Circle II Circle – Seasons Will Fall (EarMusic records)Wednesday, 24th April 2013
Former Savatage singer Zak Stevens continues to plod away with Circle II Circle after parting ways with his former band. During his tenure in Savatage, Zak gave new life to the struggling outfit after the tragic death of guitarist Criss Oliva and the ensuing departure of his brother Jon. With the Oliva’s seemingly out of the picture, Zak took over and breathed new life into the project by bringing dedication and a powerful set of pipes to the vocal department. He certainly took the band to new heights, but when he left to form Circle II Circle in late 2000, I found the style of music quite bland.
In fact, we’re now six albums in and I’m still waiting for the big moment when it can be said Circle II Circle have eclipsed the sheer brilliance of his Savatage output. Sadly this isn’t the case on Seasons Will Fall, and what you get is mid-tempo power metal for the most part, but with some occasional leanings towards the hard rock genre too. The saving grace for the more devoted fan just might be the vocals of Stevens, especially on “End of Emotion” and “Diamond Blade.” He does his best here to alleviate some of the mid-paced boredom that is prevalent on this release, but in the end it’s just not enough for me.
I can’t put my finger on why the music is so lackluster, but the key culprit lies within the songwriting itself. A song like “Downshot” for example, is dull and totally lacks a strong chorus to make the song stand out. The trend continues into “Isolation” and “Sweet Despair,” but I should probably stop there. I think by now you get the point about Seasons Will Fall and you should be warned about this release before picking it up. Sadly for me this isn’t Savatage and at this stage of the game I’d rather just go listen to Edge of Thorns or Dead Winter Dead instead.