This Romania-based Hungarian trio has achieved the aim of the second full length, but unluckily not great popularity has been gained out of Transylvania and the Hungarian bordering region.
The Spartan front cover and the unusual choice of live sounds for a studio album make us understand we're ahead of a band that doesn't like restrictions or trivial musical or lyric solutions (the same lyrics are about social themes, but they're not as plain as one might expect). When I read their biography and learnt the 3-piece doesn't mean to deliver fast-food music, I had the confirmation I would have come across several surprises undictated by traditional marketing laws. And so it was.
Fading Circles' music is rich in time changes, long, articulated compositions incorporating elements of Prog, Power metal, Jazz rock and even Thrash, and showing occasional common grounds with the material from Fates Warning, Sonata Arctica, Wolverine and the likes.
A tough way to start is "The Straight Way", in which a couple of dominating riff stand out along with the clean vocals flying high in the sky. Every song of the combo contains a long and heartfelt guitar solo and this one pays homage to Kirk Hammett. It's already clear the record's a perfect match between the vocals and the guitars by the mainman, and I just have to disagree with the many negative reviews complaining about his 'boring' vocals.
"Burden to My Soul" shows that these two years after the debut have been useful to find a fruitful compromise between the slightly distorted Jazzy structures and the powerful rifferama. here and in the following title track mid-tempos rule and once in a while the singer's vocals have points of contact with Messiah Marcolin's. As said above, he's also responsible of the guitar parts, and he divinely faces the challenges that the rhythm and the solo guitar parts request. As to the title track, nobody sane can resist the series of crushing and techno Thrash riffs spawned one after another; it's a vortex forcing headbangers to spend all of their energies in sympathy with the palmed-mute riffs sustained by refined drum passages. The bass is winding, never mixed loud, yet it keeps reinforcing the rhythmic patterns with honour, while the wha guitar creates a mix of Metal and Jazz I've never heard before, and they do their job damn well. A marvellous concoction of solos, relaxed moments, crescendos and a live feeling that brings our minds back to the easy and catchy 80s Metal, nuff said!
A veil of keyboards and Middle-Eastern riffs opens "Elevating State", soon veering towards Class metal shores; the Jazz rock layers abound, interrupted by the Metal rides, where the drums erupt and flood the listener yet avoiding blastbeats; the drummer is actually always dodging excesses and has a very aristocratic approach, which isn't bad in a formation like this, even when it deals with a few seconds of Heavy or Thrash metal. The axe solo here is more intense than the others and places itself between Malmsteen and Marty Friedman.
An old dusty record of classical music stands as the intro to "Unconceivable Attraction", starting delicate, still soon growing with hot riffs, punctually replaced by soft tunes, the way the Romanians have accustomed us to. I'm convinced that fans of Metallica's "Black Album" might discover reasons of interest in these 8 tracks, especially in this one, particularly fit for FM radios and guitar virtuoso aficionados.
The only instrumental, "Dead Horse Ride", is rooted in wha sounds, Prog metal brushes, guitars reminding the early Iron Maiden but only sound-wise, and a general alternation between climaxes and relaxed parts. I like this song, but more presence from the bass and the drums on some occasions would have been beneficial.
"Trial of Lies" is the most punishing song, the tightest of the album, and after the atmospherical breaks with declamatory vocals there are Power metal insertions making the track tastier. It's not hard at all to guess this composition is going to be the ever-requested classic at the Hungarian unit's shows, and not only for the endless and uncountable solos ;)
Also "Reflection" includes overwhelming riffs after a sober beginning. In this case Istvan recurs to vocals a bit higher and I think he ought to walk this path more often in future, because we're in fron of his best performance behind the mike; I have goose flesh! The last surprise is a gleeful and lively ending sounding closer to melodic Punk rock, but with the refined touches of an indie Rock act.
Decidedly a record suitable for all those who play the guitar and love guitar-based albums, but it's true that "Cyber Whirlwind" offers large numbers of Heavy riffs which might make a great deal of metalheads' day, as well as 6-string hero fanatics. My advice is not fall into the trap of omitting a listen to this outfit because it comes from a country with scarce and recent Metal tradition, as what you can earn is a group of songs crossing over genre borders, thus creating a new sub-genre.
Ignoring the cliches of Metal has never been so satisfactory and profitable, but you have to be patient and explore, since fast time beats, catchy repetitive refrains are absent here. Let the album grow, find the treasures hidden and enjoy them for all eternity.
MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - Jan 30, 2012