Circle Unbroken - Vincere

10 songs
39:46 minutes
***** *
Painted Bass


Circle Unbroken from the Flemish part of Belgium are still a very young band that was only founded in 2015. They consist of six musicians, with keyboardist Franky De Mangelaere seeming to be the main songwriter. The centre of attention although is the shrill and frivolous acting front woman Marieke Bresseleers who apparently has a magnetic effect on her audiences during live shows. The band released their debut album Vincere in April this year and also already won a female metal contest in the Benelux area.

Some people told me that the band is not yet able to capture their infectious live energy in the studio, and as I havenít seen them play live yet, I canít draw any comparisons.

The songs are generally kept rather compact at more or less four minutes per track. The album begins with the first single Portraits which is a pop sounding piece of symphonic metal. The song is very catchy and quite nice, making access to the album an easy thing. This is followed by the quiet Black Fire, not the bandís most exciting piece. And yet it is apparent that Marieke has a very strong and versatile voice. The albumís biggest flaw is that the band is putting too much emphasis on their mellow side. It is obvious that symphonic metal bands like to play ballads, but in the cast of Circle Unbroken, it is just too much of a good thing. Half of the material can be labelled ballads, which is just unacceptable in the case of a metal album. Main songwriter Franky has classical piano training and likes to show it, but by doing this he is thwarting the bandís momentum enormously. Circle Unbroken are better when they are playing their upbeat material, like the pop Thereís More which could also have come from The Gathering, and the dramatic Warriorís Wife Lament which is full of energy.

Had all songs this standard, then Vincere would have left a more lasting impression. As it is, it must be said that Circle Unbroken are right now just one symphonic metal band among many others, and they will have a hard time to stand out.

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