Classic rock historically has been a tag reserved for the music enjoyed by our aunts and uncles, our parent’s younger siblings. Seems the older we get, the more music that is considered classic rock. Relatively recently, classic rock has been added to the myriad of subgenres being applied to new music as well.
Firmly placed within the classic rock category is Voodoo Circle, a substantial quartet out of Germany, whose sound is firmly rooted in the ‘80s. Citing musical influences such as Whitesnake, Yngwie Malmsteen and Rainbow, Voodoo Circle consistently churns out spirited tunes with grit and heart. From anthems to ballads, VC’s body of work encapsulates the energy that permeated the metal scene in the mid-80s. From the bad boy image of Motley Crue to the carefree feel of Poison and thoughtful songwriting of Tesla, all aspects are on display prominently throughout Voodoo Circle’s discography.[metalwani_content_ad]
Voodoo Circle’s forthcoming album, ‘Raised On Rock’, set to drop on February 9, is the newest of a series of efforts released over the years since their formation in 2008. Their 5th studio album and first effort since 2015, ‘Raised On Rock’ is also their first recording with singer Herbie Langhams, having replaced David Readmond who departed the band in 2016. Langhams’ vocals bring back the 80s classic rock idiom, sounding very much like a cross between Myles Kennedy (Slash, Alter Bridge) and Marq Torien of the Bulletboys, another mildly popular classic rock/metal band from that time frame. Langhams’ vocals shine combined with Francesco “Cesco” Jovino’s drums, and founding members Mark Sinner on bass and Alex Beyrodt on guitar. The current line-up melds into a feast for the listener hungry for nostalgia with a modern twist.
‘Raised On Rock’ boasts 11 tracks of raucous riff-heavy, melodic hard rock rivaling the best garage bands of yesteryear. Opening the album is “Running Away From Love”, a rather bouncy, if not slightly predictable tune honoring the age-old concept of fear of commitment. “Higher Love” has a decidedly southern rock, almost blues-y feel despite the band’s insistence that this album is actually LESS blues-y than their previous efforts. “Walk on the Line” is a song that embodies the classic notion of VC’s overall sound. This is the song that initially kindled the comparison to Bulletboys. Along with many songs on this effort, the guitar solo seems overly complicated for a relatively simple hard rock tune but it’s also mixed slightly into the background so it’s not so in your face as it could be. “You Promised Me” has more of a modern lean to it with a strange time signature that kind of throws you off a little.[metalwani_content_ad]
Of course, with this being a band bent on classic rock, there has to be at least one ballad but this one has two, the first of which is “Where is the World” which sounds eerily similar to Whitesnake’s “Is This Love”. Maybe they took their Whitesnake influence a little too seriously on this one. The second being “Chase Me Away” which is actually a really good song, all things considered. Again, there are aspects of this song that are eerily similar to other songs by other bands, but VC somehow makes it their own with the long and less complicated solo four minutes into this five-minute plus opus. An even longer track, “Dreamchaser”, clocks in at over 6 minutes and has a meandering opening transitioning to a slow jam-type song with a 70s Yes-esque guitar and keyboard bridge that invokes, well, sleep.
Throughout this entire album, there are audible similarities to countless bands that could be considered the forefathers of 80s metal, from the bands mentioned previously to Great White, Ratt, Krokus, pretty much any 80s band you can think of, you can find those influences in this record. Maybe a little too much at times. Despite this, fans of classic 80’s rock will love this album as it will coerce them into reminiscing about days gone by and the soundtrack of their lives while still enjoying new music.