CIRCLE II CIRCLE is the new band around ex-SAVATAGE frontman Zak Stevens. Besides that extraordinary singer, the band consists of Matt LaPorte (guitars), John Zahner (keys), Kevin Rothney (bass) and Chris Kinder (drums).
With "Watching In Silence", CIRCLE II CIRCLE have offered a strong debut. The band represents balanced Power Metal, which has also beautiful keyboards respectively piano parts besides the noisy guitars. People, who had never heard or seen this band, will ask inevitably: Are this SAVATAGE? And this question is not unjustified because also two folks of SAVATAGE joined in writing the songs besides Zak Stevens and Matt LaPorte, namely Jon Oliva and Criss Caffery. So, it's no wonder, that songs like the cool "Into The Wind" or the strong "Face To Face" sound like SAVATAGE. Somehow, you have the feeling, that these are SAVATAGE with Zak Stevens. The CIRCLE musicians are as good as the musicians of SAVATAGE. The guitars are melodic and the rhythmsection proves that they have enough power and above all enthrones the divine vocals of Zak Stevens. The band plays most of the time in a midtempo level or they go to balladish areas. Short after you have acclimate with the album, songs like the opener "Out Of Reach" or the calm titletrack stuck in your mind. Besides Stevens is Jon Oliva responsible for the clear production. Alike SAVATAGE (you can't avoid this comparition) stands this for a strong sound, which rounds the record harmonically off.
"Watching In Silence" is a really good album, congratulations to Zak and the band. You can't really complain about songs, sound and lyrics. But the band should work more on their own style that they don't end as SAVATAGE clone, even if they are a good one. I'm sure that I can rate them higher with their next record!
Tips: "Into The Wind", "Watching In Silence", "Walls"... (Online May 31, 2003)