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Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction - "We Are Volsung" (CD)

Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction - "We Are Volsung" CD cover image

"We Are Volsung" track listing:

1. We Ride
2. Stark Von Oben
3. Kill Me a Mockinbird
4. Tree Rider
5. We Are Volsung
6. Don't Touch My Guitar
7. Die Pretty
8. Lucille
9. White Trash
10. Key to Your Heart

Reviewed by on December 29, 2010

"'We Are Volsung' is hardly a perfect album, but there are worse ways to while away half an hour for fans of '80s sleaze rock."

Once again defying their hippy-dippy name, Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction has returned with another disc full of attitude-laden lyrics and sleazy riffs served up with an occasional side of Southern-fried slide. Sure, "We Are Volsung," like the rest of the band's releases, more than flirts with parody — there are plenty of Spinal Tap moments here — but it's occasionally a suitably mighty rocker nonetheless.

I'm not sure whether Zodiac Mindwarp (aka Mark Manning) is commenting on metal's more Nordic turn, criticizing or embracing it on the title track, "We Are Volsung." Nonetheless, it's a less-than-subtle swing of the warhammer, embracing Viking savagery in both the lyrics and in Cobalt Stargazer's razor-sharp riffing.

You needn't worry about the band abandoning the sleaze rock it made its reputation with. The band certainly embraces it on "Key To Your Heart," in which Mindwarp croons of seducing the daughter of a woman he once cast aside, telling her "you can call me daddy." "White Trash" embraces moonshine whiskey and "America's least wanted," and gives bassist Jack Shitt a quick moment in the sun.

Unfortunately, there are some silly songs that go way over the top, proving to be needlessly offensive or just plain stupid. "Lucille" initially starts out as what could be a clever parody of the fact that all the women with that name in popular music seem to be on the faithless side, but when Mindwarp reacts that "I'm gonna kill ya," it feels needlessly misogynist, falling just beyond the band's stated realm of parody. On the other hand, "Don't Touch My Guitar" is a just plain dumb retread of "Blue Suede Shoes" themes that even name-checks the famous Carl Perkins rockabilly number.

Despite its mere 31-minute length, the big-chorus rock format starts to wear a little thin by the end, with many of the songs starting to blend together. Not much separates songs like "Die Pretty" and "Stark von Oben" except for the lyrics.

Still, there's no denying that Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction knows how to get the toes tapping when the band kicks it into gear. "We Are Volsung" is hardly a perfect album, but there are worse ways to while away half an hour for fans of '80s sleaze rock.

Highs: "We Are Volsung," "White Trash" and "Key To Your Heart"

Lows: "Don't Touch My Guitar," "Lucille" and "Die Pretty"

Bottom line: The '80s sleaze rock schtick goes a little too over the top on this one.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

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)