Savage Circus

Of Doom And Death

Written by: EW on 12/10/2009 13:15:47

I have a hard time working out if a band like Savage Circus should be applauded for their dedication to a particular style or chastised for not bothering to move on. The band were formed in 2004 following the departure of Thomen Stauch from Blind Guardian with his dissatisfaction at the direction the band had recently taken. He filled a line-up around him before leaving himself for good in 2007, with the result being a band that sound EXACTLY like Blind Guardian yet with no BG members contained within, thus rendering them a bit of a rip-off in my mind.

I have no prior knowledge of 2005's "Dreamland Manor" but I know for sure after a few listens that 2009's "Of Doom And Death" features every key element of what has proven so successful for BG - soaring vocal melodies with plentiful choral backing, and speedy melodically-driven riffery. This formula is used throughout "Of Doom..." with the exception of the curious "Ballad Of Susan", a balladic number so cheesy it feels like it's come out of a Europe b-side recording session with the members of Queen giving some energetic backing vocals. Rather like the father band themselves, many of Savage Circus' best moments come in the form of the choral climaxes where songs rise to levels of significant majesty and grandeur. It might seem a subtle difference but those moments are the reasons why I feel Blind Guardian are just about the only listenable power metal band going. But, yes, this review isn't for BG, I must remember that, though such sentiments could also be spared for SC. The title track, "The Ordeal" and "From The Ashes" all reap the rewards previously sown and even as a self-confessed power metal hater I find myself nodding along to the jovial happiness that springs unbound in Jens Carlsson's suspiciously Hansi Kurch-like vocals.

Dissecting the songs on offer to the nth degree to me seems futile, so let's put it this way - ignoring the soporific "Ballad Of Susan" and what could be described as a closing outro in "Dreamland", we have 7 decent Blind Guardian-worshipping metal numbers here, and as anyone who knows their metal could attest, that is no bad thing when the performance and strength in conviction is of a high level like this. The main question which only time will answer remains though: will BG fans appreciate, and buy, this, or will Savage Circus remain merely a band destined to fill the gaps between albums of their undoubted favourite band?

7

Download: Of Doom And Death, The Ordeal
For The Fans Of: Blind Guardian, Demons & Wizards
Listen: Myspace

Release date: 23.10.09
Dockyard 1 Records

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