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Articles Home » 2008 Articles » Circle II Circle - 2008 Delusions Of Grandeur
Circle II Circle - 2008 Delusions Of Grandeur

ARTIST: Circle II Circle
ALBUM: Delusions Of Grandeur
LABEL: AFM Records
YEAR: 2008


LINEUP: Zachary Stevens - lead vocals * Evan Christopher - guitars * Andy Lee - guitars * Paul Michael 'Mitch' Stewart - bass * Tom Drennan - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Fatal Warning * 02 Dead Of Dawn * 03 Forever * 04 Echoes * 05 Waiting * 06 Soul Breaker * 07 Seclusion * 08 So Many Reasons * 09 Chase The Lies * 10 Every Last Thing



I'm sure former Savatage lead singer Zak Stevens has a tale to tell about the inner workings of band management along with the personalities and egos that go with it. You see, when this band first came onto the scene, Zak, members of his (then) band and his (then) management had a huge falling out - so to resolve it all - everyone quit after the release of their debut 'Watching In Silence' and support tour. Depending on who you talk to: Zak is reported to have fired the band; the band members say they were never paid for their work and they quit - only to be snapped up by Savatage band-mate Jon Oliva for his band Jon Oliva's Pain. It can only happen in rock n roll aye? However soon after, Stevens recruited a new band, all of whom I am happy to report have stayed intact up until the current day. This is my first crack at CiiC. I do remember doing some PR work for that 2003 album 'Watching In Silence', but we never did manage to scoop a review copy at the time. Since then, the band have released two more albums, changed Management during 2007, and now they release another CD for their German label AFM Records entitled 'Delusions Of Grandeur'.

The Songs
The album carries on the previous good work from their previous albums. It's very heavy (for an American power metal band that says something), plus Zak can't avoid some of the (unintentional) reference points to Savatage.

'Fatal Warning' is the disclaimer for all potential listeners of this album to get out the ear muffs to protect your ear drums from the forthcoming deluge of metal that will spew forth. Riffs galore, double kick drums, plus Steven's vocals are akin to an infrasonic matter destroyer!

'Dead Of Dawn' though heavy in places, takes time out from the bludgeon to dip into an epic/symphonic environment, with mixed results.

Skull crushingly heavy is an understatement for 'Forever'. The riffs are laden thick with melodic distortion - laying the platform for perhaps the heaviest track on the album.

Showing that it's not all about pure HM, 'Echoes' displays their power ballad attributes - though the overall theme is still pretty solid and heavy.

Back to the metronomically challenged metal of 'Waiting', which chops and changes tempo like a pacer at Yonkers Raceway!

The band segue into 'Soul Breaker' carrying the same musical payload from the previous track, though at a more reasonable tempo.

An acoustic intro leads us into 'Seclusion', which builds gradually to a full-on but slow-burn metal assault.

Heading into a groove-laden larder full of metal goodies is 'So Many Reasons'. It took me awhile to get into this one, but it has more of a retro vibe happening, and it's not until you get to the choruses and solo that it all comes together. The bass playing on the bridge section is pretty cool!

I like the riffing on 'Chase The Lies', it reminds me of Zakk Wylde's OTT style but without the flash. Still a heavy sounding track with a lot in the bottom end.

The closer is called 'Every Last Thing'. It has power-ballad attributes and could be a long-lost Savatage song, as there are a load of piano parts here. 'Gutter Ballet' anyone?

In Summary
'Delusion Of Grandeur' is pretty powerful stuff. Zak Stevens provides some very 'manly' vocals, delivered with such force.. you don't want to be standing too close to him when he's belting out these tunes. At times you can tell that the vocals have been elevated too high in the overall mix. It dominates the soundscape, particularly when you expect the guitars and rhythm section to be more prominent. That might be ok for power metal fans, but those regular visitors to this site who expect more in the way of melody and harmonies, Circle II Circle might just have to sit outside of that (excuse the pun) 'circle'. The AFM label is also responsible for the new Jon Oliva CD 'Global Warning', so I guess to keep some form of 'equilibrium' we might get to that one in the coming weeks. No doubt Circle II Circle will appeal to those of you who have a penchant for the heavier side of the alleyway, in preference to the pink and fluffy flamingo lined boulevards of AOR.

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#1 | jefflynnefan on April 13 2008 04:00:58
I haven't heard this yet but I do plan on buying it soon. Nice to see it got a good review. I remember when Zak replaced Jon on Edge of Thorns I wasn't happy about it. Jon Oliva is one of my fave vocalists! But I eventually came around. It's interesting that some of my friends didn't like Savatage because of Jon's vocals but when EOT came out they raved on about Zak's vocals. At the time I just couldn't understand that. I mean Jon's voice could penetrate steel as far as I was concerned back then. Speaking of Zakk Wylde, George have you ever heard his 'Hangover Music, Volume IV' cd? It's really good in my opinion. Just put the first track on around people and hear them say 'Who is that ?!' lol-
#2 | YNGWIEVIKING on May 01 2008 15:22:51
yes, that an OK record but except some tracks like the ending'every last thing' or 'soulbreaker', the songs are not in the same league as SAVATAGE or the recent JON OLIVA'S PAIN 'global warning'(very good)!
Despite a strong personnality and a good voice Zakk need even better songs to beat the 'mountain king band pastor present' despite some HUGE guitar solos!
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