Zodiac ’N’ Black @ Camden Rock

With Leonardo DC, Tank Trap and Dead Mans Crossing
19th May 2011

Review by Danny Draper, Photography by Jo Blackened – Altercarnated Photography

I had a funny feeling tonight was going to be one of those nights that was going to be long but thoroughly enjoyable. A few minor complications were over come and me and my photographer Jo got the venue and plonked ourselves down with a drink. The venue was…Small shall we say! It used to be a nightclub of sorts but now it seems, is trying to become more of a live venue. It is sort of like a very clean and new New Cross Inn! That said the first act of the evening took to the stage.

Leonardo DC
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A very composed acoustic set from a gifted songwriter. It was short and sweet but filled with lyrical prowess. His guitar playing was quite mesmerising, he has a keen early for melody and moving it around on the guitar, making a simple four chord song sound like a masterpiece! He started off to a small crowd, but by the end, he had our attention and it’s a shame there were not more people here. But keep an eye out for this man at other clubs and bars, I’m sure he’ll be playing and entertaining bigger crowds soon!

4/5

Tank Trap
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I hope I have the name right, it was said over feedback! These guys started off really well, the opening song reminded me of RATM but with more of a southern kick to it, which I enjoyed. When the second song kicked off with a harmonica intro they proved their worth as a great southern blues group with a heavy dissonant edge.

The singer, Jad, has great presence along with a guitarist who is quite virtuosic, providing a harder metal edge to their sound. Sadly, to my dismay their attraction wore off towards the end, it just became a bit run of the mill, a spark had gone out, I just didn’t feel there was anything new in it. But, there is no denying that they are a good band with some very powerful songs. 3.5/5

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Dead Mans Crossing
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This was a bit more of my cup of tea, even though I was drinking Guinness! This was more heavy rock with a Progressive feel to it; dare I say a bit Led Zeppy?! Rolling bass lines and driving riffs, they also had one with a staccato feel to it; it went great with the vox! The drumming was superb, especially on the song 2.0. Also, single Tears of a Deadman, released six months ago, was a really good driving rock song, bordering Crue and Nickelback vibe, but in a good way without the cheesy vox.

Their singer has a great voice and is backed up well by bassist… who has a great traditional rock bass sound; full, rounded and warm. The guitars are great, especially the cleans with the transition to distortion sounding seamless, which at this level can make all the difference to propel yourself to the next stage. They also have a metallic edge which is awesome; the solo work proves this and is skilfully woven. After an amp malfunction they got back on track with another lead driven ballad to close the set with. A very well written song, with great vocal melodies.

A top band in my opinion, someone mentioned A Perfect Circle-Esque, which I would not deny, it had its moments. They play a great descending riff while they do the band introduction that became a very good lead out, one of the best I’ve heard in a while! 4/5

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Zodiac’N’Black
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From a quiet opening to full on rock! One of the stand-out factors of these guys is originality; it oozes from them, especially the front man Jad. He has a great voice and isn’t too bad when it comes to dishing out some guitar work. I think it was on A Necessary Evil with the Amplifier esque laid back groove that really kicked a good note with me, but Bad Pills was a big winner for me, some of the best bass lines I’ve heard in a while, weaving and pulsating.

Jad’s presence is awesome, total front man perfection without the ego. And may I say he has a Morrison swagger about him. In fact it does have some moments where you may think it’s a bit like the Doors, but it’s cranked up by about ten tonight! I’m a bit of an ethereal/stoner fan and A Necessary Evil did it for me in that sense, it was awesome.

The crowd are right into these guys as well, it’s plenty packed and everyone’s getting down and doing their own thing to this desert rhythm while watching these guys play and amazing set. “Lights on Blues” is an absolute foot stomper! How these guys are unsigned is tragic, they deserve bigger stages and deserve to be heard. I think we’re all very lucky to have witnessed tonight, I have a funny feeling that they won’t be playing stages of this size for too long. I think that if this is where hard rock is going, the futures looking bright with these guys part of the wave.

With Bastinado from the EP closing the set and being able to meet and greet the guys, who were very hospitable, they leave the stage to rapturous applause. These guys are in line for the big time. 5/5

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