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Circle II Circle The Middle Of Nowhere AFM Records
Produced By: Not Listed

Running Time: 59.15

Release Date: Out Now

Released: EU

Musical Style: Melodic Metal

Links: AFM Records
87%
Songs: 83%
Sound: 94%
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.
The Bottom Line
The Middle Of Nowhere is a solid melodic metal album with some progressive elements and some strong melodic choruses through the middle part of the album. Overall, very good, but not quite reaching the originality or the inspiration of the debut. But still worthy of purchase for all those fans of the debut and of Stevens/Savatage.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
Watching In Silence
The Middle Of Nowhere

Line Up
Zak Stevens: Vocals
Andrew Lee: Guitars
Evan Christopher: Guitars
Robert T Drennan: Drums
Paul Michael Stewart: Bass

Essential for fans of:
Circle II Circle
Savatage
Track Listing
In This Life
All That Remains
Open Season*
Holding On*
Cynical Ride*
Hollow*
Psycho Mother
Faces In The Dark
The Middle Of Nowhere
Lost
--*Best Tracks


19/05/05: Freddy De Keyzer - freddydekeyzer@hotmail.com
Rating: 85
Another goodie here.
Maybe the debut was a bit stronger, will have to live with it a bit longer to decide.
Anyway, you can do worse than buy this very good hardrock/metal release !
If you like the debut or the mighty Savatage, you can't go wrong !


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