REVIEW: Circle II Circle – Watching in Silence (2003) #200wordchallenge

200 word

CIRCLE II CIRCLE – Watching in Silence (2003 AFM)

 

There are some good reasons why Circle II Circle’s debut album, Watching in Silence, is a dead ringer for Savatage.  First and most obviously, singer Zach Stevens is best known from the Florida progressive metallers.  When he left the band to form Circle II Circle, he had some Sava-help too.  Jon Oliva and Chris Caffery wrote or played on every single song.  Oliva co-produced.  They’re just a helpful kind of band.

Fans of Stevens-era ‘Tage will adore Watching in Silence from start to finish.  It has the heavy, it has the soft, and it has the drama.  There are even the layered operatic vocal arrangements (“Forgiven”), though used sparingly.  Circle II Circle utilise keyboards and piano, but don’t go for the full-on conceptual direction that Savatage did.

Though the album can drag from time to time, there are a number of exceptional tracks.  “Into the Wind” is the first to boast one of those unforgettable Stevens choruses.  The single “Watching in Silence” has the patented Sava-power, composed in equal measure of riffs, piano and killer vocals.  The easiest comparison is to “Edge of Thorns“, Stevens’ first single with Savatage.  Virtually every song has a memorable chorus to go with it.

3.5/5 stars

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21 comments

  1. Oh man, thanks SO much for reviewing this one Mike, these guys are one of my faves and continue to deliver the goods. Too short a review about my only criticism mate ;) and while personally would rate this a 4 you’re spot on with all your comments.

    Weirdly this debut didn’t quite click until I fell hard for their borderline masterpiece Burden Of Truth which had me delving backward and into their sophomore and this debut just brilliant stuff!

    The opening swag of cuts are essential CIIC, Out Of Reach, Sea Of White and Into The Wind through to the title track are arguably, as a collective, one of the strongest openings to any new millennium album and the remainder of the record is top notch. I own the hardback digipak and it’s a beauty!

    Would love for you to review all the CIIC records maybe tie those in with the Savatage run hmmm!? Felt bad not getting to reviewing my book win and have gathered couple things for you too ;)

    Cheers for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man I only own this one CIIC album. Which should I get next?

      And yeah reviewing all the Tage will have to happen. Here’s the problem — all the different bonus tracks on all the different editions!

      Thanks for the awesome comment dude!

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      1. Welcome. And you need Burden Of Truth. And I mean NEED it! That said their last record was incredible too, Reign Of Darkness… I dunno man, even their lesser records have stellar moments \m/

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Unless there’s been reissues I’ve missed I don’t think there were many deluxe versions of their records except Burden Of Truth got a CD single/EP for Revelations on which there was some bonus material and likewise with their sophomore Middle Of Nowhere, a CD/EP called All That Remains with bonus songs…

          Otherwise little by way of bonus stuff except for Delusions Of Grandeur which did cone in bonus tracks format and great it was too :)

          Best option for bonus material would be to get their 2012 Full Circle, a 2CD hits kinda affair on which they included all unreleased/bonus material \m/

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        1. Seasons was a pretty cool record KK but IMO far from their best. But like I said, even if less than their best every album had its moments. Point in case one of their finest songs Take Back Yesterday came from one of their (slightly) lesser albums (all IMO of course), Consequence Of Power. Seriously, great track and check out its magnificent guitar solo.

          Stellar stuff!

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