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  ZODIAC
'A Hiding Place'
(Napalm Records)
Release Date: 25th October 2013


Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke

Rockulus Maximus



zodiac

Strutting out of their bed first thing in the morning with the song 'Downtown' incorporating an almost funky riff, and supported by a band fusing 70s influences and an appreciation for some earthy Blues Rock is one hell of a way to start their second studio album.

Like a slap around the face in disguise as a pleasant surprise, with a vocalist who for a split second sounded like Chris Rea but soon evolves in to his own voice, this album is one of those that could easily slip by unnoticed which is a shame.

These guys have gradually moved out of the shadows of Germany and are creeping in to the wider global market. They are a quartet who doesn't shy away from emotive playing and exploring their progressive tendencies as they do on 'Free'.

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I don't know whether you like taking a chance on an artist you've never heard before? But you might be quite smitten with their artwork, or a friend may have told you about this band and you decide to take a risk? This is an instance where I would recommend such adventure if you're a fan of blues-based Rock music which touches on Stevie Ray Vaughan in 'Underneath My Bed' or maybe a hint of ZZ Top in 'Moonshine'.

My list of top albums in 2013 is growing as I heartily add this to the collection.

The only real faux pas on 'A Hiding Place' is creating the title 'I Wanna Know (Part 1)' which segues directly into 'I Wanna Know (Part 2)'. It leads the prospective buyer to believe that they are two separate tracks when in reality they are one.

'Part 1' is the instrumental introduction to 'Part 2' and they feel and sound like one track. The quality on 'I Wanna Know' is not in dispute, but the principle of the title presentation is questionable.

Fans of Neil Young may wish to turn away, especially if you are a purist and believe nobody can reproduce his work like he can. 'A Hiding Place' finishes off with a cover of Neil Young's 'Cortez The Killer'.

I recently heard a rendition of Neil Young's 'Rockin' In The Free World' which I thought initially was okay by a Hard Rock band, but after hearing 'Cortez The Killer' I feel that version was not so hot. There is sincerity, genuine respect and emotion flooding this cover by Zodiac. I must have quietly whispered the word "Wow" several times throughout the first listening of this album, and then on repeated spins it just becomes an old friend.

'Leave Me Blind' is a daring breath of fresh air as Nick Van Delft croons over some piano, sounding vulnerable and yet urgent in the delivery. As you soak up the vibe of this ballad, an orchestra is introduced about three and a half minutes in as the song receives a new lease of life and soars to new heights. 'Leave Me Blind' feels like it must have been a lengthy number once it is finished but in fact is kept under the five minute mark.

'Believer' is a plodding epic which hangs its head down as it lumbers along a dusty path which leads off in to the darkness. You may hear a lot about a workaholic like Joe Bonamassa but please keep in mind that as with all things, if you're prepared to dig deeper there is more talent and variety just waiting to be discovered.

This is a good example of just such an outlook and philosophy.

1. Downtown
2. Free
3. Underneath My Bed
4. Leave Me Blind
5. Moonshine
6. Believer
7. I Wanna Know (Part 1)
8. I Wanna Know (Part 2)
9. Cortez The Killer

Nick van Delft (Vocals / Guitar)
Stephan Gall (Guitar)
Ruben Claro (Bass)
Janosch Rathmer (Drums)


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31.10.13











 


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