Friday, October 9, 2015

CIRCLE II CIRCLE: "Reign Of Darkness"

Rating: RRR
Label: earMUSIC 2015
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Immediately striking is the powerful approach of the song, 'Taken Away'. Lyric that speak of darkest nights, shadows that come to life, and the sorrow of losing your precious one. "Someday I want to show you everything you've taken away from me". Indeed. Ex-Savatage singer Zak Stevens did well to start making music in the strangely familiar formula of Circle II Circle.

Sure. They might at first glance just appear to be another Power metal outfit that people only wish to cherish as long as there's no Savatage reunion, but they are an extremely talented band with excellent twin guitar work by Bill Hudson and Christian Wentz. You only need to hear the opening riffs to 'Victim Of The Night' and 'Untold Dreams' in order to appreciate their wicked licks and tricks.

The slightly down tuned work of 'It's All Over' and 'One More Day' are on the other hand not quite as impressive. It's frankly just too much of the late nineties past and not enough of proper metal? The great range and soaring vocals of Zak, always at the centre of attention as he come off sounding as the real deal. Definitely at his best during epic sounding tracks such as 'Somewhere', 'Deep Within', 'Solitary Rain', where keyboardist Henning Wanner finally receive a place in the spotlight. I only wish they would dress up all of their compositions in atmospheric and lavish orchestration. It's the pattern of success and Circle II Circle should really explore the full rock opera thingy on their next album.

"You might say that Reign of Darkness represents a musical reinvention for us, but the minute you hear each song you know right away that it's CIIC. We wanted to pay homage to the past, but we also wanted to create a musical renaissance within our genre that is fresh and energetic. This is an album that will positively pave the way for our future."- Zak Stevens. Final verdict: Solid as a rock, but not enough of roll.

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