Album 0016: Savage Circus – Dreamland Manor

Release Date: 2005
Genre: Power Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Evil Eyes (06:58)
2. Between The Devil And The Seas (05:25)
3. Waltz Of The Demon (06:56)
4. Tomorrowland (06:27)
5. It – The Gathering (06:15)
6. Beyond Reality (05:23)
7. When Hell Awakes (07:34)
8. Ghost Story (07:05)
9. Born Again By The Night (05:16)

Total Length: 57:19

This band is sort of an offshoot of Blind Guardian, formed when the drummer parted with the band, citing ‘musical differences’. This album is what he believed the band should have been doing, and it certainly shows. The drumming, guitar work, vocals, and overall composition was similar to past Blind Guardian. In fact, it’s still an evolution, so this could have been a different path that that band could have taken. Let’s get on with the review with that ground work laid, then.

Evil Eyes was pretty clearly picked as being the song to introduce the band, because it’s got a good pace, shows what the band is set out to do, and is just pretty fantastic. Between The Devil And Seas showcases my main issue with this album even this early on. Most of the songs really do sound the same. I hesitate to say this, but it almost seems like laziness on the part regarding production. This album is well produced, and the songs are well written and played, but they do sound pretty similar. They could have kept all that by changing up how the guitars sound, or adding a few more keyboard parts, etc. That said, this song does have a very cool chorus, and a neat bridge part with a faux-harpsichord.

Waltz Of The Demon offers up a different song structure, and benefits from that. It does however stretch on a bit too long, and could have used with some trimming. I do enjoy the vocals though, they seem fairly heartfelt in their cheesiness at times. Tomorrowland is the first track I can’t really care for. It’s got the same ideas as the previous songs but not utilized as well, which goes back to what I said in the last paragraph. It – The Gathering is pretty similar in that vein. I can’t say too much about it, it has some cool vocal moments but it can’t save the song from being long and uninteresting.

Beyond Reality differs itself by being more of a ballad. It focuses on the acoustic guitars and straight melody, and it shines because of that. I do wonder if that’s only in the context of this album though. When Hell Awakes may be the worst offender. The longest track on the record and all I can say positive about it is that I sort of like the instrumental section. Ghost Story nearly trumps it though, but just happens to be shorter. At least things turn around at the end with Born Again By The Night, saving this album from a distasteful end. The verse and build up to the chorus really is the fantastic, and the main riff is engaging and fun. It also gets a few style points for having very brief harsh vocals. I’ll be honest, I would love this album if it was an entire album of the first 3 songs and this song. But it’s not, and for that it mostly stands in memory as mediocre.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

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