“ZAK IS BACK!” proclaims Circle II Circle’s website referencing the return of Zak Stevens to the fold. I had to catch up on my Circle II Circle news because I wasn’t aware that Zak had left! Apparently everyone took some time off, having put out a greatest hits album before returning with their new record, “Seasons Will Fall”, which was released on their new label, EarMUSIC Records, on January 29, 2012.
This new album is nothing new from these guys; A-typical heavy metal in the standardized album track formula. ‘Dreams That Never Die’ starts out with some serious riffage and features a blistering solo. ‘Epiphany’ a drawn out epic track, clocking in at over 9 minutes that takes you through all the ranges of emotion. This is a fairly long winded record with most of the songs being over 5 minutes long. At times, it is hard to make it through a complete song without skipping to the next track. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some good songs on this album. There just aren’t any that really stand out as being a cut above any of Circle II Circle’s previous work or memorable.
One thing the band points out on their website is that they are a six piece band with all members being able to handle whatever vocal parts necessary to perform their songs live. Zak’s voice always brings me back to those first few Savatage albums he sang on, because that’s him! That’s his legacy! Zak Stevens IS “Edge of Thorns”, “Conversation Piece”, and “Handful of Rain” and that is who he will always be in my mind. This could be why the band has decided to do a live performance of a Savatage album each year, to keep that legacy alive. Last year they did “Wake of Magellan” and this year they plan to do “Edge of Thorns” in its entirety. Unfortunately, Circle II Circle has never given me something to change his identity to me. Maybe that’s a good thing, because I always end up going back and listening to those Zak era Savatage albums again.
So if you’d like to reminisce about the early 90s when you were looking for something else to listen to besides Mudhoney and The Screaming Trees, check out the new Circle II Circle album “Seasons Will Fall” (then crank up some old Savatage!).