You know the drill by now; Voodoo Circle, the band formed by guitarist extraordinaire Alex Beyrodt are back, and they are going to remind you (again), just how much they love Whitesnake

Both myself and Sentinel Daily editor Scott Adams have remarked in the past about just how much this band enjoy a run through the 1987 template, and Locked & Loaded, their new outing for AFM, predictably kicks off with a track that sounds like it might well have been an outtake from the fabled hair metal monolith.

‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!’ I hear you cry, and, as Beyrodt runs up and down the fretboard like John Sykes on speed on the album’s opening track there may well be a case to be argued for that point. Flesh & Bone, the track in question, certainly kicks the album off in style, with returning vocalist David Readman yelping and hollering like Lord Coverdale of Saltburn in his prime, but, for the most part it’s all downhill from there as the band, this time throwing in a bit more of an obvious Zeppelin influence than has previously been present, huff and puff their way through nearly an hour of largely tiresome heavy rock posturing.

Of course, the singing and playing is great, although again Readman does over egg the pudding at times – I for one, actually felt his temporary replacement Herbie Langhans was the way forward for this band after hearing his performance on last album Raised on Rock; the production is sumptuous – this is the best sounding record Voodoo Circle have released by a country mile – but time and again you find yourself wishing – especially on painfully overwrought efforts like Magic Woman Chile and the title track – that the band, super talented musicians to a man, would try their hand at something a little more original.

I never enjoy panning an album, and there are a few plus points to be found on Locked & Loaded; Children of the Revolution, for instance, is a bona fide great track, and at least apes an earlier incarnation of the ‘Snake – it’s actually the best track on the album, possibly for that reason- but you have to ask ultimately what the point of all this is, especially with a new John Sykes album actually being rumoured to be on the horizon…

Locked & Loaded releases on January 15th.