Fireworks

Circle II Circle - 'Reign Of Darkness' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/e9/12/7b/Circle-II-Circle-Reign-Of-Darkness-41-1449703899.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 09, 2015    
 
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Another welcome addition to the Circle II Circle catalogue.

Savatage were doing Power Metal before the genre label of Power Metal had been coined. Since Zak Stevens left Savatage he's done a pretty good job in his own band Circle II Circle of keeping those elements of well performed, muscular Metal with classical, Operatic flurries of keys alive with enough variety in arrangements to keep the Prog Metal crowd happy too.

'Reign Of Darkness' is now their seventh album and Stevens is the only original member while others come and go and his voice is perfectly suited to this kind of strong, potent but melodious Power Metal. This time round he's got Power Quest's Bill Hudson on guitar, ex-Jaded Heart and White Lion keyboardist Henning Wanner adding their flair while Mitch Stewart and Marcelo Moreira add the booming rhythm section.

Hudson has plenty of opportunity to put his stamp on the record with a myriad of riffs and considerable track time given to allow him to solo. He keeps the solos varied and his playing holds your attention such as on the galloping 'Victim Of The Night' or the chuggathon 'Somewhere' that flirts with different tempo changes to keep it interesting.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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The whole band excels on a track like 'It's All Over' where they swing like a wrecking ball. Steven also manages to pen some hooky choruses such as 'Untold Dreams', the punchy 'Ghost Of The Devil' and 'Sinister Love'. The demonical riffed 'One More Day' has a 'Phantom Of The Opera' (the musical not the Iron Maiden tune) feel about it and has a strong, potentially sing-a-long chorus that should go down well live.

'Deep Within' isn't bad but suffers as it starts to replicate what's gone before. However, the record picks up again towards the end with the arrangement on the slower 'Taken Away' and the piano ballad 'Solitary Rain' that builds to epic proportions (although this is one track that could have gone on longer).

Back in the Savatage days they were forging a new sound, now you know what to expect with a CIIC record but Stevens and company deliver, making this is another welcome addition to the Circle II Circle catalogue which should keep the fan base happy and any casual Power Metal fan looking for a good fix.

Duncan Jamieson

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