It's no secret that the eight years Zak Stevens fronted Savatage aren't my favourite 'tage years, and the four releases put out during that period are probably the ones I've listened to least often. Whether it was Zak's fault or just a general tendency in the way Jon Oliva and Paul O'Neil crafted the music of Savatage, I'm not sure, but fact is that I never felt the urge to follow Stevens when he formed Circle II Circle back in 2002.
Ten years on, I now have the opportunity to get a quick overview of what happened since Zak left Savatage. He did well, I must admit! Encompassing almost two and a half hour's worth of music, 'Full Circle' is a thorough introduction to Circle II Circle.
There's no point denying that Stevens has a great voice, neither that the band around him consists of capable musicians. The quality level is very high and is not a far cry from the band Stevens left. This is of course a good thing.
If I were to pick a handful of songs which I really like from this thorough collection, I'd go for the powerful opener All That Remains, Watching in Silence, Into The Wind, Heal You, Redemption and Strung Out. Whether they're the hits of the band, I'm not sure, but I've certainly fallen for them.
There are probably few surprises for long time fans of Circle II Circle on the album, except perhaps a couple of acoustic versions (Into the Wind and Burden of Truth) as well as the live versions of Watching In Silence and Evermore.
Potential fans: Go buy - this is a great introduction to a great power metal band!