Supersonic Blues Machine: Voodoo Nation Review

Renowned for their gritty take on the enthralling blues-rock which dominated the early to mid-1960s, Supersonic Blues Machine’s consistent output and memorable live performances have seen the band amass a loyal, dedicated fanbase. With bassist Fabrizio Grossi maintaining his role as producer, and drummer Kenny Aronoff being on formidable form, it should come as no surprise that the band has been heralded as one of the genre’s very best. Taking this into account, alongside the return of English frontman Kris Barras, the release of Voodoo Nation ensures the California based trio are back with a vengeance – with their third studio album arguably their most visceral to date.

Along with his infectious, husky vocals which eminently compliment the bluesy rhythms, Kris brings along with him hunger, desire and a background in Hard Rock, whose urgency can be felt right from the off. “Money” kickstarts the album in destructive fashion, with the overdriven guitar riffs and cries of “give me some money” instantly presenting a more snappish side to the band than that of the hippy-funkadelic vibe of 2017’s Californisoul. This urgency remains a prevalent feature throughout Voodoo Nation, and is even acknowledged by the band themselves on the assertive, in-your-face, “Get It Done” featuring Josh Smith. While not necessarily as dark or sinister as some of the other tracks, Kris’ shredding riffs and insistent chorus of “Get it done, do it now, no matter how” ensures there remains a bite about the track, of which is surely a procrastinator’s nightmare!

Thematically, Voodoo Nation undoubtedly contains darker undertones than its predecessors, a factor appropriately complemented by the densely blistering production, which feels pent up with rage. Topics such as lust and temptation are fittingly explored on the back-to-back hellishness of “8 Ball Lucy” and “Devil At The Doorstep”, the latter of which is a slow burning 8-minute epic, which features some ominous, heavily reverberated guitar work from blues legend Eric Gales. These spiritual connotations are also present on the sensational “You and Me”, where the Tony Iommi sounding vibratos are greeted with the lyrics; “you and me – we answer to a higher calling”.

Despite the noticeable shift in temperament, the trio remain true to their blues roots, once again welcoming an entire roster of iconic blues artists. Such is the case on the more acoustic, easy-going “Is It All”, where the return of Kris’ raspier vocals, and Joe Louis Walker’s mellow riffs allow Fabrizio’s groovy bass to be heard more prominently in the mix. A similar change of pace can also be observed on the closing “All Our Love”, with Kris’ vocal inflections, Kenny’s upbeat drumming and the faint sound of a harmonica inflicting a modern country vibe, which concludes the album on a more gratifying note.

All in all, Voodoo Nation sees the trio in top form, and despite the inclusion of 8 guest features, the quality remains flawless throughout. From the competent bluesy-improv, right down to the abrasive, skull-crushing riffs, Supersonic Blues Machine have released one of the most transcendent albums of 2022.

The Review: 9/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Money
– You and Me (Feat. King Solomon Hicks)
– 8 Ball Lucy (Feat. Sonny Landreth)
– Devil At The Doorstep (Feat. Eric Gales)
– I Will Let Go (Feat. Kirk Fletcher)

The Big Hit

– 8 Ball Lucy (Feat. Sonny Landreth)

Buy the album: Amazon

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