In the inlay of this record the band thanks Anekdoten, Dream Theater, Rush, Genesis and Iron Maiden among others, and this may also be a pretty fair summary of their music. Circles End is a Norwegian band from Kristiansand based on the two guitarists Omar Johnsen and Trond Lunden. They have written the lyrics and music and are also the dominating musicians on the record. They have such unlike style and plays so intelligently together that even those who are not fans of guitar based heavy-prog can find much to enjoy here. In addition they have a ground solid rhythm section. Both vocals and keyboards are mixed low, but that doesn't really matter, this is Johnsen and Lunden's show. The record has a nice, clear sound which brings out details, but we get the 'guitar-wall' when that is needed. Musically it varies between pretty straight heavy-prog and quite complexe parts where the co-playing of the two guitarists goes far beyond similar 4/4 riffs. There aren't many guitar solos here, but the ones present proves both guitarists to be competant both in aspect of tecnique and note choice. Circles End is a ravishing and fresh record with a comfortable performance of an above average material. It is a proffesional and talented band who without doubt haven't said their last words in the Norwegian music scene. Look out for these guys!
TARKUS MAGAZINE #11 |by Jon Christian Lie
In our last issue you could read the review of Circles End's debut CD which was released in 1998. The band from Kristiansand was exceptionally well received in the review, and I absolutely think it was well deserved. The debut showed a band well planted in the heavier prog genre - partly influenced by Rush, but also with heavy emphasies on emotional melodies and passages. How has this band developed from the debut? To start with the physical differences, the band's keyboardist Ruben Gentekos is gone. They have done no attempt of replacing him, and on this demo they don't use keys (except from one place for a couple of seconds!). The other big difference is that the band has got a new lead singer (guitarist Omar E. Johnsen did the vocals on the debut). It can also be mentioned that the demo was recorded in the rehearsal rooms, and not in a regular studio. The music has become darker and more gloomy, and the vocals are mixed higher, which makes the sound somewhat different, and the melodies are more emphasised. It may seem like melancholy is a major factor this time, and at certain times Kurszus brings out a desperation which is pretty effectful with the music. One of the tracks also has a guest violinist, and that goes magnificently with the dark atmosphere in the music! The band has also made room for some complexe progressive guitar riffs, which is performed parallelled and poly rhythmically by the two guitarists. Another promising recording from this competant group. I am already looking forward to hearing their next album!