Zodiac N Black: The Aftermyth

Photo Michelle Murphy

A real treat came our way when the debut album from UK rockers Zodiac N Black was sent over for a listen. Without teasing or challenging boundaries The Aftermyth is quite simply a refreshing and thrilling blast of honest rock n roll. The band plays it straight down the line with their vibrant and exciting sounds creating  songs which are creatively eager and thoroughly enjoyable at every turn and an album which is nothing but pure pleasure.

The quartet from London send the senses into overload with a hungry mix of rock stemmed from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, and Soundgarden. Each and every note is infused with a passion and urgency to please whilst being intelligent and superbly crafted. The music is undemanding but stays well clear of the obvious cheap hooks and easy lures for the ear. This ensures an album which is a new acquaintance but immediately a long term companion for the ear and heart.

For an album which does wear its inspirations on its sleeve The Aftermyth has the quality to ensure one is not thinking of those influences throughout the album, the band taking those flavours and lining them up to their own creative ideas. They are always there and in sight but not a distraction as with many releases which use such inspiration to lead their music not spice it.

The album opens up with an irrepressible blast of rock n roll in Bastinado. Driven with one insatiable and purely infectious groove the song is an immediate hit with the ear from its first chords. To be honest the song did take a short warming up to though that groove never allowed attention to drift or the desire to move on arise. The vocals of Jad which are excellent on the album seemed slightly off at first but by mid way the song had a full grip and was dishing out a full and hungry satisfaction especially with the scorched melodic strokes in the latter part of the song, their addictive swipes across the ear irresistible.

The guitar and bass of Jim and Hank respectively wrap the senses around their every note and riff upon the album with ease and skill whilst the rhythms of drummer Luca bring out a feisty and boisterous side to every song. Inventive and imaginative all treat a song as their creative plaything for their formidable skills without scattering the unity and overall power of the track. Such is the case with second song A Necessary Evil. The track is a mesmeric weave of sonic guitar invention and explosive rhythms, whilst the bass is a wanton pulse throughout but it pulls it all in to be a deeply impressive and  ingenious slice of real rock n roll.

Track after track Zodiac N Black leaves the heart wanting more. The likes of southern toned The Joke Is On Us with an almost mystical ambience to its initial breath, the uncomplicated energised rocker Better Off Dead, and the riotous brew of ravenous riffs that is Bad Pills with its funk manipulations, all pass one onto their  successor with a bigger and wider hungry grin. Some maybe would argue about the overall originality of the music and album but with songs as impressive and irresistible as these who cares. To be fair there is  a strong array of sounds and invention across all songs, once you look past the storming surface party first.

The best song on the album is Seems Like Better Times and as great as the rest are this track leaves them in its wake. With incisive riffs and a magnetic bass presence the track is a delicious flurry of rock n roll with a tank fuelled by grunge rock. Gritty and with a confident swagger which can only ensure another addiction the only gripe is the song barely makes three minutes. That is taking leaving them wanting more to the extreme surely.

Zodiac N Black seems to be still a bit of a secret in the UK but with The Aftermyth that surely will change. There have been a few outstanding rock bands emerging lately but Zodiac N Black has just raised the bar to easily lead the pack.


RingMaster 28/06/2012

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