CIRCLE II CIRCLE
"Consequence of Power"

(AFM)

01. Whispers in Vain
02. Consequence of Power
03. Out of Nowhere
04. Remember
05. Mirage
06. Episodes of Mania
07. Redemption
08. Take Back Yesterday
09. Anathema
10. Blood of an Angel

RATING: 7/10

Vocalist Zak Stevens (ex-SAVATAGE, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA) has kept the CIRCLE II CIRCLE ship steady at the wheel for the better part of a decade and across multiple albums. In the process he has established the band as a model of musical consistency, regardless of membership changes, record labels, or trends. CIIC's melodic, riff-powered heavy metal is predictable, yet never contrived, and always performed with passion. Some albums are better than others and while the product is rarely mind blowing, it's never middling. Such sentiments serve as a concise summation of new album "Consequence of Power".

Getting to the heart of the matter, what tends to make CIRCLE II CIRCLE albums resonate with a cross section of hard rock, heavy metal, and even prog fans is the purity of delivery and the fundamental basis of the songwriting, both of which characterize "Consequence of Power". A good mix of mid and up tempo numbers, the emphasis is on a hot riff, a catchy pattern, and a booming vocal approach from Stevens that is defined by power and grace. That combo hits right off the bat on "Whispers in Vain", on which the verse increases in voltage before the song bridges with a strutting/funky riff/beat and fires right into an infectious chorus. It seems simple to the listener, but nearly impossible to pull off in a convincing manner by most bands playing this style.

In any case, "Consequence of Power" offers much in the way of muscular rockers with big melodies, including an up-tempo title track with power metal trimmings and a song in "Redemption" that is classic CIIC, right down to its memorable chorus. Though representative of the CIIC repertoire, closing ballad "Blood of an Angel" is better than average only by a thin margin. In the end, "Consequence of Power" is an album that meets expectations, which in the case of CIRCLE II CIRCLE is never a bad thing.

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