the World We Love” slows things down and shows the softer side of the group. Obvious comparisons to WHITESNAKE’S “Is This Love?” on the verses will surely be made, but man, this tune is so pretty I don’t even care. Another one with a big chorus that warrants abuse of the REPEAT button.
The coal-burning riff furnace is full for “Ultimate Sin” and in a concert setting this one should have fists pumping for sure. Meanwhile “Unknown Stranger” is a four-on-the-floor jammer with some bluesy sounding organ that trades off with the blistering guitars around the 2:27 mark, taking an already killer track and making it even better. “Chase Me Away” is a gorgeous, smoky number that only proves this band doesn’t need to be in rock mode to blow your doors off. Beyrodt’s fluid soloing alone will do that for you. Six minute and change “Dreamchaser” is one that started in 2008 and has evolved over the years till it was ready to be laid to tape. Well, if that’s the case, this one was certainly worth the wait and then some. Trust me, you’ll see.
Closing the disc is “Love Is An Ocean”, a track reminiscent of some of the tunes found on the COVERDALE/PAGE album, one of my favorites from 1993, so obviously I was all over it. Look people, if it’s a kickass rock and roll record from a band that unapologetically wears their influences on their sleeves, then this is the album for you. Quite frankly there isn’t a single bad song to be found here, and this is already one of my favorite releases of 2018. Now, if we can just get VOODOO CIRCLE to come to the U.S. this year, Philly in particular, hmmmmm. In the meantime Raised On Rock comes out February 9 via AFM Records. Do yourselves a favor and buy this one posthaste!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM