If I say Romania and music it’s not the first thing that pops into your head, I get it. I can give you one reason to think of music now, and that is up and coming band The Voodoo Child. Different elements come into play here but think of a hard rock band that taps into the blues pool with an affinity for 70’s metal, 80’s rock, and current hard rock. They also combine an excellent guitarist with a great vocalist who can hopefully continue to develop and make a name for themselves. That is not a shot at the rhythm section who form the backbone of the music, but the guitarist and singer are the ones most likely to get pushed to the initial forefront a la Page/ Plant, Richards/ Jagger, and maybe in the future Cerbu/ Apostol (Rockmina). Ironically, the first song I heard by this band is the last song on the album thanks to a fortunate YouTube recommendation, and it has remained one of my favorites from the album.

Let’s start at the beginning though with ‘The Stalker’ where the first thing we hear is Rockmina telling the band to play her tune. This song has been a bit of a slow burner for me as the band combines a bit of a stop-and-go approach between verses and choruses. The initial spoken vocal when the music starts doesn’t provide proper warning to the vocals that are to come. Between the excellent lead guitar riffs and the rhythm section, they give Rockmina a stage to serve up a plethora of different voices from a raging scream to a soft touch at the end. It would likely not have been my lead track here, but it does set the stage for the album.  ‘Poison’ features a great riff and turns the speed up a few notches. Rockmina’s attitude shines through in the vocals with the band grinding down to showcase a catchy chorus. Andrei Cerbu again provides a great riff transitioning out of the chorus to set up the next verse. The mellow breakdown in the middle of the song really takes the song to a whole other level by providing a great sense of dynamics. The guitar solo is phenomenal and makes this a standout song on the album.

The band finds a cool groove to establish ‘Mirror Mirror’ with Robert Ciubotaru (bass) and Teodor Cusnir (drums) getting an opportunity to shine. This song has a catchy chorus but also showcases a challenge on the record. The production is a bit rough and sometimes distracts from the songs as the drums here could have really popped in the mix. Instead, the song feels a bit more like a glossed-up demo. A producer also could have told the band the very short, rapped section by Cerbu should have either been scrapped or done differently. ‘Lost Train’ finds the band returning to excellence all around with a hard rocker that provides several hooks and reminds me a bit of Dorothy. Rockmina showcases excellent bluesy vocals that have a perfect touch of rasp to them. The lead work by Cerbu shines in the mix and closes the first half of the album on a high note.

The Voodoo Child shoot big to start the second half of the album with eyes on a Led Zeppelin style epic called ‘Summer Rain’ that is filled with a mellow start and end that sandwiches a ferocious beast of a middle section. I think my favorite part here is that Rockmina gets a chance to sing with softness and finesse as her voice glides over the music. The music slowly builds through the first chorus and then the song turns into a locomotive that again allows Rockmina to showcase her range before winding down for the end. This song also allows Cerbu a chance to showcase his guitar work. A ticking clock and exquisite guitar licks introduce ‘Stuck in Time.’ Vocally, this is another incredible piece of work with a bit of a power ballad feel. When I say power ballad, please think more 70’s style or early 80’s European style and not the standard hair metal style. Even with a bit of a muddy mix, this song is tremendous and one of my favorites of the album.

After the previous two songs, the band set a very high bar to end the album. The final one-two punch on the album is perfect. ‘Rise Again’ has likely become my favorite on the album because it is an absolute monster of a song. Cerbu’s work throughout the song is on another level with riffs that cut deep. The middle part of the song reminds me a bit of the quiet section of Whitesnake’s ‘Still of the Night.’ This leads to a more powerful guitar solo that makes it impossible for me to not go into air guitar mode. The band comes back to the main riff and Rockmina’s vocals sound otherworldly. Not just a favorite on the album, this is one of my favorite songs of 2024. Closing out the album is the first song I heard by the band with the hard-rocking blues of ‘I’m a Criminal.’ I love the feel of the song and the stellar drum work by Cusnir. Vocally, Rockmina’s vocals complement the song perfectly. The song also features excellent guitar work and solo by Cerbu.

While the album is not perfect, this serves as an excellent introduction by the Voodoo Child and should provide some progress into a global market. Ironically, I think I would like the album even more if I switched the running order and went from the closer to the opener. As I was listening to the album over the past couple of weeks, I acknowledged to myself that there will likely be a day when some of these songs get a chance to have a more professional recording and mix… and many of us will still prefer these rougher versions. It amazes me that Frontiers Records has not done everything possible to sign this band with the label showing some more diversity over the past few years. I can’t wait to hear more original music from the Voodoo Child.

‘From the Dark’ is available now.

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Author: Gerald Stansbury