Zak Stevens (ex-Savatage) and Circle II Circle produced what I believe to be their best album in 2006's 'Burden Of Truth.' Epic in scope, story and music, it was an impressive achievement far beyond and better than their first two works. To say that I had high expectations when it came to a follow up is more than a little understatement. Now, in 2008, Circle II Circle brings us 'Delusions Of Grandeur.' So where are my expectations now?
I don't want to say that 'Delusions Of Grandeur' is a step backwards; that would be totally unfair. However, there are a great amount of similarities to 'The Middle Of Nowhere' and 'Watching In Silence.' If anything, this work puts the heaviness back into more traditional power/progressive metal of this band. This not necessarily a bad thing except for the fact that this prevalent current makes for predictable, almost monotonous, music from beginning to end. Additionally, with the exception of 'So Many Reasons,' it seems that a lot of the progressive elements have fallen away. Yet, 'So Many Reasons' is the best song on the album (and makes it worth the purchase) because of the prog element. And there are other very good songs on this album including 'Fatal Warning,' 'Waiting,' and 'Seclusion.' Actually, I found that the best stuff began with 'Seclusion' and continued to the end of the album. 'Every Last Thing' is another song of distinguishing character like 'So Many Reasons.' In the end, throughout the work, two things stood out: Mr. Steven's consistent and strong vocals and the brilliant guitar work.
So was I truly disappointed after last year's 'Burden Of Truth?' Honestly, no, not in the least. 'Delusions Of Grandeur' is a strong album of melodic power/heavy metal. It should not be overlooked.
'Delusions Of Grandeur' is an album of strength and consistency from Circle II Circle. Not quite as stylish as 'Burden Of Truth' and also somewhat heavier, this album still satisfies.