EP Review: Voodoo Vegas - Hypnotise
Voodoo Vegas are not only an excellent hard working rock band, but seemingly also get the constantly changing market for music distribution that any musician must face in modern times. Today you can place demos and singles across You Tube, I-Tunes and many other digital delivery formats, making the fight to keep things fresh with your fan base much more difficult then it was ten years prior.
It was with that in mind that Voodoo Vegas released a new four song EP entitled Hypnotise between their first LP, The Rise of Jimmy Silver and their second album, which when it arrives will tie together the story of Jimmy already told across the first LP and indeed, Hypnotise. The release allowed the band to stay in touch with their fans by giving them something new to listen to while the band themselves continue to tour and hone their craft.
Title track Hypnotise starts off the EP with a burst of classic hard rock heaviness with vocals that immediately pull you into Voodoo Vegas' world of blues heavy rock and roll. This is the one that could probably make the air waves, and with good reason. It is a solid single that checks all the boxes for a hit: Great riff? Check. Dynamics? Check. Seriously, this is the kind of track that could really take off if given the air play time it deserves to grow on the ears of the general public. It has that right mix of honest expression of feelings we all go through at some point and catchy hooks that have made many a great song into a hit.
Tied Up continues the sonic assault and again I like this track a lot, it works on many levels from the Bruce Dickinson like vocals to the excellent solo. This one seems to be one one for the fans who will see Voodoo Vegas live as you can just imagine people yelling 'Tied Up!' in unison at gigs. If I have a niggle with this track it is the mixing. While the track Hypnotise put the guitars in your face, Tied Up seems to lose them slightly in the background. I wanted to hear those palm muted 'chugs' in my face between the main meat of the riff. It is a small thing as the song itself is good but I felt the guitar sound was a bit lost and it would have made the song 'pop' more then it does in it's current form.
Round and Round keeps the energy going with a kick drum/rhythm intro that quickly speeds up into some bluesy mayhem, although the composition itself does indeed seem a bit cliché and perhaps not anything groundbreaking, the song does it in a way that is more of a homage to the classic rock/blues/metal fusion that has been going on since the days of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. There is also a nice wah drenched breakdown/solo section that really ups the ante as far as dynamics go. This is the kind of thing I really enjoy hearing a band do, be it monoliths like Metallica in modern classics like The Four Horsemen or The Wildhearts on tracks like Miles Away Girl, to take a heavy riff and drift into something totally different in tone and feel from the rest of the song.
A great number of bands today think you have to go ten thousand miles an hour all the time to create excitement in a heavy song so it nice to see a younger band that gets that sometimes changing the timing, speed and flow of a song, even one that is heavy, fast and upfront, really adds another dimension to the sound.
The fourth and final track is Killing Joke, in what seems is a tribute to DC Comics Batman baddie, the Joker, being that the title is the name of a popular graphic novel featuring the iconic villain from 1998 (This kind of reference is not a surprise as comic book artist Jim Boswell drew the EP's cover art).
There are also some decent 'Joker-isms' in the lyrics of Killing Joke such as the infamous line 'Dance with the devil in the pale moonlight' from the 1989 Tim Burton film with Jack Nicholson as the Jokerand 'Why so Serious?,' which of course came from the excellent semi-recent Batman film The Dark Knight with the late Heath Ledger in the role of the Crown Prince of Crime. Beyond geeky comic book references though, the song is also pretty powerful in it's own right, with a flanger heavy opening riff that quickly transitions into a fast moving and well executed track fitting to close this excellent effort. Sadly much like Tied Up I feel the 'weight' of the power chords were kind of left lacking in the final mix, as they should be as said right there in your face, front and center.
Despite my slight annoyance with some of the mixing, Hypnotise is a great EP that should keep Voodoo Vegas' fans tied up and hypnotised until their next album length release.