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HellCircles - Prelude to Decline

Prelude to Decline
by Matt Coe at 03 June 2014, 10:45 AM

Italian band HELLCIRCLES originally began in 2008, slowly carving their own sound through a self-financed demo “Stillness” in 2009 that gained great press in all the relevant domestic metal magazines. After their first record deal with the UK label Rising Records fell apart due to financial troubles on the label’s part, the band ceased activities for a year while resolving their contract issues. Finally in late 2013, Valery Records came to the table and the quintet finally get to release their debut album, the 10 track “Prelude to Decline”.

Stylistically the band has a lot in common with the harder edge power metal bands that beef things up with thicker triplets, cultural/ epic harmonies, and occasional bursts of speed/ thrash drumming. As a vocalist Marco Parisi has a multi-octave attack, occasionally hitting Ralf Scheepers/ Roberto Tiranti –like bird call screams, but often preferring to stay around a middle level more in common for people who love BLIND GUARDIAN or BRAINSTORM. His keyboard work dazzles as well in a neo-classical fashion a la STRATOVARIUS or like fellow domestic act VISION DIVINE – check out his solo flourish in “Take or Give Up” for instance.
The guitar and vocal harmonies elevate HELLCIRCLES to immediate professional status – as this band understands that you need to deliver hooks in any manner possible. Be it a slower, almost power ballad arrangement with “Like a Hero” or the IRON MAIDEN-oriented mystical riffs throughout closer “Release Your Pride” – the series of thunderous dual synchronized parts or spot on vocal harmonies (along with the occasional death growls) give the listener plenty to latch on to, head bang, or air guitar in unison as the music pours from your speakers.

And speaking of special guests, it doesn’t hurt to have PRIMAL FEAR singer Ralf Scheepers singing in a co-vocal capacity on “Our Drawing”, bringing him back to his early GAMMA RAY years. Good things come to those who wait- and I feel “Prelude to Decline” is a premiere release for those who love a lot of Italian traditional and power metal without a lot of the pre-fabricated ‘happy’ melodies or incessant high gear arrangements that make every track indistinguishable.

4 Star Rating

1. Stillness
2. Let Us Unite
3. Take or Give Up
4. Turn Back Time
5. Like A Hero
6. The Damage Done
7. Our Drawing
8. Rise Again
9. Prelude to Decline
10. Release Your Pride
Marco Parisi – Vocals, Keyboards
Roberto Fornaroli – Guitars
Francesco Ravara – Guitars
Danilo Arisi – Bass
Davide Ravara – Drums
Record Label: Valery Records


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