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.