|Review: Red Circuit - Homeland|
Label: Limb Music Products
Year released: 2009
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
Review online: December 9, 2009
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Chitral Somapala. What comes to mind when I mention that name? A mediocre Gus G project that gets worse with every album it puts out? A band that sounds eerily similar to mid-period Kamelot? Or is it possibly his latest endeavor in band-hopping, Red Circuit? If you have never heard of these guys before, I would not blame you. It's a strange hybrid with annoying vocals, bland songs, inconsistent album pacing and enough sleaze to embarrass a hair gel factory. This is Homeland, folks.
I don't really know all that much about Chitral Somapala. Everyone either seems to love the guy or hate him. I never heard any of the Firewind stuff he sang on, and I only heard a little bit of Civilization One, so I don't have much of a basis for comparison besides this album right here. And I have one question based off of it: is he trying to out-sleaze 80s Klaus Meine, Joe Elliot and Bon Jovi all in one album? Does he coat his throat with grease before he sings? This performance is not necessarily bad, as he has a pretty good range and a fair amount of charisma, but honestly I feel like I need a shower after I listen to this. His voice is just so sleazy and smarmy and yergh. The 80s ended about twenty years ago, man; you don't need to try and bring it back.
The Bon Jovi comparison might have been taking it a bit far, though.
The music itself is heavy, kinetic Power Metal in the vein of Angel Dust, except for the fact that it is built around the blatantly rock-ish vocal melodies on Chitral's end. I'm not sure if he wrote these melodies or if they were handed to him, but it is definitely a point of interest. It isn't bad – in fact, being a fan of rock myself, I don't have too much of a problem with it – but it is just interesting, is all. Songs like the title track and "Absinth" have vocal melodies so streamlined and straightforward that they will have many a listener doing a double take upon hearing them the first time.
When the band gets down to the meat, they can really play. Just check out the ball-busting hooks on "The World Forgotten Sons" or the fantastic "Fall in the Skies." If they made a whole album of this level of quality and complexity it would probably be a lot better than it is. "Fall in the Skies," despite having some of the most sugary-sweet vocal lines in existence, just really works. It has searing, explosive riffing and also seamless transitions into ominous balladry, and it's really memorable, too.
It's a shame that they don't do anything worth hearing after it. The first half of the album was shaky enough, but for the band to churn out the annoying "Healing Waters," followed by the dragging "See the Light"? It's just lame. And then we get the ballad "You Can Sleep While You're Dead," which is just awful, and I mean awful. I think the main reason is Chitral's sleaze taking over everything as the guitars drop out completely for a lot of the song. It's really quite annoying and weak, without any kind of real emotion to it at all. Between drinking a bottle of horse urine and listening to this again, bring on the horse, fuckers.
The bonus track is titled "Dead Man on Vacation," a song title so stupid that I can smell the suckage from a mile away. And indeed, it is a dragging pile of boredom that nobody will ever remember aside from that retarded name. Seriously, how could any song titled that possibly be good? Were they even trying? Red Circuit isn't bad, but they will have to do a lot better next time around if they want any chance of being taken seriously. Just listen to Modus Vivendi again. It will do you good.
|Other related information on the site|
|Review: Haze of Nemesis (reviewed by MetalMike)|
Review: Homeland (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
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