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Voodoo Circle - "Voodoo Circle" (CD)

Voodoo Circle - "Voodoo Circle" CD cover image

"Voodoo Circle" track listing:

1. Spewing Lies (4:57)
2. Desperate Heart (5:04)
3. Kingdom Of the Blind (5:34)
4. Man And Machine (4:06)
5. Master Of Illusion (6:49)
6. We'll Never Learn (6:20)
7. Dream Of Eden (6:05)
8. Heaven Can Wait (4:57)
9. Angels Will Cry (3:51)
10. Enter My World Of Darkness (4:43)
11. White Lady Requiem (6:13)

Reviewed by on March 21, 2009

"The former tour guitarist for Primal Fear is a mastermind, working his way toward the notoriety of Uli Jon Roth and Yngwie Malmsteen."

Guitar enthusiasts know they’re getting something good if German guitarist Alex Beyrodt is involved. The former tour guitarist for Primal Fear is a mastermind, working his way toward the notoriety of Uli Jon Roth and Yngwie Malmsteen. So when he decided to form Voodoo Circle, it came as no surprise that their debut, self-titled album would cater toward fellow guitarists.

The album is rife with neoclassic medleys, but there is also plenty of hardcore and shred style fingering as well. Whether you’re a fan of Uli Jon Roth, Slash, or Eddie Van Halen, there’s probably something that will impress you in the finger work on this album. The opener, "Spewing Lies," is an exceptional example of how Voodoo Circle combines different guitar styles. And with the exception of "Master Of Illusion," which joins the ranks of tunes with an opening that mimics "Kashmir," the other pieces are all original and unique.

Speed metal fans should appreciate "Kingdom Of The Blind," and those with a fondness for asian-themed music can look to "Dream Of Eden" and "Enter My World Of Darkness." While the backup vocals in "Dream Of Eden" are a bit off key, lyrically, it’s the best on the album. "Enter My World Of Darkness" is a nice combo of asian, funk, and neoclassic, and vocals that are very similar to the Lithuanian power metal band, Thundertale.

Vocally, the album is more melodic and classic, with a strong similarity to Dio on the heavier tunes, and Dokken on the lighter ones. There’s also a similarity to Dokken’s epic style of coursing vocals and lengthy guitar highlights that lead you back again to a final rendering of the chorus. Most of the time this technique works, but in "Master Of Illusion," there’s nearly two full minutes that should have been cut off the end to avoid monotony.

The closer, "White Lady Requiem," is a good way to end the album, because it focuses on what Beyrodt knows. It’s an instrumental piece that sounds like a lost track from Uli Jon Roth’s "Under A Dark Sky," with its gut-wrenching guitars, and the absence of pop vocals that make the rest of the album mediocre. It’s not that "Voodoo Circle" is a bad album, but unless you’re an aspiring guitarist, there’s nothing particularly fantastic about it either.

Highs: Quality neoclassic guitar woven throughout the album.

Lows: Synthesizer openings are outdated and annoying.

Bottom line: If you’re a guitar enthusiast, you’ll want to pick it up. Others may be a bit disappointed.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)