Photo Credits to: Marcus Maschwitz Photography
If you’re tired of hearing the mainstream rock bands (or lack of) nowadays, including the metal bands whose screaming and growling vocals you can’t understand without reading the lyrics, my new blog “Rock Across The Pond” is here. The purpose of this new blog is to tell the masses of great rock bands from England and other places in Europe. America has some pretty crappy music out nowadays (in my opinion). Don’t get me wrong, there is some (albeit very little) so-so to good music, but most of it is overproduced without any real musical talent. There are some good singers. However, I miss the times when instruments were actually played and “artists” didn’t have to rely on computerized talents that take away the essence of what creating musical fusion is all about.
Enough ranting for now. Zodiac N’ Black is a hard rock band hailing from London, England. Listening to them is like a breath of fresh rock, and you can tell that “grunge” influences in their music. The band has already released an EP and their full-length LP titled The Aftermyth in 2012. This London act breaks from the American mainstream with grittier guitars (Jim), pounding drums (Luca), grungy base (Hank) and an outstanding singer (Jad). Some of their main influences are Led Zeppelin, Queens of the Stone Age, Soundgarden and Black Sabbath, making this deadly combination a recipe for greatness with a grittier and a more modern sound.
The first track on the album titled “Bastinado” starts off with a roar of music into a groove of guitar, and then explodes into massive riff. You feel as if you’re being “released” into a hard rocking bliss when you hear Jad sing, “Release me!” A sound of guitar that almost sounds as if its being played with bow (like Led Zeppelin would) starts out “A Necessary Evil.” A guitar riff while the drums and bass follow into a riff of promise as the singing comes in finally presents one of my favorite songs. A couple lead changes and two heavy, yet beautifully melodic guitar solos make for an epic almost seven minute song. “Only the Lonely,” is a track with much to promise as the singing, flow and riffs explain the chemistry that this band seems to have.
A softer guitar starts out the next song, “The Joke is On Us.” Jad’s singing starts and continues into the chorus, where the change of music can be evident, but subtle. The big change is when the bridge starts and the singer begins belting and a blast of music begins the heaviness with a great guitar solo. “Better Off Dead” starts with the singer singing “I’m falling, I need somebody now” and doesn’t waste time into the heavy chorus. The heaviness doesn’t stop even after a couple different lead changes. A faster-paced song, “Seems Like Better Times,” kicks the audience in the butt while the following track, “Who’s the Fool,” is the softest song on the album, It’s mostly just Jad and Jim going with the flow, with the rhythm section of Hank and Luca coming in near the middle.
A great riff by the band jumps at you as your soon-to-be scattered brain enjoys “Bad Pills.” The grittiness of this song is put in bold as the song pushes and shoves you into a state of hard rock euphoria. “Making an Enemy,” is another hard song which starts out with a soft riff and soon gets heavier and heavier. The final song clocks in at a whopping ten minutes which classifies this song an epic in my mind. Ten minutes of hard and great riffs, groovy deep bass and heavy drumming completes this album with a thunderous introduction to the heavy and hard rock music from oversees.
Zodiac N’ Black, to me, is the modern Led Zeppelin with a sound that can take them to many heights and cross any boundaries. I’m waiting for the time when they cross over to the United States and hit up San Antonio for the first time! I know that I’ll be there and I’ll be inspired to see them live again and again. For the few videos I found, there is the video for “Bad Pills” and “Only the Lonely” I hope you enjoy.