There are those occasions when listening to a new album, you start to think ..yeah, this is quite a good album but there’s something missing from the mix .. and then you realise what it is.
But, first things first. Voodoo Circle are a German hard rock/heavy metal band, founded in 2008 and fronted by guitarist Alex Beyrodt (ex-Silent Force) to pursue his desire to play the music of the early influences who inspired him. Raised on Rock is the bands fifth album. Since 2015’s Whisky Fingers vocalist David Readman has left the band, to be replaced by Herbie Langham and Beyrodt said; “I feel Voodoo Circle now sounds even more autonomous, a little less bluesier and more meatier with Herbie at the mic. This has allowed me to work on ideas which would probably not have suited his predecessor, but which are absolutely perfect for Herbie’s powerful voice.”
The fact that Herbie Langham has a powerful voice is clear from listening to the album, which is chock full with unadulterated fervour, fine playing featuring some storming guitar runs and some cracking tunes. It’s also an album where the influences are right out there in plain sight, such as Whitesnake, Van Halen and Rainbow. It’s impossible not to listen to Raised on Rock and not see and hear the bands influences everywhere, particularly the vocalising, and it’s then when it becomes clear what’s missing here, and that’s killer vocals and backing harmonies.
You can appreciate just how good vocalists such as Coverdale and Rodgers really are when listening to tracks like ‘Walk On The Line’ and, in particular, ‘Where Is The World We Love,’ which has the bluesy feel of Whitesnake’s ‘Is This Love?’ running through it. In Coverdale’s hands this song would be blistering.
However, this isn’t to say Raised on Rock is a bad album, far from it. Tracks like the explosive opener, ‘Running Away From Love’, and the bluesy rocker ‘Unknown Stranger’ are good songs, and ‘Higher Love’ is a standout track on the album. ‘Dreamchaser’ was originally written and intended for the bands debut album in 2008 but Beyrodt held it back until now, and is probably all the better for it.
There’s good music on this album, no doubt about that, but the absence of a top-class vocalist prevents this from being perceived as a really good album.