Some kind of voodoo…
Released on 25 March 2016 via Riff Rock Records and reviewed by Jason Guest
I know. It’s been out a long time. But when Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats announced they’d be on tour in December, the name of the support act rang many bells. Digging through the inbox and Vōdūn’s debut album Possessed showed up, as well as the video for ‘Mawu’. To say it was intriguing would be an understatement. Captivating would be more apt. Taking voodoo as more than an inspiration, more as their guide, Vōdūn channel the energy of the spirits, the gods and the goddesses through their “afro-tinged” trip for an incredibly compelling journey. Opening with the proclamation that possession is an honour, the ban bid us welcome to ‘Lao’s Kingdom’ to meet with the Loa in the form of the good god ‘Bondye’, the patron of healers ‘Loko’, the creator goddess ‘Mawu’ and to with dine the great elocutioner Legba at his feast. The songs shift, twist, turn and stampede their way through an always powerful, always magical and always enlightening concentrated continuum.
I remember seeing drummer Ogoun (aka Zel) playing with Pettybone in support of Retox at The Flapper in 2012 and being blown away at how fierce a drummer she was. The intensity of her performance at that gig – and across their album From Desperate Times Comes Radical Minds – was breath-taking. And here, that fire is dancing with tribal passion and emotive intensity, shifting the tracks onward with a determined and unwavering spirit and underpinning the phenomenal riffs that guitarist Marassa chucks out. He’s got the power of metal, he’s got the grooves of rock, he’s got a blues-tinged sense of soul and melody, and he’s got a distinct sense of dynamic control that means he can shift across the sonic spectrum effortlessly and add many a shapeshifting colour to each of the mighty tracks. And at the front is the enigmatic Oya. Soulful, captivating and commanding, her vocals are extraordinary, her range as broad and as beautiful as her soulful delivery. And together, this trio make one hell of a racket.
There’s little if anything to find fault with here. All of the tracks – and I mean all of them – dig deep and linger long. The band let the music take them where it needs to go and the diversity across Possessed is matched by the adept musicianship that they bring to every single moment of this accomplished piece of work. An astounding debut, make sure you catch them on tour with Uncle Acid in December. And if you don’t, make sure you catch them sometime soon. If they’re as good live as they are on record – which I suspect they will be – they are a band not to be missed. In the meantime, buy this.
9 out of 10
- Loa’s Kingdom
- Legba’s Feast
- Minos Army
- Kanpay Rejete