For those who are unaware, San Francisco’s Slough Feg has been producing high quality old-school heavy metal since the mid-1990′s. Their signature sound combines elements of early metal and Celtic-inspired hard rock topped off by the bizarre lyrics and unique vocals.
I have always been a big “Savatage” fan and the “Zak Stevens” period has some of my favorite albums of “Savatage”. “Zak Stevens” has a unique crystal voice that raised even higher the already high musical level of Savatage. Most of the people know that after his departure from Savatage he formed a band called “Circle II Circle”.
Their early material was co-written with either “Jon Oliva” or “Chris Caffery” and after their debut album the entire band except Zak quitted and joined “Jon Oliva’s Pain”. “Circle II Circle” always played lots of Savatage stuff in their shows, so it’s pretty clear that the “shadow” of Savatage always haunted them.
I cannot name any song from their career that made an impact or could be described as a breakthrough, as they’ve always delivered well-played songs that lacked of uniqueness. After five full length albums their sixth release is called “Seasons Will Fall” and follows the same recipe as the past albums.
The new album sounds too mediocre and can’t be compared with Zak’s glory days in Savatage. As most of his fans, i expect more from this talented singer and Circle II Circle than copying Savatage songs, style or whatever. I don’t mean that the songs are bad, but something’s still missing.
Even though Zak’s voice sounds like when he joined Savatage in the early 90’s, the heavy guitar riffs and solos, keyboards that make the songs sound majestic, and the fantastic drum and bass parts, all with amazingly produced sound, I still can’t memorize a single song from the album or could say that I found breathtaking.
From the first song you can hear the “shadow” that I mentioned before and the list goes on and on. “Without A Sound”, “Epiphany” or “Never Gonna Stop”, are also songs you immediately hear the Savatage influence on the music. One song that I could say that I liked is called “Isolated”.
There’s nothing in “Seasons Will Fall” that could make a difference or could say that is played for the first time, just well-played Savatage-style songs. I’m very frustrated once more by this band as i expected more things from this release and the only thing that I think by the time I’m writing this review is a Savatage reunion so i could probably see the magic where it began. Fans of melodic hard rock/ heavy metal should take a look in this one. They may find something in this album.
|Track List||Line Up||01. Diamond Blade
02. Without A Sound
03. Killing Death
05. End Of Emotion
06. Dreams That Never Die
07. Seasons Will Fall
08. Never Gonna Stop
10. Sweet Despair
12. Only Yesterday
|Zak Stevens – Vocals
Paul Michael Stewart – Bass
Bill Hudson – Guitars
Henning Wanner – Keyboards
Christian David Wentz – Guitars
Adam Sagan – Drums