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The Zilla Project: This One's For The President

Cypriot quartet do the Mediterranean proud.

When The Zilla Project’s label describe them as “unquestionably the best blues/rock band in Cyprus”, you’re bound to wonder how much competition there is.

But if their compatriots sound half as good as this four-piece do on their debut album, it might be worth paying a visit. You might have pegged them straight off as bourbon-soaked southern boogie merchants from the riff’n’rasp stomp of their take on Son House’s Death Letter. Emmanuel ‘Big Mo’ Vourakis’ booming voice easily stakes its claim on the song, while his electric slide is imbued with a snarling urgency, and on high-octane rockers like Mr Tumblin’, there are strong whiffs of vintage ZZ Top. But there’s much more in their locker, and that’s showcased when Nicolas ‘Honeyman’ Melis’ languid Hammond organ helps lend Hear Me Crying a Muscle Shoals-style R&B feel, before Grace builds into a Led Zeppelinesque epic, weaving folk, jazz and progressive elements into a hard-rocking whole.

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock