If you have a penchant for Melodic Metal’s heady late 80’s period of wealth there are still plenty of routes open to you if you want to reconnect with those halcyon days. Many of the bands have reformed, some of the musicians of the time are still doing the circuit with different bands and there are plenty of new bands that have captured the same spirit of the day. Voodoo Circle are a mix of the last two and have been one of the field’s leaders for almost 10 years now, however there has been a change that long-term fans of the band will want to know about!
As those long-tern fans will be well aware of, Voodoo Circle is the brainchild of guitarist supremo Alex Beyrodt (Silent Force, Primal Fear, Sinner etc.), that also incorporates Primal Fear/Sinner cohort Mats Sinner on bass and current Primal Fear/Sinner drummer Francesco Jovino. Vocal duties have been more than ably handled by Pink Cream 69’s David Readman up until now but with his departure in 2016 a new voice had to be found. It would be hard to find a better newbie than Sinbreed’s Herbie Langhans…so that’s who they got! A very versatile and powerful vocalist, this album proves to be yet another string to his ever expanding bow.
It would be easy to suspect Primal Fear/Sinner comparisons, but that’s not the case, which is mainly down to the songs being crafted much more from the Whitesnake and Melodic hard rock/metal camp. One of Voodoo Circle’s strengths is to take a sound, their sound, and make it familiar. Ok, for example, take three tracks in particular while we are on about Whitesnake and David Coverdale – ‘Ultimate Sin’ is slightly reminiscent of ‘Wings Of A Storm’, ‘Where Is The World We Love’ smacks of ‘Is This Love’ and ‘You Promised Me Heaven’ has a main riff that echos Coverdale/Pages’s ‘Shake The Tree’…but that’s as far as it goes, as the song always heads off in a different direction that emulates Voodoo Circle and not who you might have thought it was initially. Langhans’ gravel-tinged metal tones also steer the band away from previously over-familiar Whitesnake-isms and further hint at classic Rainbow or Malmsteen as was always evident in the music, but less in the delivery.
Alex Beyrodt has stated that working with a new vocalist in Voodoo Circle has freed him up to explore some songs that were maybe less tailored to Readman’s voice and this is probably the case, but long-term fans need not despair as this is utterly Voodoo Circle and still a great follow up to 2015’s “Whisky Fingers”, with just a hint of striding forward rather than playing it safe which is always a temptation when you have found a winning formula. It can still be a winning formula if the quality of the people involved remains the same, and of course it has.
(7.5/10 Andy Barker)