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CIRCLE II CIRCLE Reign Of Darkness

By Alex Yarborough, Orlando Contributor
Friday, October 23, 2015 @ 4:09 PM


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CIRCLE II CIRCLE
Reign Of Darkness

2015 Ear Music




CIRCLE II CIRCLE is the post-Savatage band formed by vocalist Zak Stevens in 2001. The band released their seventh studio album Reign Of Darkness on October 16th. The lineup is mostly the same as on 2013’s Seasons Will Fall, featuring Mitch Stewart (bass), Christian David Wentz (guitar), Bill Hudson (guitar) and Henning Wanner (keyboards). The band introduces new drummer Marcelo Moreira on this album. His performance on the album is very solid.

The first thing I noticed was the endeavor to write more succinct songs here compared to Seasons Will Fall. (The average song length on Reign Of Darkness is about four minutes versus the six-minute average of Seasons). The second thing I noticed was that this was the darkest, heaviest album so far for C2C. When you name an album Reign Of Darkness, and have lyrics like “Suicide is a friend of mine, and always there if I ever decide…” then you are obviously taking your listeners on a dark ride. This doesn’t mean the songs are depressing. In fact, I found them to be deep and quite uplifting to be honest.

The album begins with the instrumental “Over-Underture”, which sounds considerably like Stevens-era SAVATAGE. (Nothing wrong with that). A Wanner keyboard riff introduces the next song, “Victim Of The Night”. This track is one of the first singles released from the album, and it showcases the heavier direction that C2C have taken. “Untold Dreams” builds from a mellow intro into an anthem with an awesome chorus; it is easily one of my favorite songs on the album. “It’s All Over” is a great pulsing power metal track, which shows how good this band is. The guitar/keyboard riff is fantastic and Stevens’ vocals really make for one of the more satisfying tracks on the album. “One More Day” is a solid mid-tempo track with a memorable chorus and stellar guitar solo. “Ghost Of The Devil”, which is one of the shortest tracks on the album, was also released as a single. After the intro, it turns into an up-tempo track with one of the catchier choruses on the album. “Somewhere” is a brooding and groovy power metal track. “Deep Within” is a mid-tempo song that showcases Wanner’s keyboards and features a tasteful guitar solo. “Taken Away” features a nasty guitar riff, one of my favorites on the album. “Sinister Love” is a straight-ahead rocker, and another one of the best songs on the album. The album ends with a ballad called “Solitary Rain”. In my opinion, this is a classic C2C composition.

As a longtime SAVATAGE fan, I’ve followed C2C since their inception, and I can attest to Reign Of Darkness being one of their strongest releases, as well as their heaviest and darkest as I mentioned. There is a great deal of double bass drumming and heavy riffing throughout the album. I went back and listened to Seasons again after listening to the album. Stevens’ vocals are not as high in the mix on Reign Of Darkness as they were on Seasons, but everything works and the songs still revolve around his signature baritone vocals. (As they should). The album artwork reflects the dark mood of the music and features a sweet dystopian cover. With 11 songs, and clocking in around 47 minutes, Reign Of Darkness is more concise and palatable than Seasons Will Fall's 67 minutes. A very good album that is highly recommended.

4.5 Out Of 5.0

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