Circle II Circle - Delusions Of Grandeur
AFM Records
Heavy Metal
10 songs (45'22)
Release year: 2008
Circle II Circle, AFM Records
Reviewed by Marty
After a shift towards a more melodic hard rock/heavy metal style with their conceptual Burden Of Truth album, Circle II Circle is back with their new release Delusions Of Grandeur; an album that sees a return to a solid heavy metal sound and with the type of melodies and strong vocals we have all come to expect from this band. All of Circle II Circle's albums have been very solid, yet in the eyes of many Savatage fans, have still fell a bit short of the high expectations from this former Savatage front man's solo band. Zak Stevens always sounds great on record but until this new album, Delusions Of Grandeur, Circle II Circle collectively sounds much more confident and rocks harder than ever before with the heaviest album that they have ever done.

The crushing heaviness of this album sure was a big surprise. Previous albums had their "metal" moments but Delusions Of Grandeur is the first album in this band's career to be a truly bonafide heavy metal album front to back. The sound is thick and massive with a huge guitar sound and with a chunky heaviness that makes for a great listen. Fatal Warning gets things started and the killer, "meatier" sound is evident right off the get go. Booming and heavy with hammering double bass work, only the trademark vocal sounds of Zak Stevens give any indication that this is a Circle II Circle track. Dead Of Dawn shows more of a dramatic Savatage style yet the chunky riffing combined with speedy and hammering double bass give the track power metal-like qualities. I love the arpeggio-driven sudden stops in tempo and emotional and dramatic lead guitar work. Forever sees a huge U.S. power metal like guitar tone and the drama invoked with the piano interludes and more stunning guitar arpeggio work is huge! Echoes sees a return to the classic Savatage power ballad style with a track that begins with piano and voice before heavy riffs take over and some great galloping tempos for the lead breaks. The galloping riff style over the lead breaks appears again with Waiting; a riff driven track that has a big melodic chorus. The album slides into neutral a bit for the tracks Soul Breaker, Seclusion and Chase The Lies. All three are solid tracks with Soul Bender using drop D tuning for extra heaviness and Seclusion going for the clean guitar intro before ominous and chunky riffs take over. Chase The Lies again uses the drop D tuning for the extra thick and chunky sound. Those three tracks carry the flow of the album quite nicely yet certainly are not the quality of the rest of the album. So Many Reasons sees a more driving mid tempo sound and probably one of the stronger chorus sections on the album. The album finishes with a little gem in Every Last Thing. With a piano, guitar and voice intro, this one builds in intensity before getting dramatic and heavy with a strong nod to Zak's past in Savatage. I love the doubled vocals and vocal rounds at the tracks end that were staples of Savatage songs during Zak's period with the band.

Delusions Of Grandeur really grabs you right away, mainly due to the huge guitar sound and the killer heaviness that this album has. After several listens, the true quality of the songs really comes to light. I love Zak's voice and once again he turns in another fine vocal performance. There has been a very concerted attempt at not only beefing up the Circle II Circle sound but to modernize it a bit as well. All in all, I think whatever the approach was for this new album, it worked very, very well. I think this is the best Circle II Circle album yet not only in the strength of the songs but the fact that it truly does kick some serious ass!! I think Circle II Circle has found their groove and Zak Stevens is now in a great position to finally live up to the expectations many of us have had of him and finally shed the ghosts of Savatage past.

Killing Songs :
Fatal Warning, Forever, Echoes, So Many Reasons and Every Last Thing
Marty quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Circle II Circle that we have reviewed:
Circle II Circle - Burden Of Truth reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 87 / 100
Circle II Circle - The Middle Of Nowhere reviewed by Marty and quoted 84 / 100
Circle II Circle - Watching In Silence reviewed by Ben and quoted 77 / 100
2 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 5 replies to this review. Last one on Fri May 02, 2008 7:02 am
View and Post comments