Hiding Place, the second full length release from Germany’s Zodiac, is a solid follow-up to the band’s 2012 debut record, A Bit of Devil. The band’s sophomore release picks up right where A Bit of Devil left off. Right from the album’s outset, listeners are transported back in time to the golden era of real rock and roll and taken on a musical trip that would impress even older listeners that lived through that great age. The band gets so much right throughout all nine of the songs collected for this record. From the soaring guitar solos of Stephen Gall and front man Nick van Delft to Janosch Rathmer’s almost John Bonham-esque drumming to bassist Ruben Claro’s solid bass lines, so much can be said of this record. Even the album’s lyrical side is noteworthy. The band’s musicianship and lyrical finesse together make every song on this record a joy. It would be impossible to examine each and every song. Though, a few examples might work. And what better place to start than with the album’s opener, ‘Downtown?”
‘Downtown’ is everything that makes blues-driven rock and roll so great. It is bound to be a fan favorite with its straight forward energy and blues-based guitar riffs. What makes this song so outstanding is the fact that just as with so many classic rock favorites, the band has made this more than just another rock song. It’s a two-parter, with the first half being an anthem for a Saturday night on the town. That’s especially the case considering that the band sings in the song’s chorus, “Bright lights are shining/Big city diamond/Where are you now…We’re going downtown/Where nobody knows your name.” The chorus set against the song’s musical energy will loosen up even the person who has had the toughest of work weeks. The jam session that makes up the song’s second half instantly conjures thoughts of rock’s greatest age. One can close one’s eyes, take in the music, and see the band onstage jamming out together, and feeding off of the energy shared by its audiences in this segment of the song. All of it together makes ‘Downtown’ the perfect choice to open the album.
‘Downtown’ is the perfect opener for Hiding Place. It is certain to get any listener up and moving whether in their living room or with friends. Just as certain to get listeners moving is the album’s third song, ‘Under My Bed.’ All four members of the band contribute their own element to make this song a hit. The truly interesting thing about this song is how much vocalist Nick van Delft sounds like blues great Stevie Ray Vaughan in this song. Bassist Ruben Claro’s funk-infused bass lines set against the SRV style guitar solos make this song stand out even more. That’s not to discount drummer Janosch Rathmer’s work. He keeps time through the song, not missing a beat as he adds his own flair to it. As with ‘Downtown’ it would be easy to see this driving blues-based rocker being just as much of a fan favorite both on the album and in concert.
So much can be noted of the songs on Hiding Place as one can tell by now. It would take far too long to examine each and every song on this record. Though at least one more example can be shared showing what listeners can expect from this record. That last example lies in the album’s penultimate song, ‘I Wanna Know.’ This song doesn’t have the same energy as ‘Downtown’ or ‘Under My Bed.’ It does boast its own energy and feel, though. This is actually a good thing. It’s good in that it proves the band’s slower songs can be just as enjoyable as those more up-tempo numbers. What’s more, its contemplative lyrics are just as certain to catch listeners’ attention. Van Delft sings in this song, ‘I wanna know/How my soul/Brought me on my knees/I wanna know/What to do/In times like these.” The slightly slower yet equally hard musical side helps to illustrate the emotion that the band attempts to translate to listeners. It’s one more part of the album that makes the whole presentation so fun for anyone that is a fan of pure, guitar driven rock and roll. It’s not all that listeners have to look forward to, either. The songs note noted here are just worthy of checking out, too. The album is available now in stores and online. Fans can also get a chance to hear the band’s music in person, too as the band tours in support of Hiding Place. The band is currently in the midst of a European tour. It will kick off the U.S. leg of its tour beginning November 14th in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The band will make a tour stop in North Carolina on Saturday, December 7th at Amos Southend in Charlotte. The concert is scheduled for a 7pm start time. More tour dates and news from the band is available online at http://www.facebook.com/Zodiac.Rock and http://www.zodiac-rock.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.