Zodiac Mindwarp…: We Are Volsung

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Zodiac Mindwarp…: We Are Volsung
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Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction: We Are Volsung
Hard Rock
SPV Records
October 12th, 2010
Release length: 31:39
Myspace
At first glimpse, chances are good a lot of people will either pass by Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction‘s latest release, We Are Volsung, just by the name of the band along. That, or a lot will buy this release expecting some kind of Sludge or Stoner band. Well, that’s not quite the case here. Actually, Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction has been in existence since the mid eighties, and, in the UK, has seen a lot of success with their signature large-sounding Hard Rock that could very well be mistaken for a Stoner Rock act that would appeal to the eyes of fans of bands like Monster Magnet, but brings in classic larger guitar riffs (the only real way to explain this music) in the vain of AC/DC.

Another thing that may throw people off with this album is the title, We Are Volsung, which even confused me. After a quick web query to comprehend the title, the definition of a Volsung was revealed to be: “In Norse mythology, Völsung was murdered by the Geatish king Siggeir and avenged by one of his sons, Sigmund and his daughter Signy who was married to Siggeir. Völsung was the common ancestor of the ill-fortuned clan of the Volsungs, including the greatest of Norse heroes, Sigurd.” With that explanation, the title track of this song makes perfect sense and nicely accomodates the lyrical content, which sprawls traditional Hard Rock topics of Rock, women, and a general advisory to not touch personal property. However, there are some lyrics here that fit the more artsy form of the band’s music through it’s larger then normal sounding music, such as “Stark Von Oben” and the aforementioned title track “We Are Volsung”. At first, “Stark Von Oben” is a bit of a rocky start by the vocal performance that accompanies an atmospheric guitar performance of simple chords that have a wiping distortion to them that varies between the left and right speaker, but once the song kicks in, the performance makes sense, the song becomes very catchy in it’s somewhat dirty sounding Hard Rock performance.

The only problem with this release is that sometimes the music just starts to get a bit repetitive. Much of the guitar chords performed don’t really move at a different pace, unless there is a slower pace section to build up the music, but even then that appears quite often through the album, such as with “Stark Von Oben” and “Tree Rider”. Most of the songs follow a somewhat dirty, hard hitting feeling that goes at a mid-tempo pace for the main verses and bridges, though the latter can sometimes become a little slower, and the vocal performance can vary, though traditionally comes off a little rougher, then the chorus becomes a little catchier, though never getting lighter then the atmosphere the verses give, but the vocals seem to become a little cleaner to match the overall catchiness, while performing a very simple chorus which traditionally involves a heavy emphasis on repeating the song title, and then another line or alternate lyrics. As far as the songs go, they’re all good, but “Key to your Heart” comes up a little bland, feeling more like a filler song then anything, lacking any of the real bite and over-the-top Rock music that makes the rest of the album so enjoyable and different.

The general mood of the album does wind up swinging to a more glam sound once you hit the track “White Trash”. While the harder sound that adorns the earlier tracks sounds great, these more upbeat tracks traditionally are more fun to listen to, and clearly are meant to try to hook the listener. “Don’t Touch my Guitar” is a great example of this, utilizing a rather simple performance through the song, but belting into a somewhat faster, more upbeat Hard Rock sound, which is dwarfed by the very talented guitar solo that goes at one of the faster paces the album gets to see. The song also features a nod to Elvis in both the lyrics, as well as in the vocal performance itself, which sounds nice for the way the track is actually set up at the start, having a much slower and emptier sound that builds up the chorus without sounding bland or as if it’s missing something. Of course, the band is not afraid to take these more upbeat tracks, which is evidenced by the lyrics of “Lucille”, which is about a woman by that name with another man, leading to threats of violence and murder, as well as some strong vulgarity, though the latter appears at other times through the CD as well.

While there’s a lot of Hard Rock acts out there fighting for the spotlight, both new and old, Zodiac Mindwarp & The Lov Reaction has a solid larger than life sound to their music that works well at creating a heavy, dirty, yet sometimes upbeat and catchy album. While it’s somewhat repetitive in nature, just about every song is bathed in classic Hard Rock compositions that sometimes go farther into an intellectual, artsy approach than simply fun music to drink and sing along to. We Are Volsung is a must for fans of Hard Rock, or even Stoner Rock for that matter, as there is plenty of material through the album that does pay homage to the bands of that time, but also expands on them nicely. This makes a nice jump on point for music lovers looking for something invigorating, yet long lasting, which perfectly describes this release from Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction.

01. Stark Von Oben – 4:01
02. We are Volsung – 4:17
03. We Ride – 3:20
04. Tree Rider – 2:33
05. White Trash – 2:40
06. Don’t Touch My Guitar – 2:52
07. Lucille – 2:13
08. Die Pretty – 2:58
09. Key to your Heart – 2:38
10. Kill Me a Mockingbird – 4:06
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by SPV Records.