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Voodoo Circle - 'Broken Heart Syndrome' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/49/f1/06/1037_VoodooCircleBrokenHeartsyndrome_1298767259.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 27, 2011    
 
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One word: Brilliant!

Despite maintaining a continuous presence on the scene for years now, within the wider rock and metal community German guitarist Alex Beyrodt remains something of an unsung hero. Still perhaps best known for his time with Sinner or more recently Primal Fear; for more than a decade he's also dabbled with a variety of excellent side projects – most notably the all too short lived The Sygnet (with then Jaded Heart front man Michael Bormann), and the much missed Silent Force (with ex Royal Hunt vocalist DC Cooper). Commendable as both of these side projects were however, for my money it was the emergence some two years or so ago of Voodoo Circle that marked the summit of his recording career to date.

Teaming Beyrodt with Pink Cream 69 front man David Readman (and a whole host of other luminaries such as Mat Sinner, Doogie White and Rudi Sarzo) Voodoo Circle was a masterstroke, their eponymous debut a glorious step back in time to the late 70's/early 80's when the song was king. Powered by Beyrodt's compelling riffs and fluid solos, and pushed into orbit by Readman's bluesy vocal roar, 'Voodoo Circle' was like classic Rainbow reborn ... and what's more, it had a wealth of songs to back it up!

Skip forward a little over two years to the start of 2011and Voodoo Circle are back with a second smokin' hot slab of brooding hard rock in the shape of 'Broken Heart Syndrome'. Whilst the album title undoubtedly reflects Alex's very own personal statement to what he admits was a very difficult period in his life, if you were expecting something muted and reflective, all I can say is that you're in for one hell of a shock! Punchy and upbeat for the most part (although there are some great ballads too), the neo-classically infused Rainbow sound of that wonderful debut has now been broadened out to take on board a healthy dose of bluesy Whitesnake.

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Kicking off with the pulsating urgency of 'No Solution Blues' (gutsy, ball busting Whitesnake at their best enriched further with some sizzling guitar fills), Messrs Beyrodt and Readman then proceed to serve up a master class of old school hard rock at its very best. Emotive and atmospheric throughout, tasteful and dynamic ... between them Readman, Beyrodt and the rest of the Voodoo Circle crew have crafted a dozen songs which in a nutshell, will simply take your breath away. From sizzling slow burners like the utterly sublime 'Devil's Daughter' or the hypnotic 'Blind Man', to kerosene fuelled rockers like 'This Could Be Paradise' (think Rainbow meets Gotthard) and rabble rousing 'The Heavens Are Burning' (highly evocative of 'Gates Of Babylon'), you'll find yourself willing the album to finish just for the sheer joy of being able to play it again!

Mixed and mastered (like the debut) by the mighty Dennis Ward, the sound on 'Broken Heart Syndrome' is voluminous and expansive, yet delivered with the kind of clarity that enables you to detect every little subtle nuance and inflection within. Probably a tad early to be talking 'Top Ten' at this stage, but if there are ten albums better than 'Broken Heart Syndrome' this year, I for one can't wait to hear them! Brilliant!

Dave Cockett

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