Zodiac – Road Tapes Vol. 1 (Napalm Records)

A killer live album of heavy blues boogie from the German champions of the genre
Release Date: 
17 Apr 2015 - 12:24am

Recorded on their 2014 Sonic Child tour this is probably as close as I’m ever going to get to actually hearing these German blues metal masters in concert as they don’t strike me as the sort of band an Australian promoter will take a punt on. In saying that I didn’t expect to see Kadavar or Blues Pills hit our shores so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that a miracle happens. 

So, this is the bands fourth abum in the last four years! This is one of the things I love about Zodiac, their penchant for releasing music annually; it’s like the good old days where you could guarantee that your favourite band would release something new every year, none of this 5 to 10 year gap between albums! 

Road Tapes Vol. 1 highlights all three of Zodiac’s studio long players, with 3 songs from the most excellent A Bit Of Devil (2012), 3 from the follow up A Hiding Place (2013) and 4 from their latest Sonic Child (2014). The album runs for over 73 minutes, with the highlight being their stompingly good version of Neil Young’s Cortez The Killer, Diamond ShoesA Penny And A Dead Horse and the 15 minute epic of Coming Home (including a short Pink Floyd shout out). In saying those tunes are my highlights, in truth there is not a bad tune on here. 

The album sounds fantastic; the mix is perfect with nothing dominating and each instrument is given the room to breathe and consequently showcase the talent of the musicians. Zodiac excels at locking into a groove and playing from the heart, they channel the American blues masters but with a heavier approach. Guitarist Nick Van Delft (also vox) wrings gut wrenching blues soaked tones from his instrument, while Stephen Gall provides more than solid support with his rhythm guitar and holding it all together are Janosh Rathmer (drums and percussion) and Ruben Claro (bass and organ). 

If you like to feel something emotional when you’re listening to your music then this should be in your collection (the guitar tone alone is worth the price of admission), if you want to hear outstanding song writing, heartfelt lyrics and vocal delivery and a bunch of blokes in fine form musically get on board. If you own their previous releases this is a must, if you don’t Road Tapes Vol.1 is a good place to start your Zodiac adventures!