Circle of Silence – Walk Through Hell (Massacre Records)

Friday, 27th May 2022
Rating: 8 / 10

Downtime allows for deeper focus on the finer details when it comes to recording – especially in the case of German power metal outfit Circle of Silence for this fourth album Walk Through Hell. Choosing to write this record in a lower C tuning beefs up the heaviness factor – plus the longer prolonged break due to the pandemic sharpened the quintet’s approach to effective lead breaks, twin guitar harmony angles, as well as multi-part vocals (sometimes five voices at once) to inject a set of material with plenty of memorable hooks and twists.

The galloping runs and fiery rhythms courtesy of Tobias Pfahl and Christian Sommerfield possess a great mixture of classic NWOBHM meets Teutonic influences – songs such as the crunchy mid-tempo “I Am Fear” plus follow-up “At War with Yourself” align well to those ardent Brainstorm and Mystic Prophecy followers. When the band chooses to play the straightforward anthem card for “I Want More” and “God Is a Machine”, that’s where the larger vocal presence is felt in key phrases and choruses to match the stellar delivery of main singer Nick Keim – probable elevating those songs to mandatory audience highlights. The fade in build-up to start the title track invites more shredding antics, the slower instrumental sequences providing cultural atmosphere of the Maiden-esque variety, drummer Peter Suppinger showcasing some nifty fill/double bass switches while keeping a steady, pounding metal template at hand. Properly intertwining material that crosses all facets of power metal from speedier affairs to controlled, pounding aggressive efforts, there’s a red line thread that keeps listener interest without providing weak, monotonous songwriting. Another surprising touch is the color scheme for the cover piece from Francisco Garcia Garcés – Satan as an imposing figure for sure but bathed in purples and grays versus fiery yellows and reds.

Circle of Silence lean towards the heavier European power metal side with that down-tuning and punchy sound for Walk Through Hell compared to say the Freedom Call-ish acts of the world. As such, there is indeed a market for this style, and another record for most in that camp to enjoy.

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