Friday, August 22, 2014

CIRCLE II CIRCLE: "Live at Wacken"

Rating: Live
Label: earMUSIC/Edel 2014
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Savatage... excuse me. Circle II Circle and their first ever live album recorded at the 2012 version of Wacken Open Air in Germany. The band from Tampa Bay, Florida, US of A, featuring the former Savatage vocalist Zak Stevens, has been around the block for over 10 years by now. Yet they've managed to ignore all of their music and playing it safe by performing the majority of the songs from Savatage's old album "The Wake of Magellan".

I do type the majority of the songs, since the mad geezers at Wacken could not provide them with the time to perform the album in its entirety (see full track listing further down the page). Don't get me wrong. I really enjoy this live album, Savatage's old album, as well as the strong vocals of Stevens. I just find it strange that Circle II Circle would ignore their own music? especially since Stevens (as far as I know) did not compose any of the Magellans and thus no chance of cashing in on the material. Hardly any banter in between tracks and merely the following statement from Stevens: "It's nice to be back at Wacken. We started with Savatage and now it's Circle II Circle. But what the f**k! We're still doing this what you want to hear and that's what matters, right?", end quote.

The weird part/stuff aside, "Live at Wacken" (official bootleg) is the rather impressive live album and opener "The Ocean/Welcome" sets the tone and standard for the entire gig. Pompy, epic progressive power metal with Stevens at the centre of attention as he deliver vocal performances of the highest school and order. The production honestly feels like the real deal for most part and I've always been fond of Savatage's Zak Stevens' era and albums. Even if I hold 'Edge Of Thorns' as best of them all. The nice reminder and album prior to the Savatage reunion at Wacken 2015.

Tracklist: [1. The Ocean/Welcome [2. Turns To Me [3. Morning Sun [4. Complaint In The System (Veronica Guerin) [5. The Wake Of Magellan [6. Anymore [7. The Hourglass [8. Blackjack Guillotine.

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