Zodiac - Sonic Child (Napalm Records)

German heavy blues rockers Zodiac give birth to a Sonic Child in the form of their latest release
Release Date: 
19 Sep 2014 (All day)

This is the third album from Germany’s Zodiac and it sees the band continue to refine their bluesy hard rockin’ swampy sound, although that statement is somewhat of a disservice to the band as they don’t mind exploring different territory. Case in point, the opening track of Sonic Child, Intro Who I Am, is not what you should expect from the rest of the album; it’s mainly ambient electronica in its delivery (albeit with some punchy drums) with a spoken word opening monologue espousing what music means to the band.

It’s not long before the band kicks into high gear though with the bar room hard rockin’ blues of Swinging on the Run, imagine the Black Crowes and (old school) ZZ Top sharing a beer and a joint and jamming together with George Thorogood and you’re heading in the right direction.

There’s some outstandingly strong drumming on this album with Janosch Rathmer  thumping the tubs with abandon on several tracks. It’s not that it’s technically amazing drumming, he just does a great job of driving the songs along and, importantly, smacking the shit out of the skins.

Nick Van Delft (vocals and lead guitar) croons his way through the only real ballad on the album, Sad Song, but don’t expect a power ballad here, these blokes love their blues after all and the song has that my wife left me, my dog died and I’m stuck on this rickety porch kinda vibe.

First single is A Penny and a Dead Horse and fires up all delta blues fuelled before those drums kick in and the song breaks into a gritty Rolling Stones kinda riff. Close your eyes and you can just imagine the German lads sitting on a rocking chair somewhere in a swamp in Louisiana, surrounded by piles of empty beer cans... shotguns at hand.

The highlight of the album comes towards the end with the 9 minute blues epic Rock Bottom Blues. The tune opens with some nice organ by bass player Ruben Claro before kicking in with some beautiful guitar that’s almost Pink Floyd like in its delivery. It’s not long before the blokes are channelling Gary Moore; in fact the whole album is drenched with nods to Mr Moore with the guitar tone being very similar to that which the blues master would conjure up. 

The band has toured with Graveyard, Spiritual Beggars, the Sword and Monster Magnet amongst others, if you’re a fan of any of those bands these blokes should appeal. So, do yourself a favour and grab Sonic Child. If you’re really keen dig out their previous releases A Bit of Devil and A Hiding Place as well, both are highly recommended (particularly A Bit of Devil, the album closer Coming Home has some fantastic guitar playing on it).

Sonic Child is released through Napalm Records on 19 September.