Review : Voodoo Blood – ‘Fresh Hell’ EP

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One of the most hotly tipped underground bands in the UK, with their latest release Voodoo Blood show why they should be going supernova soon. Coming on like the soundtrack of a very dirty boxing match in New Orleans with a Hammer Horror theme ‘Fresh Hell’ will tear your limbs off and then beat you to death with the bloody stumps. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an all-out bruiser that will steamroller you into submission but the next step in the evolution of a band that mixes visceral blues and heavy music in a tasty gumbo that has more twists, turns and thrills than a giant rollercoaster.

‘Brain’ kicks off the ep with a sinister atmosphere and gentle guitar picking opening with lead singer Kim Jennett’s haunting voice before taking off with a galloping riff that leads to a catchy chorus. With power rippling out of the speakers this track will absolutely kill live. The vocals flit between pain, sweetness and venom and sound absolutely possessed. This real switching of styles reaches to the guitar too as Sean Owen’s playing on the solo border on something akin to David Gilmour after all the heavy work before. The overall whole is a totally full blooded (no pun intended) musical maelstrom and is one heck of an opening track.

Following that, ‘Dirt’ features a fuzzy riff as cymbals are gently used underneath before launching into another rapid-fire riff. Again, the vocals are virtually feral and the swaggering, snarling feel of the song is brought to a bouncy end like the dance of victory at the end of the afore mentioned boxing match. You get the very real feeling that these guys are real contenders and have the swagger and confidence matched with a real ability that makes them stand out. For a band so relatively young Voodoo Blood come across as lean, hungry and incredibly determined to make their mark. Two outstanding tracks in and they’re certainly not finished with you yet.

There are echoes of one of Americas greatest rock bands Clutch in ‘I Go to Bed (when the sun comes up)’. Once more proudly swaggering it displays its shimmering heavy rock riffs and the pounding drums and bass of rhythm section Chris Norris and Will Lewis to huge effect. On top of those is the Southern Baptist fervor of Kim’s vocals which is so reminiscent in passion of the brilliant Neil Fallon, Clutch’s fearless leader.  The song twists and turns with a bruising intensity that both captures the imagination and also excites with it’s pure adrenalin rush of power.

Finally, we come to ‘Mean’ which shows a little of the bands love for Led Zeppelin, coming over as it does as a modern rock blues fronted by a prowling street angel. Make no mistake, this is heavy but with such highs and lows to keep it far away from a run of the mill rocker. At times crushing, the music is accompanied by an otherworldly vocal performance by Kim that takes us from the darkest pits to the soaring heights. All four members of the band absolutely put their all into this and it shows. Whilst Kim has rightly been called ‘’the finest female rock and blues singer in the country’’ it’s the perfect mix with her brothers in arms Sean, Chris and Will that truly bring the magic to what Voodoo Blood do. ‘Fresh Hell’ is a vital purchase to anyone who loves music and a great snapshot of a band on the verge of the big time, perfectly capturing the truly ferocious experience of seeing them play live. Get it now!

Words : Paul Monkhouse

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