|Circle II Circle The Middle Of Nowhere||AFM Records|
After a lot of internal upheaval and some unwelcome tinkering with the band's sound while on tour, it was important for Zak Stevens to get this album right. The band's debut album was critically and commercially successful and the fallout over departing band members cast a pail over what was supposed to be a highly anticipated follow-up.|
So with a new line-up in tow, the anticipation over this release was more to see whether it was possible to recapture the essence of the debut.
I think most fans will be pretty happy with the results. The Middle of Nowhere is thankfully along the same musical path of the debut, but doesn't quite reach the high's that album did.
However, there is 10 tracks and 50 minutes of well played, well written American melodic metal here and fans of the debut will, I think, still come away happy.
New guitar recruits Andrew Lee and Evan Christopher prove to be worthy additions, providing the necessary muscle for Zak's songs.
As expected, AFM Records have put a lot of money into this release and the production can't really be faulted. It's big; it's loud and right in your face. I think In This Life is a good moody metal track, but perhaps not a killer opening track.
It's not until Open Season that things kick into high gear. Holding On hints at a more contemporary sound which continues through the record.
Highlights include the moody Cynical Ride; the progressive, but melodic Hollow; and the aggressive edge of Psycho Motor, which features a cool chorus hook.
The songs remain consistent and all within the same length, no epics here.
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