Following hotly on the heels of 2014’s acclaimed ‘Sonic Child’, German hard rockers Zodiac return with their forth studio effort ‘Grain Of Soul’. With a sound steeped in the stoner / grunge arena, Zodiac burst with swagger and confidence, on this collection of catchy, well-structured ditties. The band have been around since 2010, and were formed in Munster, Germany by guitarist and vocalist Nick Van Delft and drummer Janosch Rathmer. Since then they’ve built up a solid and loyal fan base, who will be more than happy with their latest offering.
From the opening chords of ‘Rebirth By Fire’ the listener is grabbed by a groove laden riff and a hooky chorus which demands full attention with a swift slap from the speakers. There's some superb drumming from Rathmer who manages to hold down the track solidly while at the same time showcasing his unquestionable talent.
‘Animal’ powers along with a Zeppelin-style feel and a sing along chorus, before halfway through turning into something that would sit very comfortably in therapy with Andy Cairns’ black book of riffs.
Although powerhouse riffing is their forte, Zodiac prove that they’re not prepared to be easily pigeonholed with ‘Follow You’, which is forged on a more rounded classic rock sound, conjures Bad Company with it's melodies and bluesy guitar solo courtesy of Stephan Gall.
It’s vocalist Van Delft who shines on ‘Down’ however, with his haunting vocals dominating over a grungey, jangling guitar sound. It's most definitely a stand out moment on the album, as is ‘Faithless’; a bouncy, jump around number with more great musicianship and more hooks than a butcher’s shop!
Revealing a variety of influences, elsewhere, ‘Crow’ kicks off with a spaghetti western influenced intro, where rattlesnakes and tumble weeds populate the desert of Zodiac’s deepest, darkest thoughts. In contrast, ‘Ain't Coming Back’ has an AC/DC neck aching groove that has the listener nodding along in approval, with ‘Get Out’ continuing in a similar vein, adding a fist-pumping chorus and an infectious beat.
With a slick production from Arne Neurand ensuring that the listener doesn't miss a sonic nuance from the beginning to end, there's definitely more than a ‘Grain Of Soul’ to Zodiac’s work. It's not very often that a hard rock album has something for everyone but these Germans have gone a long way in achieving that here. A sign of greatness to come.
By Lee Kendrick on 12th July 2016.
'Grain Of Soul' is released on 29th July, via Napalm Records.