Voodoo Brother
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Voodoo Brother – Voodoo Brother

There's a reason people rock the mic whatever their genre of choice. From the word itself to the music rock conjures up energy, passion and intensity. Voodoo Brother are a prime example of this. The Cleveland, Ohio based rock band pack more substance, volume and riffs than there are Chuck Norris facts. Voodoo Brother have their self-titled five track E.P out and are ready to pound your ears in the best kind of way.

“The forefathers of Hard Rock, Stoner Rock, and Heavy Metal formed their genres for one reason and one reason only…”. This is why Voodoo Brother say they exist, and they aim to leave their mark. The opening track Tearable sets up the band’s contrast perfectly. The band are simultaneously fragile but strong. An oxymoron, but I wouldn’t say that to their faces. The lyrics speak about the fragile nature of Tearable’s subject whilst guitars dominate your ears with big riffs. Vocalist Jay manages to sound sincere whilst matching the guitars power.

Another strength of Voodoo Brother is their inventiveness. Across the five tracks they play with moods and styles to create something continually fresh in your ears. Stillwater has a heavy rock and roll feel, with a healthy injection of riffs. With a hooky groove the track draws you in before dropping big riffs that will do nice to your insides. Taking a different approach My Own Life is fuelled by aggression. From the vocals to the guitar tone this track is seeped in rage, building to a dark chorus. The venom of My Own Life is underlined by the final line. An expletive of the strongest kind, it sums up the track’s feelings. The final track on the E.P showcases the bands inventiveness the most. Let Me Grow comes in on a storm of drums and industrial guitar, giving out brooding and urgent vibes like free cookies. As you listen to vocalist Jay cry ‘Let Me Grow’ the song suddenly changes up in pace and becomes an energetic and heavy beast. Complete with some vocal harmonies the fluid nature of this track shows the imagination of the band and their desire to make something unique.

Making the songs happen are a tight and talented band. The vocals are versatile, matching the band whether the track is slow, fast or just plain angry. Adding to these are the guitars. These produce riff after riff, giving the Voodoo Brother a heavy sound which also has interesting and creative moments. A stand out moment is the riff in Still Water; it manages to be technical and frantic, and most importantly sound ace. Voodoo Brother’s slowest track Love – I Don’t Take It So Well showcases the bass. A bass heavy intro sets up the songs slow groove perfectly. Even this track has its moments though. Strong throughout, the drumming helps drive the tracks forward – sounding big in tracks such as My Own Life.

Voodoo Brother make loud but intelligent rock music. Whether you’re on your guitar music or need something to tempt you back into the fold they are a band well worth discovering. Check them out, you won’t regret it!

David Horn

Voodoo Brother
Track list
1 - Tearable
2 - My Own Life
3 - Stillwater
4 - Love, I Don't Take It So Well
5 - Let Me Grow


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David Horn
- http://www.somojomagazine.com


Cleveland-based heavy metal band Voodoo Brother is returning to Jamestown.

Voodoo Brother and Blind Society will perform at Mojo's on Friday at 8 p.m. The show will be Voodoo Brother's first Jamestown show since the band last appeared at Infinity's annual Local Music Showcase in September.

Voodoo Brother features bassist Curt Briscar, drummer David Doyle, guitarist Joe Campo and vocalist Jay Monaco. According to Briscar, Voodoo Brother started when he met Campo in 2000 and formed a band under a different name.


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"We couldn't get anything going, so we went our separate ways," said Briscar. "Then, in 2009, we decided we were going to try to make it work by finding the right guys. The biggest problem we had was finding a singer, and the hardest thing to do in Cleveland is to find someone who doesn't sound like the Cookie Monster. Everybody wants to scream, growl or yell, and if they do want to sing, they sound like Rob Halford of Judas Priest."

During the process of hosting auditions to try to find a singer, Briscar decided to put an ad out with a list of criteria that read, "If you meet any of these criteria, don't call." Within an hour of having that ad up Briscar received a call from Monaco. Monaco, who currently lives in Cleveland, is a native of Mayville, studied theater at SUNY Fredonia and graduated from Jamestown Community College in 1997. Some may also remember Monaco as a finalist in the 2008 Chautauqua Lake Idol. Monaco joined Voodoo Brother after responding to the Craigslist ad posted by Briscar.

"I thought it was a joke at first, because he sent a video from Chautauqua Lake Idol, and there he was with a cowboy hat, buttoned down T-shirt and singing a country tune," said Briscar. "I said to Joe (Campo), 'Is this really the guy who wants to sing heavy metal?' And, Joe said, 'Well if he can sing that, then he can sing anything.' He came down and sang for us for five minutes, and we knew that he was the right guy."

The final step to complete the band was to find a drummer. So, Briscar posted another ad and was soon after contacted by Doyle, who had just left the nationally touring band Revery. According to Briscar, Doyle had a series of unfortunate circumstances with a record label during his time with Revery and decided that he wanted to forget all the "trying to make it stuff" and just have fun.

"We've been a solid unit ever since," said Briscar. "We put all our focus into writing music that has no aspirations of trying to make it big at all. That's what I think has made it as good as it has been. We've been getting a lot of good responses because we don't have to worry about the garbage; we just write the music and give it away for free."

Those interested in hearing the band's material can visit voodoobrother.com and click on the link that says "free download." The link takes users to dropbox.com, where five tracks from the band's debut EP can be downloaded for free, as well as album artwork, photos and a bio. Monaco and Briscar recommend giving "Stillwater" and "Love I Don't Take It So Well" a listen for a good representation of what Voodoo Brother provides.

"David (Doyle) said it best: 'Voodoo Brother is the good and the bad in everyone,'" said Briscar. "It's kind of like the idea of having the angel on your right shoulder and the devil on your left shoulder, telling you what you do. That internal struggle is your Voodoo Brother. You can see that on the album cover's artwork; it has two faces morphing into one."

In addition to being the second time that Voodoo Brother has appeared in Jamestown and the first time the band has played at Mojo's, the show will also serve as a homecoming for Monaco.

"I'm very excited about it, and it's an honor to play in what I consider Infinity's town," he said.

Admission to the event is $5 at the door. Mojo's is located at 104 E. Second St. in Jamestown. For more information call 720-4621 or search for "Mojo's Of Jamestown" on Facebook.
- Jamestown Post Journal


Stoner metal has always lived in the underground, which is not a surprise, given that fame and acclaim don't mesh with the typical mindset the music carries. The drawn-out compositions, sludgy productions, and emphasis on everything other than making catchy music sentenced stoner metal to live in the shadows, a place not unfamiliar to the people making the music. But in recent years, as many stoner bands have softened their sound, and as the musical landscape has continued to fracture, stoner bands have entered a period in which they can achieve more than previously thought. Where there was once red tape stopping anything out of the ordinary from success, the rules have been through out, and anyone can make a name for themselves.

Voodoo Brother is a stoner metal band from Cleveland, Ohio who try to make a statement with their self-titled debut EP. While there are traced of their self-professed stoner credentials during the five songs, the music never comes across as being sufficiently abstract enough to qualify as such. The production is not the hazy, rough-strewn guitars expected of this kind of music, instead they come through with full clarity. This doesn't discount the music, but the cognitive dissonance between expectations and reality do make it more difficult to grasp and embrace the songs.

The band does an admirable job of sounding cohesive on this, their debut recording. The playing is never sloppy, the songs are tight, and the vocals are superior to the vast majority of bands that apply the stoner tag to themselves. These are not meandering vocals that sound as if they were recorded at three in the morning by a singer who would rather be doing anything but play music. They are powerful and well executed, and elevate the music several steps above the usual competition.

Closer “Let Me Grow” is the most interesting song of the group, not the most readily accessible, but a twisting composition that shifts unexpectedly through parts with reckless abandon. A serpentine riff drops in and turns the song on its head, coming out of nowhere, completely changing the feeling and momentum that had been established. It winds up working, but comes across a bit slapdash, like it was spliced together on the cutting room floor. Other songs, like the opener “Tearable” are more coherent pieces of work, that song in particular boasting the best bit of melody on the EP.

What strikes me most about the music Voodoo Brother plays is that it's not what they say it is. The stoner vibe is all but absent, the best comparison I can come up with being the completely unrelated late-career Life Of Agony. It's that band's ability to blend dirty riffs with coldly clean guitars, all the while maintaining enough melody to avoid becoming noise, that mirrors what Voodoo Brother is doing here. Even the abrupt transitions from riff to riff feel linked to that band, not a bad comparison to be able to draw. But in the end, there's a problem with all of this talk.

If a band doesn't know what to make of their own music, which is the impression I get listening to “Voodoo Brother”, it makes me wonder how I'm supposed to understand what I'm hearing. If I take my own experience as evidence, “Voodoo Brother” is a fine EP of post-hardcore heavy metal that has enough of all the elements to intrigue me about future material. But if I take the band at their word about what this music is, I can't help but think I'm missing something, because I don't hear that at all.

» Chris C's blog
- Bloody Good Horror


VOODOO BROTHER

While I'm sure most of you are going "who?", this is one release that I've been anticipating for well over a year. From the ashes of the band, and this site's namesake, PiT, guitarist Jim Lavender and bassist Curt Briscar have found new members, a new musical vision, and have finally resurfaced as Voodoo Brother.

To say the least, Voodoo Brother is a far cry from what these guys have done previously. So much so in fact, that Lavender no longer uses his former stage name of Joe Campo. He fooled me! Voodoo Brother is like a collaboration of the known and the unknown; like if Down shared a tour bus with the late, great Agatha Crawl.

Their brand of powerful stoner-esque rock is actually more metal like a band like Down or Corrosion Of Conformity, but with a slightly more disciplined, tight sound throughout VOODOO BROTHER. That said though, the appeal to this band is their vocalist, Johanathan Viceroy. Viceroy reminds me a lot of Agatha Crawl vocalist Darryl Svitak from a decade ago when they released their INSOLENCE album nationally. The difference though is that Viceroy is a bit more bombastic and unpredictable than Svitak ever was. Listening to songs like "Love", Viceroy's voice shifts back and forth between low tone singing and absolutely bombastic bursts of painful aggression. This is not during changes from bridges to choruses, but at somewhat random moments throughout the song. He's a truly gifted vocalist, although my hunch is he's someone difficult to control. Still, this bubbling rage is as appealing as anything coming out today.

As for the rest of the band, they are solid as can be. Lavender's name changed didn't change his ability to kick ass on guitar. His tone on songs like "Let Me Grow" are fat like an arena rock band, but fuzzed up enough to make any Kyuss fan applaud in appreciation. Drummer Dino Velvet has captured a big sound as well. He's an extremely hard hitter, which makes itself very apparent on "Let Me Grow" where he hits his tom like a drunk janitor would his wife who didn't have dinner on the table on time. As for Briscar, he still gets more mileage out of 4 strings and 1 finger than any bass player in the game!

PITRIFF RATING - 90/100 - They lose points for the cover "art", but ultimately this EP does it's job in making me want to hear more. Voodoo Brother have created a solid collection of songs that are appealing to any fan of bands like Down, COC, Queens of The Stone Age, Wilson, etc. That's a good sound to have!

Chris Akin
- PITRIFF ONLINE


Discography

Voodoo Brother EP - May 2012
Voodoo Brother 2 - Coming Late Summer 2013

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Bio

The forefathers of Stoner Metal and Hard Rock formed their genres for one reason and one reason only – to pave a way for a band like Voodoo Brother to come along. From the tough streets of Cleveland, New York, and Virginia, Voodoo Brother showcases the tattered and torn edges of a town on a come back to bring forth five tales of woe and ???? on their latest EP
Voodoo Brother make loud but intelligent rock music. Whether you’re on your guitar music or need something to tempt you back into the fold they are a band well worth discovering. Check them out, you won’t regret it