The new album ‘Simulation Game’ has been released today from Voodoo Six and it is a slab of intense Heavy Metal which elevates the band above the high standards of which they have been known for in the past. And in great style too.
Voodoo Six – Simulation Game (Explorer1)
Release Date: 16 October 2020
Words: Steve Ritchie
Formed in 2003, the band has featured Judas Priest’s Richie Faulkner in the past. Long standing bassist and songwriter Tony Newton still leads from the front, with his contributions as live recording engineer and most recently as producer for Iron Maiden, as well as joining KK’s Priest taking up slabs of his time.
Joining Newton is Matt Pearce and Tom Gentry on guitars, with Joe Lazarus on drums and Nik Taylor-Stoakes on vocals.
‘Simulation Game’ is the follow up to 2017’s ‘Make Way for the King’, which was the first vinyl outing for new vocalist Nik Taylor-Stoakes.
And what a massive difference two years makes.
Unlike it’s predecessor, ‘Simulation Game’ was written with the vocal style of Taylor-Stokes in mind, as we found out in a recent interview and, by the power of grayskull, the result is ten tracks of glorious gold.
Opener ‘The Traveller’ will be familiar to anyone who saw the band playing with British Lion on tour at the fag end of 2019. A electrifying up tempo rocker of a track, you can enjoy the opening riff for 45 seconds before the harmonised vocals crack in and immediately, you can feel the difference those two years made.
The track has a glorious, slower paced chorus and later in the track you get a brief first introduction to the newer element – the strings.
Recorded by a real violinist and not some computer chip based entity, the strings appear often throughout the album, never overbearing, but leaving a layer of class over each piece.
The fantastic ‘Gone Forever’ follows, with a chorus memorable enough to leave you humming it for the rest of the day. If you imagine Bon Jovi, when they were at the top of their game and JBJ could actually sing, then add a sprinkle of vocal Heaviness and some better guitar solos, then you are in the ball park.
The string opening of ‘Lion and a Thief’ sucks you in, before the Heavy guitar and drums kick in and you realise you are in Heavy Metal Heaven. A dual paced track, this is another perfect example of how writing for Taylor-Stoakes’ range has elevated the band to another level.
‘Inherit My Shadow’ leads in to ‘Last To Know’, full of excellent string led chorus lines, menacing guitar driven verses and a superb guitar solo.
In ‘Never Beyond Repair’ you have a slower paced ballad, but with grit and meaning, which showcases the musical abilities of the whole band wonderfully.
Taylor-Stokes told us: “It’s very hard with a ballad, in not trying to come across as overly sincere. I didn’t want to come over as corny, or with your stereotypical ‘80’s Hair Metal ballad. But, then again, it’s got something to say. It’s got a poignant message, that people deal with, that I’ve dealt with.
“Its something quite important and I felt I needed to talk about it.”
Closing out with the trio of ‘Brake’ (check out the guitars in last two minutes of this), ‘Control’ (with the thundering verses and superbly fitting solos) and ‘One Of Us’ (a pedal-pushing gem of Heavy Metal), you are left invigorated with this Voodoo Six offering.
In ‘Simulation Game’ Voodoo Six are fully fledged contenders. The album is varied, Heavy and a superb example of what a well balanced group can put together when working as a team in a solid line up.
This means, for me, another adjustment to my ‘album of the year’ list.
Liar and a Thief
Inherit My Shadow
Last To Know
Never Beyond Repair
One Of Us
Nik Taylor-Stoakes – Vocals
Matt Pearce – Guitar
Tom Gentry – Guitar
Tony Newton – Bass
Joe Lazarus – Drums