By Jim Rowland

Artwork for Zonen by LodestarLodestar was originally formed in 1996 by three members of legendary British rap-rock band Senser in order to fulfil their hunger for a heavier musical palette. After releasing two singles, an eponymous album hailed by the NME as ‘a modern metal masterpiece’ and touring with the likes of Tool, the band ceased operating in just a year-and-a bit later in 1997. 2024 sees Lodestar resurrected and, some 27 years later, follow up that acclaimed debut with new album ‘Zonen’.

Having honed their craft individually in different projects in the intervening years, with this album Lodestar have aimed for leaner, more memorable songs whilst turning up the heaviness of the music a few more notches. Indeed opener ‘Surrender To The Tide’, ‘Bring Me The Head’, and the crushing riffery of ‘The Stranger’ bristle with a Sabbath-esque vibe whilst the up-tempo punky aggression of ‘The Real World’ and the hard-edged grinding metal of ‘Sigils Burning’ further add to ‘Zonen’s heavy credentials.

The likes of ‘Be Ready’, ‘Hyperitual’ and ‘High Sorrow’ swing with a heavy groove that adds a hint of vintage Soundgarden into the mix, with the grungy fuzz of single ‘Flame’ adding another flavour to the album. The biggest curveball comes last with a dark, sinister and folky quality to Lodestar’s impressive interpretation of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s ‘The Harp’.

‘Zonen’ is heavy stuff but there’s light and shade in there, clever use of electronic sounds, and enough diversity. The production is of a very high standard too. It may have been a long wait, but Lodestar’s second album will impress fans of old, and no doubt entice new fans too.

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