Album Reviews CD Releases

Circle II Circle – Reign of Darkness Review

C2C_Cover

Released by: earMUSIC

Release Date: October 16th, 2015

Genre: Heavy Metal

Links: www.circle2circle.net

 

Line Up:

Zak Stevens – Lead Vocals

Mitch Stewart – Bass/Vocals

Christian Wentz- Guitars/Vocals

Marc Pattison – Guitars/Vocals

Henning Wanner – Keyboards/ Vocals

Bud Salvetti – Drums

 

Tracklist:

01. Over-Underture

02. Victim Of The Night

03. Untold Dreams

04. It’s All Over

05. One More Day

06. Ghost Of The Devil

07. Somewhere

08. Deep Within

09. Taken Away

10. Sinister Love

11. Solitary Rain

 

The first time I heard Zak Stevens voice I was completely and totally hooked. Just moments prior I was skeptical. As a HUGE Savatage fan, hearing someone else’s voice other than Jon Oliva was something I just didn’t think I was going to be able to tolerate. Not only was Jon and his late brother Criss the masterminds behind the music (along with Paul O’Neil,) but both men had signature sounds with the voice and guitar style that to not hear both was simply unimaginable to me. Of course, Edge of Thorns ended up being a pretty big commercial success for the band, and remains as one of my favorites from them. Of course as we all know tragedy struck soon after with the untimely death of Criss. Stevens helped keep the band forward moving despite such a tremendous loss, and Jon eventually returned as a co-singer. I have always thought that those Stevens fronted Savatage albums were just as amazing as the earlier stuff. Once the band took an extended hiatus (I refuse to call them broke up dammit) Zak started his own band Circle II Circle.

With the band’s 7th full length release, Reign of Darkness, the band continues with their tradition of making a totally different album from the previous while remaining true to their sound. What has always kept me coming back to CIIC’s music was the fact that, while it offered some similarities to his time with Savatage, it was a truly unique sound otherwise. Zak has such a distinct and powerful voice and an ability to write some amazing songs and has had some brilliant musicians supporting him that it is no wonder the music was so great. With this new album, it has a darker tone to it, and heavier, yet it still stays true to the Circle sound fans have come to know and love. Tracks like “Ghost of the Devil,” “Untold Dreams,” “Deep Within” and “Solitary Rain” run the gamut of between progressive, power, and traditional metal, from hard rockers to a beautiful closing track. Framing Stevens’ magnificent voice are guitarists Christian Wentz and Bill Hudson, bassist Mitch Stewart, keyboardist Henning Wanner, and drummer Marcelo Moreira, delivering devastatingly heavy and intricate performances throughout this incredible album.

Circle II Circle is back and has delivered the best album from their catalog yet. Reign of Darkness, as the name suggests, is a heavier, darker album from them, but nails what has made them such a fantastic band over the years, melodic, heavy, and captivating. This one does not disappoint, and will hopefully propel them to a higher profile position in the music world. If you have ever been a fan of this band or Zak in Savatage then this album should please you greatly.

 

Written by: Chris Martin

Ratings Chris:  9/10

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