Zodiac N Black are everything that made you fall in love with rock n roll in the first place. They are that youthful epiphany, that time when you realised that music could mean something, when it became a force for change in your life; when it made that first, essential emotional connection. The one you’ve been living with for the last however many decades. The subsequent musical journey has taken you through a world of complexity, of new inspirations and ideas, of infinite variations on a theme of which you will never tire. And always, somewhere in your heart, there’s a place that will forever love honest to goodness, kick out the jams rock music.
If you listen closely to this London four piece, formed just 2 years ago, you might hear influences like Soundgarden, a hint of The Cult, Velvet Revolver and maybe some Led Zeppelin. I’ve had this album for nearly a week now, and it’s the one that’s been playing in the car, morning and evening: whether the day has been good or bad, as soon as “The Aftermyth” is on and the volume is cranked up, it’s just me and Zodiac N Black in our own private party. The rest of the world might as well not be there.
Kicking the album off in fine style, “Bastinado” is all driving rhythm and down and dirty riff; it grabs you right away and you know this is going to be a quite a ride. Already the potential of the band is clear, and we’re just a couple of minutes in. “A Necessary Evil” delivers a more restrained version of the Zodiac N Black sound, complete with a guitar solo initially built around a pedal note theme before becoming something almost Hendrix-like. The band demonstrates in this fairly lengthy song that there’s more to them than just chorus-verse-chorus as passages segue neatly into one another.
“Only The Lonely” swaggers and sways, showcasing a big bass sound, while “The Joke Is On Us” sees the Soundgarden influence show through. “Better Off Dead” contrasts space with density in its arrangement, its thundering riff underpinning the chorus. If this album had been released on vinyl, it’s the song that would be the climax to side 1, the one that makes you want to flip the thing over and listen to side 2.
“The Aftermyth” continues to deliver quality song after quality song, whether it’s the straight ahead rock of “Seems Like Better Times”, the restrained ballad of “Who’s The Fool (Part One)”, or the storming “Bad Pills”. Every song is a pleasure, enhanced by the warm tones of a mix by Alex Newport (The Melvins, The Mars Volta and Sepultura), and all of them need to be played loud.
Zodiac N Black have produced an essential album in “The Aftermyth”; it’s rock in the best sense of the word, music that will lift your spirits and propel them through the day. Do you yourself a favour and buy this album.