earMUSIC [Release date 16.10.15]
Circle II Circle are back with their latest album, which vocalist Zak Stevens says represents a musical reinvention for the band. Mmm, not too sure about that as the album is a typical Circle II Circle one full of power metal riffs and impressive vocals.
Zak Stevens comes to this album off the back of a recent Savatage reunion concert at this year’s Wacken Festival. He has a great and powerful vocal for this style of metal, with Circle II Circle playing a more straight ahead style of metal than Savatage or Jon Oliva’s Pain.
On the album they use the piano playing of Henning Wanner a little more, noticeably on the impressive opener ‘Over-Underture’. The piano also helps drive along the riff on ‘Somewhere’, although the guitars soon take centre stage again. Only one ballad, ‘Solitary Rain’ and although good, lacks that special magic to make it a ‘must hear’ song.
With Circle II Circle you know what you are getting, well played power metal and the vocals of Zak Stevens. What the band lacks for me are those really memorable tunes that Savatage used to do or similar bands like Kamelot or Gamma Ray. That said this is one of their better albums and will please the band’s fans. ***1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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