Zodiac – Sonic Child (Prosthetic)

Sunday, 21st September 2014
Rating: 7/10

Retro rock is so prevalent at the present time that it starts to beg the question of where is the tipping point to where this stuff is more Allman Brothers than Led Zeppelin? It’s a valid inquiry given how sonically un-heavy some of these bands are. Granted, labels like to diversify their rosters and there’s nothing wrong with a getting a little slice of the 70s rock pie, but when listening to Zodiac’s new, hardly metal, sometimes rock, yet somewhat enjoyable Sonic Child album, it opens the door for even less interpretations of the style. (Since this paragraph was typed, five more retro bands have been signed by Nuclear Blast, so who gives a hoot?)

Last heard from by way of 2013’s A Hiding Place, the Germans take on the same approach with Sonic Child. Sweet, bluesy riffs, the affable vocal charm of Nick van Delft, and plenty of cigarette-covered grooves make up the band’s sound, which is more on fire during easy-going numbers such as the title track and “Out of the City” than the space truckin’ front of “Swinging on the Run,” “Sad Song,” and “Rock Bottom Blues,” which is the band’s obvious attempt recreating Deep Purple. Van Delft does deserve special nods for his likeable vocal exultations, some of which possess some nice depth and introspection, most notably on “Penny and a Dead Horse.”

A rising star in their German homeland (the band took home the coveted Album of the Month from Rock Hard for A Hiding Place), Zodiac may still find better success among conventional rock crowds. Because the obvious lack of girth and gritty riffs, Sonic Child places the band a few notches below some of their more metal-locked-in contemporaries. Then again, no one said you couldn’t like Credence Clearwater Revival and Slayer, right?

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