VOODOO CIRCLE – MORE THAN ONE WAY HOME

voodoocircle_home

Released 22nd February 2013 on AFM Records

After two albums of 70s inspired hard rock with more than a little hint of Purple (and the major Purple descendants), Voodoo Circle have decided the time has come to update their sound.  Update meaning, in this instance, pull it into the 80s…

As opening track “Graveyard City” demonstrates, Whitesnake’s eponymous USA breakthrough album was a major inspiration this time around.  The trend continues with “Tears In The Rain”, where David Readman makes a even more concerted effort to emulate Coverdale.  “Heart Of Babylon” starts off with a whiff of Rainbow but the Snake soon takes over, whereas “Cry For Love” is a fairly generic power ballad.  “Alissa” is another subdued track that relies mostly on its groove. Not a highlight of the album.

“The Ghost In Your Heart”, yet another slower song, is fortunately followed by some more uptempo fare. “Bane Of My Existence” is classic Voodoo Circle while “The Killer In You” is another nod to the good year 1987.  Upon hearing the title track, you would be forgiven for picturing skanky redheads rolling lasciviously on Jags.

“The Saint And The Sinner”. Hmm, subtle…

“Victim Of Love” is a bit bland but album closer “Open Your Eyes” ends the album on a high with guitars and keys engaging in a Blackmore/Lord type of confrontation.

Axeman Alex Beyrodt toggles between Sykes and Blackmore throughout. He pulls off both with equal panache even if he can’t really match the frenetic onslaught that was Sykes in his heyday.  The keyboard sounds have evolved from the Hammond stylings of the first albums to the more stringy sounds that typified 80s radio rock.

A minor departure from their earlier sound but another highly enjoyable album from this German retro combo.

Rating – 87% (what else?)
Review by the ever ready an’ willing Sancho

Related Articles:
Voodoo Circle – Broken Heart Syndrome Review
Alex Beyrodt Interview  2011

AN INTERVIEW WITH ALEX BEYRODT OF VOODOO CIRCLE

Voodoo Circle are the stunning hard rock band from guitarist Alex Beyrodt (Silent Force).  The band are just about to release their fantastic second album ‘Broken Heart Syndrome’ on AFM Records and we caught up with the bands mainman to discuss the making of the new release, his gear preferences and the outlook on Silent Force.

Alex, many thanks for speaking to us again.The second Voodoo Circle album ‘Broken Heart Syndrome’ is about to see release. We gave it a glowing recommendation, how has it been going down elsewhere?
So far I received almost only very good reviews. Only one or two silly ones…with comments like “the band tries to impress with Spanish guitars and ZZ Top riffs”….I will never understand some of those Internet mags and self proclaimed “Journalists”…sorry!  I’m even more thankful for mags like yours, were people have knowledge!

When did writing for the record commence?
Oh, I write constantly. It is hard to tell, but I probably started 2 years ago.

Do you normally write a big batch of songs and pick the best, or have little riffs and melodies you piece together when in the studio?
I usually write and record the song in my studio. I always have around 20 songs ready. In fact we could easily record another Voodoo Circle album tomorrow.

How closely do you work with the rest of the band when writing?
Well, I always compose the music, then we decide which songs have the best feel and spirit. Then David visits me and we work together on the vocal melodies. After that we have another vote, we make an A and B list……A goes on the record, B will be redone in the future.

Is most of this work done in your home studio?
The writing process is done in my studio, yes. The rest we do in different studios. It is important to me to have good rooms, especially when recording the drums.

Whereas I felt there was a more nod to Malmsteen on the debut the new album sees a lot more Blackmore, is that a fair assessment?
Absolutely, on the new album I go way way back to my roots….and I enjoy it a lot. I am a melodic player, always have been. I love to play with a lot of feeling and also to let the music breath. In fact, Yngwie and me, we have the same roots….I scalloped my Strat by myself when I was 16, so did Yngwie…..I grew up with Purple, so did he. And, I am very proud to let you know that I just got back from touring with the “Rock meets Classic” show were I played 3 weeks every night with Ian Gillan…..a Best of Purple Set. That was a real highlight.

Your guitar tones also feel a little more vintage as well, was this intentional?
I wanted to have the right sound for those songs, so ..yes…intentional.

We are loving the tones you are coaxing out of your Strats.  It sounds like a very stripped down approach; can you tell us what gear you used this time around?
I used a Marshall 1987X, a Voodoo Amp, my famous GuitarSlinger Double Dealer Booster and Overdrive (www.guitarslingereffects.com) and around 5 different Strats.

Here is the complete list:

Guitars: 2001 Siggi Braun Alex Beyrodt Custom Stratocaster Vintage White, 2010 Siggi Braun Alex Beyrodt Custom Stratocaster Black, 72’s Fender Stratocaster Vintage White, 60’s Fender Stratocaster 3 Tone Sunburst, 60’s Fender Stratocaster Sonic Blue, 57′ Gibson Les Paul Gold Top Reissue, Gibson Flying V Arctic White,

Amplification: Marshall 1987X, Marshall Plexi, Marshall Cabinet (Vintage 30’s), Voodoo Amps V-Rock

Effects: GuitarSlinger Effects Double Dealer & Fireball, WEM Copycat Echo Unit, Jim Dunlop Cry Baby Wah Pedal, Jim Dunlop Uni Vibe, Boss OC3, not to forget: Rübli Rock Alex Beyrodt Custom Picks & Live Line Cables.

How were the amps mic’d up?
SM57 and a room mic

Was there one particular piece of gear that you really connected with this time round?
My 72 Strat is the main guitar on the record.

David Readmans’ vocals are again superb.  He sounds like he has chosen a darker tone this time around with some smokey Coverdale-isms.  How did the pair of you work on the vocals, melodies, lyrics etc?
David came down to my studio at the Canary Islands and we worked for one week on the material, besides hitting the pool and the beach, drinking red wine hah…

Was there any particular vibe you were shooting for this time?
Late 70’s, early 80’s

Do you have any favourite tracks/performances on the new album?
I think I have never recorded a better rhythm guitar then on “Blind Man”. It has a very bluesy, Hendrix-ish vibe and this is a side of me not many people know. I love Power Blues, have you heard Philip Sayce…..I love him!

I know you were looking to get out on the road with the last release, can you see that happening this time round?
Well, we have been touring for around a week after the first release. We are recently looking for a tour to hop on….as 120 other bands too.

Any videos lined up at all to promote the release?
We released a promotion clip with interviews.

What else is in store in 2011 for Voodoo Circle?
Besides interviews, touring and song writing…..not much ha-ha

Are Silent Force over? On hiatus or what? It’s been ages since we’ve heard anything, is there likely to be any activity there down the line?
Well, DC is back in Royal Hunt, I am a constant member of Primal Fear, Voodoo Circle, plus I have my own effect pedal brand www.guitarslingereffects.com, Andre is drummer in Rage…we are all very busy. I am not saying we will never record another album but right now it has no priority….plus….let’s say….there are still some internal issues which have to be resolved first.

Any final messages?
Rock’ Roll isn’t a rocking chair!!!

Official website
http://www.myspace.com/voodoocircleband

VOODOO CIRCLE – BROKEN HEART SYNDROME

Released February 25th 2010 on AFM Records

When they are not delivering Teutonic metal during their day job, Alex Beyrodt and Matt Sinner like to relax with classic 70s rock. Voodoo Circle’s debut was an impressive calling card for everyone who likes Deep Purple inspired hard rock.

No big changes for the follow up. “Absolution Blues” kicks off proceedings in true vintage Whitesnake style. The opening riff to “King Of Your Dreams” owes more than a little to Purple’s “Perfect Strangers” but takes a twist towards Dougie White era Rainbow once it gets going. “Devil’s Daughter” references Purple Mk3 while “Blind Man” takes a more bluesy approach and hints at early Rainbow balladry.I think you get the gist of it. Purple, Rainbow and Whitesnake are the main inspirations here.  I don’t think anyone does this style of music better than Voodoo Circle at this point in time.

The songs stand strong with a solid foundation of skilled musicians. There’s no overplaying, there’s no filler. Beyrodt is a killer guitarist. Tasty, technical and melodic. The whole album is an example of great Strat tones. Yngwie, are you listening?  There’s more of a Coverdale influence in the vocals (“Don’t Take My Heart” for instance) than first time around. You won’t hear me complain… David Readman does an exceptional job.

Highly recommended for all lovers of old school hard rock.

Rating – 93%
Review by Sancho

ALEX BEYRODT’S VOODOO CIRCLE – VOODOO CIRCLE (ARCHIVE)

Out now on AFM Records

Voodoo Circle is the new project from Silent Force guitarist Alex Beyrodt.  Those familiar with the classy tones exuding from the SF releases will now that Beyrodt is arguably the best in his field when it comes to recreating classic Rainbow/Rising Force esque metal.  Voodoo Circle is not just another outlet for Beyrodt’s musical styling’s, but also one of the finest examples of the melodic metal genre heard in some time.  Forget Axel Rudi Pell with his out of tune solos, forget even Yngwie with his sub par current offering ‘Perpetual Flame’, and instead delve into the wonder that is this album.

 11 tracks of metal bliss kick off with “Spewing Lies”, an aggressive rocker built around a trademark Beyrodt riff.  The first that will hit you is how good Alex’s guitar sounds here, this is arguably helped by the powerful production and top quality backing musicians in the form of David Readman on vocals, Mel Gaynor (drums), Mat Sinner (bass) and Jimmy Kresic on keyboards yet the power of this opener will grab you from the first listen.  “Desperate Heart” follows in a more melodic mid-tempo pattern, yet the feel here and overall structure is perhaps a little too close to Yngwie’s “Makin’ Love” for comfort, having that said that, numerous long-time Malmsteen fans wish Yngwie would kick out this kind of metal still so lap it up.  “Kingdom Of Lies” is darker, with a nice prelude from Alex and soon kicks out an audacious trad metal din reminiscent of Dio era Rainbow in its riff, before travelling into more traditional euro metal styling’s for the chorus.  Beyrodt delivers another first class solo here. 

 “Man And Machine” is pure Blackmore in its riff and Alex certainly makes no attempt to hide his main influences, but when its done this well all you can do is stand back and admire.  “Master Of Illusion” is another superb slice of mid-tempo melodic metal, with a great chorus, strong riff and works well midway through the album.  “We’ll Never Learn” heads back into Malmsteen inspired waters, in this case ‘Crystal Ball’ off ‘Odyssey’ with its restraint lead guitar over keyboard pads intro before kicking in with a glorious riff, the like Yngwie wrote in his prime.  Despite the influence, it has to be said that this is probably track of the album to these ears with a superb hook in the pre-chorus and another solo to die for. “Dream Of Eden” opens with some Moog and Hammond, reminiscent of Rainbow’s “Tarot Woman” before settling into a mid tempo heavy riff which is quite Rainbow in its delivery, this maybe aided by guest vocals of ex Rainbow/Malmsteen vocalist Doogie White and a fine keyboard solo from Richard Andersson (Time Requiem), but another strong number. 

  “Heaven Can Wait” is another strong mid tempo number built around a shuffle rhythm verse before heading into more straight-ahead melodic metal circles for the chorus.  “Angels Will Cry” sees the tempo upped a little for another slice of Malmsteen inspired metal.  Things break down midway for a nice melodic lead guitar solo which grows and builds before heading into a bluesy vibe before a repeated chorus sees the track out.  “Enter My World Of Darkness” sees Alex playing with a sitar effect for the intro before launching into a bruising riff and track reminiscent of Malmsteen once again in “Pyramid Of Cheops”. The solo is once again very strong; with a more Blackmore vibe here before Jimmy Kresic adds a nice keyboard solo from which Beyrodt comes back in with more nice lead work and continued underneath the chorus. The final track is the six minute instrumental “White Lady Requiem” which is a master class in the Beyrodt guitar style from restraint melodies to all out shred.  All in all a nice work out and sure to appease any neo-classical fan.

  The debut album from Voodoo Circle shows a lot of promise, sure the influences at times are easy to spot, and Alex makes no secret of his admiration for Malmsteen and Blackmore, but whilst these influences can be heard there is always Beyrodt’s own interpretation of these classic sounds on full view.  As stated at the intro, if you are somewhat disillusioned with the Malmsteen sound of late, then this album is sure to find a welcome home in your collection.  As it stands it’s a very good album, that sits nicely alongside the Silent Force albums and is another example of Beyrodt being the best of the talent to have come out of Germany since Michael Schenker.  Strong vocals, a good (but not great) production, first class musicianship, Voodoo Circle is a late entry in 2008 but may also be one of the years best.

Hot Spots : Spewing Lies, Kingdom Of Lies, We’ll Never Learn
Rating : 94%