I'm desperately in need for some good old hard hitting rock and roll to lift my spirits right now. I assume I'm not the only who over the past few days has been mainly listening to Suicide Silence. And so something with more melody, hooks and old rock and roll fun is in order. And this is what I've recently been hearing I can find in London hard rockers Zodiac N Black and the blasting hard rock you can find on their debut album The Aftermyth. And if a band wants to rock out like it's 1976 and throw in some 90's influences as well, it's a halfway uplifting album surely?
Yeah, pretty much. In spite of what emotional tone the band play it, from uplifting, to romantic to utterly grim, this is a band that seems convinced that nothing new happened in rock music after 1995. And as opener Bastinado rises into action with a selection of distortion drenched riffs, so begins the work of a band that wears their influences so distinctly on their sleeves.
As the album goes on, shades of Soundgarden, Led Zeppelin and Pearl Jam flow past with the absorbing lead guitar backdrops of A Necessary Evil and Who's the Fool (Part 1) that boasts the same kind of detailed crafts as Prosperina's Faith In Sleep, the best Welsh album... ever. The immense detail also shines through emotion welling lead vocals that bring out a sense of romance on the bluesy Lights On Blues,while creating a sense of utter melancholy on The Joke is On Us. The vocal style not be to everyone, sounding like a hybrid between a garage sale Eddie Vedder and Blaze Bayley, but in carrying a strong emotion, it still works.
In terms of carrying a strong emotion, their frontman really is fighting against the emotions. While bands like The Answer would like to convince you that they sound like they've recorded the album in the back of a bar when actually recording in a professional studio, Zodiac N Black genuinely sound like they've been recording in their local pub, as riffs come compact and filth infested. It makes the juddering Bad Pills feel more like a rumbling journey that leaves you on the edge of your street as to what's happening next. At times, tracks like Making an Enemy and Better Off Dead has the riff-heavy roughness of the Queens of the Stone Age debut but the condensed production stops it from reaching it's full potential.
This musical combination of soft romantic melodies and crunching hard rock poundings makes The Aftermyth an album that you can clearly grip with. Zodiac N Black have enough of an impact to change your mindset as they charge through on their grungy rock and roll journey. It's not made of absolute perfection by any means, the production levels stop them from reaching their full potential certainly and makes the final effect sounding like Soundgarden lite. But this is a definite sign of a debut of a band with high potential who will go on to be a great kick ass rock and roll band.
Zodiac N Black's The Aftermyth is out now via STM Records.