Released: 2012, AFM Records
The Tampa based band Circle II Circle has released a deserved best of, a double CD with a whopping 32 tracks. Including that many tracks over the span of a career that includes only five LPs anda smattering of singles and EPs raised my eyebrows right away. The natural questions danced in my mind. Which albums have the most songs, did they include unreleased tunes, did they load it with songs from their newer albums? The answer is a little of everything and it is a worthy representation of the band’s output today. This is notable, despite having a revolving door of band members. Zak Stevens has remained the one constant and the band has improbably remained remarkably consistent.
For those keeping count, BURDEN OF TRUTH has the most tracks represented on the compilation but refreshingly, the ALL THAT REMAINS EP with only 5 songs managed 4 inclusions, the highest ratio overall. On the slight downside, my least favorite album CONSEQUENCE OF POWER (also the most recent) had the next most songs, but for the most part they are good ones. I confess that I am still baffled that Circle II Circle does not have greater name recognition, but if you have not yet discovered the band than truly this is the best place to do that. Simply put, they have included almost all of their classic tunes and while I could quibble about some absences, so could everyone. All of the tracks have been remastered, which on some tracks is quite noticeable (particularly in track volume) while on others, barely perceptible. There is one live track, “Evermore”, a cool tune but better in the studio for sure. There is also an acoustic version of the excellent “Into The Wind” which feels neutered without the crashing guitar of the chorus.
As a career retrospective, FULL CIRCLE is a nice compilation of the band’s best work. It serves as a nice morsel to placate anxious fans awaiting SEASONS WILL FALL. For fans that want to dive into the best tracks right off the bat, I recommend "In This Life", "Heal You", "Into The Wind", "All That Remains" “Who Am I To Be”, “Take Back Yesterday” & “Revelations”, but in all honesty a good 80% of this album is worthy of your time. If you are a fan of Zak Stevens era Savatage, then you probably already know about this band, but if not, you are definitely missing out on quality melodic metal.