Reviewed: February 2000
Released: 1999, Thorazine Dreams Publishing
Nero…the “wonderful” Roman emperor, probably most remembered for his persecution of Christians, the fire of Rome (you know the one who played his lyre as flames devoured his world around him) and finally his death by his own hand…what a guy. What does this band have in common with THE NERO? Well on the surface – nothing, except it was a cool name for a band. The band hail not from Rome, but from Northern Virginia.
Besides containing 10 tracks progressive-doom metal, “Massive Obliss” also has some multimedia stuff on it including a video for the title track “Massive Obliss” which is very well done and adds a nice touch (but lose the black nail polish please)! The cover art is awesome (who’s the chick guys? I’ll give her a 5 outta 5 haha ;-)) The music is kind of a form of “doom metal” at times, but not like the boring bluesy doom bands that you’re probably thinking of. To me, Lion’s Share are probably the master’s of this style of metal and anyone who already happens to like Circle of Nero should check them out. Musically Circle of Nero has it together. The solos are intense – check out the extended solo on “Mother Doom.” Unfortunately though, it sounds very empty with no backing rhythm guitar – just bass. The solos are played well, this is definitely not simplistic up-tempo blues. Unfortunately, the guitar rhythm sound is by far not the best I’ve heard. It’s a little too smooth sounding – not enough rawness or crunch. I would say that the drums are the key to this band. While they don’t slam you over the head with speed and power, what is played is tight and in places – intricate. A few double kicks thrown in also give this CD life. There are some really nice drum parts worth pointing out such as the beginning of “Walls of Ruin” and especially the drum intro to “Thorazine Dream” – they should of kept going with this upbeat tempo on this track, instead it heads into a straight ahead song. From listening to the band it’s not hard to hear some Sabbath in there mixed with some progressive elements – especially with the guitars. This band has a few hurdles to overcome. It seems as if the songs are hit or miss. In some sections everything just clicks – the drums the rhythms and the vocals. Then there’s a song like “Hear My Cries” where the vocals are kind of this wailing, whining, off-key thing. I know they can do better than that because they do it on other songs like “Thorazine Dream” and the CD opener “Church of the Pagan God.” A little more range and power on the vocals would of helped.
This CD is a great introduction to a band that has a lot of potential. If you think a band that plays a cross between Sabbath and Dream Theater might be cool, then check this out. More info on the band can be found at www.circleofnero.com/
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