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Circuline - Circulive::Majestik CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.49 | 5 ratings

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4 stars Circuline is one of the new breed prog rock bands from the USA, manned by a stellar crew of talented musicians who clearly know their stuff. They have released two studio albums that have captured attention within the prog community, led musically by keyboardist Andrew Colyer and drummer Darin Brannon, and it was perhaps time to show off their live skills in order to trly appreciate their considerable talents. Especially within the progressive rock genre, the live experience often can stamp the highest level of praise upon a style that certainly can benefit from studio wizardry and special effects to elevate their craft to the loftiest technical heights. I remember seing the Flower Kings live and though they are not necessarily among my super favorites on record , I must admit that on a stage, they were mind-blowing in terms of all the twists and turns they performed seemingly at will.

Within the context of the 13th International Rites of Spring festival at Majestic Theater in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on Saturday May7, 2016, the band owned the stage and recorded this interesting visual and aural document . Filling out the line-up are singers Natalie Brown (sarcasm, red lipstick and corsets) and second guitarist Billy Spillane, stunning guitarist Beledo as well as guests Harold Skeete (Ad Astra) on bass and violinist Joe Denizon (Stratospheerius).

The instrumental overture ''New Day'' features the tortuous electric guitar swerves that sets the mood perfectly, as these musicians excel at their respective instruments, erecting complex sounds and moody atmospheres that will permeate their set. Andrew in particular, shows some fabulous dexterity on piano, as he introduces ''Who I Am'', leading the band into the dual vocals that hits the center stage with conviction. The complexity wrestles with accessibility, swirling, swerving, diving and careening in various directions., in controlled frenzy.

Three tracks from their debut release are up next , ''Return'' is typical of the American prog style that insists on creative brightness and the instrumentalists certainly don't shirk their responsabilities, Beledo shooting off some blistering leads while Andrew sets the melodic platform, ably abetted by Darren's positive drum beat. ''Forbidden Planet'' shows off a more lyrical style, an anthem-like piece where both Spillane and Brown excel , solidified by Beledo's blooming guitar forays and Colyer's symphonic keys. ''Hollow'' begins with serene piano and evolves into a roller coaster of soft and hard, alternating moods that keep you on edge, a stop/start musical collage that confounds and stretches the enveloppe.

The sound becomes a tad muddled on ''Stereotypes'', salvaged by some great individual moments from Natalie, Andrew and Beledo, while ''Inception'' delivers more symphonic overload. Bassist Harold Skeete does a bass solo on ''America the Beautiful'' , a piece many have heard before in a more traditional setting, that segues nicely into the highlight track ''Nautilus'', a powerful ode to an aquatic universe 'circulined' by Andrew's liquid keyboards, his synth solo particularly hinting at Star Trek-like themes, while the bass carves below. The delicate ''One Wish'' keeps the foot on the petal with some fine instrumental adornments until we appropriately reach ''Summit'', another definite highpoint where the drums get tho excel and shine in the solo spotlight, prefaced by a much jazzier emanation from guitarist Beledo, aided by dense dual vocals. The piano and drum interplay is tense and delightful, the mood superlative.

Ending with ''Stay'' and ''Silence Revealed'', the concert showcases an American band that has put its stamp on the prog community and should continue to provide interesting music for all the behold.

4 live arcs

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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