German Classic Rock fanatics Voodoo Circle’s fifth album Raised on Rock (AFM) is the debut outing for new singer Herbie Langhans, after the departure of David Readman two years ago. Langhan’s bluesy timbre fits in seamlessly to Voodoo Circle’s retro-flavoured rock, which is straight out of well-thumbed pages of Whitesnake, Deep Purple, Rainbow and Led Zeppelin.
The one thing Langhan’s entrance has done has beefed up the songcraft of Alex Beyrodt, with more emphasis on anthemic Hard Rock then before. Lead single ‘Higher Love’ is one such example, a talk box infused number with a bluesy, rock-heavy stomp and rather adroit fretwork from Beyrodt. Album opener ‘Running Away From Love’ is another one, sounding like a modern take on the Glam Metal of yore and a long lost relative to Coverdale’s 1987 ditty ‘Bad Boys’. After a fiery introductory riff, ‘You Promised Me Heaven’ quickly steamrollers its way to a gigantic chorus and a melodic solo, offering a refreshing change from the glammed up, bluesy, Hard Rock surroundings.
Five albums in and they have well and truly found their sound, whilst they are undoubtedly good at crafting anthemic slabs of Hard Rock – as the full speed assault of ‘Ultimate Sin’ testifies to – it is something you have heard a million times before. Be it the melodic melodrama of ‘Walk On The Line’ or the Deep Purple-esque urgency of ‘Unknown Stranger’ in the end they all blend together in a haze of catchy but overly familiar classic rock. With the odd flourish here and there standing out from the crowd, like the spacious Jimi Hendrix intro of ‘Dream Chaser’ and the quieter, obligatory schmaltzy power ballad that is ‘Where Is The World We Love’.
A decent 50 or so minutes of catchy choruses and impressive guitar histrionics let down by a lack of variety and an aching sense of familiarity, fans of Coverdale and Sykes era Whitesnake will be right at home.