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Rating:
8.5
Burning Circle - Ruins Of Mankind
10 May 2012


01. Circle Cycling
02. Ruins Of Mankind
03. Kindred Spirits
04. The Burning Circle Of Life
05. Ghosts Crying
06. Gabriel Principle
07. Gargoyle On A Belfry
08. Dies Illa
09. Dies Irae
10. What Would Life Be?
11. Murphy's Law [bonus]


Rating supplement: In the year of our Lord 2011, the Metal Powers That Be dropped a slew of great debuts on planet Earth, and decided to repeat it next year.

Going through prog metal releases of 2012, we've noticed all of the usual offerings - the classic and traditional, the quirky, the big-scale projects, the mellow and atmospheric, to name some of them. Now it's time for some closet prog™ - something seasoned and served with an abundance of "alien" genre elements and completely appropriate for people who don't enjoy pure progressive metal so much. Burning Circle play a perfect mixture of progressive and heavy, power and symphonic metal. But do not expect flowery music - there is a dirty edge to it.

In the short intro track, you'll notice an uncanny resemblance to Symphony X - more precisely, their neoclassical (Symphony X - Twilight In Olympus) and symphonic (V: The New Mythology Suite - The Oddysey) periods. But don't you worry, even though an occasional reference to these prog metal greats will inevitably pop up from time to time, it's mostly due to the similar mixture of genres in both bands' music. Burning Circle can certainly hold their own.

I already mentioned prog, heavy/power, and symphonic elements - what else is there? The band adds an unexpected dark twist with tasteful growls and menacing riffs, and also surprisingly funky bits and pieces (taking over the entire, ridiculously danceable bonus track "Murphy's Law"). Luckily, not only the composing versatility is here, but also the versatility in playing - a crazy chase of riffs and guitar solos, a keyboardist bringing the piano goods, juicy drum beats and that strong, prog bass (think Thomas Miller or even John Myung) will get your groove on. Your fear is that I'll now mention the vocalist unfortunately sucks? Hell no. Aleksandar somehow manages to sound like an inherently evil twin of both Russell Allen and Matt Barlow in the same time, but that only fills in for a part of the description - you'll just have to hear him for yourself. He also has a formidable narrative ability, which becomes evident when you're sucked into the band's storytelling epic "Ghosts Crying".

I'm most pleased a band like this comes from Serbia, kicking that much ass on the first album already - maybe 90% of the bands in the scene will finally figure out that fourth-tier, bland and cookie-cutter music just isn't going to cut it anymore. In case you wanted to check them out, but you fear about this being rooted in "that snobby prog genre", don't worry. It won't make you tap your feet in uneven rhythm for the rest of your life, or make you laugh hysterically every time you see a picture of a bear* or whatever it is that you silly people-that-don't-do-prog-metal fear.

P.S. Kudos for the decision to place the first ballad somewhere other than the second half of the album and for not placing the (obligatory?) ten-minute epic at the very end. It's a rare occasion in my reviewing career.

*My friends came to the conclusion bad Dream Theater jokes ruined my sense of humor.


Band profile: Burning Circle
Album: Ruins Of Mankind


 



Written on 20.05.2012 by
Milena
A part of the team since December 2011, writes about the progressive, the sad and the melodic. She's nice until she's not.
More reviews by Milena ››



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Boxcar Willy - 20.05.2012 at 21:55  
Welcome back, Miss Mora

Great review, but this album sounds like my nightmares.
Milena - 20.05.2012 at 22:01  
Written by Boxcar Willy on 20.05.2012 at 21:55

Welcome back, Miss Mora

Great review, but this album sounds like my nightmares.

Regardless of whether or not I'm posting in threads (exams), I'm still reviewing. So you'll hear plenty more from me.

For everyone else, you can find three tracks for free download on Nocturne Magazine's webpage (scroll down a bit). Or check the same three tracks via Youtube if you prefer.
doyle777 - 20.05.2012 at 23:59  
I listened to their demo tracks in 2011, and they were great, I also listened to Nocturne free download promo tracks about month or two ago, and they were great, I read this review and it says the album is great - I must buy it!
Burning Circle - 21.05.2012 at 19:29  
Ten minute album preview:Youtube
Ag Fox - 21.05.2012 at 20:58  
bandcamp for free streaming / download
Risto - 22.05.2012 at 19:40  
The singer is pretty good (when he sings clean, that is...), but otherwise this is severely lacking edge based on the promo streams around. The 7 minute "Gargoyle on a Belfry" is ruined by bad ideas which doesn't really tempt me to go further when it's labelled progressive

Nice writing once again though!
Milena - 22.05.2012 at 23:08  
Written by Risto on 22.05.2012 at 19:40

The singer is pretty good (when he sings clean, that is...), but otherwise this is severely lacking edge based on the promo streams around. The 7 minute "Gargoyle on a Belfry" is ruined by bad ideas which doesn't really tempt me to go further when it's labelled progressive

Nice writing once again though!

I was in two minds on whether to put it in the prog box or not, because there's a lot of external elements, but I couldn't say, for example, that it's prog power or prog/heavy because, out of those external influences, none (power or heavy or even thrash, whatever) prevails over the other. Ultimately, what definitely puts it into the prog box is - can't believe I'm saying this, since I usually disagree with that theory - the time it takes to settle in.

The tracks they have selected for the promo, with the possible exception of Gargoyles, are far more straightforward and lighter than the rest of the album - my favorites are definitely "The Burning Circle Of Light" or "Gabriel Principle" (and, well, almost every other track to be honest) which aren't on the promo. So if it becomes available for streaming at some point, definitely check the whole album out. It's not your type of prog, but you might like it better when you hear the whole thing.
Dark Blood - 23.05.2012 at 03:48  
I've heard the album samples on youtube and it sound interesting. I might go check this one out.

Very nice review. Keep it up!
Kosst Amojan - 04.06.2012 at 21:34  
Just got the album and listened it twice already; loved it from the first moment.
This is quite an effort by lads from Ruma, especially when knowing this is their debute.
Strong guitars, but even stronger lead vocal who at times reminds me to Bruce Dickinson and John Arch at their beginnings.
I have no doubt that they will soon find an international label, so all of you could hear this strong debute of Burning Circle.
Recommended by any means!

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