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Circus of Power - 1990 Vices

ARTIST: Circus of Power
ALBUM: Vices
SERIAL: 2022-2-R
YEAR: 1990
CD REISSUE: 2010, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY085
SPONSOR: Rock Candy Records


LINEUP: Alex Mitchell - vocals * Ricky Beck Mahler - guitar * Gary Sunshine - guitar * Zowie - bass * Ryan Maher - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Gates Of Love * 02 Desire/Fire In The Night * 03 Two River Highway * 04 Vices * 05 Don't Drag Me Down * 06 Last Call Rosie * 07 Doctor Potion * 08 Los Angeles * 09 Got Hard.. * 10 Temptation * 11 Junkie Girl * 12 Simple Man Simple Woman * 13 Gates Of Love (live bonus) * 14 Call Of The Wild (live bonus) * 15 Los Angeles (live bonus) * 16 Vices (live bonus) * 17 How Many More Times (live bonus)

Beneath the veneer of late 80's metal, there were a bunch of bands that completely ignored the excess and flash of the MTV era. Outfits such as Spread Eagle, Little Caesar and this lot, Circus Of Power. The aroma of tattoo parlour ink runs down their arm like a serpent on heat, their music hitting the spot for many rockers back in the late 80's. Formed in New York in 1986, the core of the band were singer Alex Mitchell, guitarists Ricky Beck Mahler and Gary Sunshine, plus drummer Ryan Maher. 1988 saw the release of their debut album for RCA, an album which has been raved about in some quarters as a classic. A live album followed in 1989 but the band trumped all with their third set 'Vices', which told everyone in 1990 that musical changes were in the wind (i.e 'grunge'). COP didn't gravitate to that level, but it didn't take a rocket scientist to work out which way the prevailing breeze was blowing. All COP were doing was aiming their sails.

The Songs
It's pretty difficult to describe their sound. It's a combination of many threads fused together. The L.A sound of Guns N Roses could be an inspiration. The rival NY scene is another, where low slung guitars and hell-bent attitudes prevailed. Think of outfits such as The Throbs and fellow RCA bandmates Raging Slab, then there's a tribute to classic rockers like Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones and AC/DC and the Southern Rock connection to swamp boogie a la Black Oak Arkansas and The Allman Brothers. It's all a tribal melting pot, and COP were stirring it big time. Songs such as 'Gates Of Love', the swamp rock fever of 'Fire In The Night' and the excellent 'Last Call Rosie' are an example of COP's vim and vigour.

In Summary
The 2010 Rock Candy reissue features a whole slab of extra tracks, five in total, and along with an extensive essay on the band, you will be well informed about Circus Of Power before you know it. There was talk that Alex Mitchell was in the process of putting the band back together, but as of early 2011, nothing has materialised, though I do understand he is definitely keen, dependent on schedules. Yeah right.

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#1 | rkbluez on July 08 2012 02:35:44
Great album this is one kick ass no gimmick band with plenty of attitude...they just rocked dirty, loud and mean...favorite song the heavy blues number that is Los Angeles...also love the kick ass 'Gate Of Love.

Hope George is right and they do reform and I only hope they're as good as they were when they recorded 'Vices'...some great stuff that just went under the radar.

So glad Rock Candy reissued both of their albums with excellent punchy they're better than ever.
#2 | Carlos Ramirez on September 04 2014 22:49:55
The band's bassist, Zowie, was once a member of influential NYC metallic hardcore band, Leeway.

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