(7/10) Even though Savatage played this unique Wacken show this summer as a double header with TSO, I doubt if we can expect more from this iconic metal band. Maybe, or better hopefully, I'm wrong here. Anyhow, the Savatage-spirit is still alive and is expressed in different bands that rose out of the might power metal band. Jon Oliva's Pain is around, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra celebrates hugh successes and not to forget Zak Stevens' Circle II Circle.
The singer with the great voice started the band in 2003. He left Savatage and had a time-out from music. But since the metal flame was still burning, Stevens came back with his new band and released with "Watching in Silence" a debut that also included song done in a cooperation with Jon Oliva and Chris Caffery. The Savatage connection was still alive.
This never changed and of course Zak Stevens was part of the mentioned Wacken 2015 show. But in parallel he worked on the next Circle II Circle release. "Reign of Darkness" is the name of the new longplayer which is the band's seventh studio album.
The songs on the new album have been written by Stevens, together with the two guitarists Christian Wentz and Marc Pattison and it was also this duo of axemen that you can hear on "Reign of Darkness".
Maybe the really big hightlights are missing on the new studio album, but there is enough stuff on the longplayer that is worth to be listened to. "Ghost of the Devil" is one of tracks I like most. It's a shorter number on the disc, kept in a modest pace but with a lot of drive. And even though it's not even four minutes the songs with quite some twists that gives it a bombastic character.
The two longer tunes on the album belong also to the ones you should check out. "Victim of the Night" is a powerful metal track with Stevens voice as the 'peperoni on the pizza'. Furthermore there is the closer "Solitary Rain"; a song that is a good example for the mentioned Savatage spirit. Already the piano introduction reminded me to "Dead Winter Dead" and there are moments like this in those 5 minutes.
"Reign of Darkness" might not come with the magic Savatage was spreading, but the spirit of the US metal heroes can be found back in this new Circle II Circle release. And that Stevens is a great singer is what he underlines with "Reign of Darkness".
- Victim of the Night
- Untold Dreams
- It's all over
- One More Day
- Ghost of the Devil
- Deep Within
- Taken away
- Sinister Love
- Solidary Rain
Genre: Power Metal
Release Date EU: October 16th, 2015