The NJProghouse will be hosting a two-day event Saturday, June 15-Sunday, June 16, 2019 to celebrate 20 years of bringing progressive rock acts to the stage. the lineup includes regional and international acts.
Saturday, June 15
The Tea Club
Brett Kull & Ray Weston of Echolyn
NDV (Nick D’Virgilio)
Rikard Sjöblom’s Gungfly
Sunday, June 16
No More Pain
The Devil’s Staircase (feat. Mattias Olsson)
Circuline – “Counterpoint” (Inner Nova Music IN201601, 2016)
Circuline is relatively new American progressive rock band founded in 2014. “Counterpoint” is Circuline’s second album and it’s a mix of forward-looking progressive rock, AOR and hard rock/metal. On this occasion, Circuline invited seven world class guitarists as guests in addition to its own new guitarist, fusion wizard Beledo.
The album opens with a great instrumental titled “New Days.” Here, Circuline delivers an impressive collage of climactic sound effects, NASA recordings, synth atmospheres and soaring psychedelic guitars backed by creative drumming and bass. The guest guitarist here is Randy McStine (Lo-Fi Resistance, Meridian Voice, Red Spring, The Great Conniptions of Saint Ignatious).
Track 2, “Who I Am” begins with generic prog metal, which is a style I care little about. The best about this track are the vocal harmonies.
The third piece is “Forbidden Planet,” one of the best compositions in the album. It begins with ambient synths and develops into a memorable song with a three singer chorus and a knockout solo by Boston-based Serbian guitarist Alek Darson.
More prog metal on track 4, “Hollow”. I nearly skipped the track after 3 minutes of riffs and AOR vocals, but interestingly it gets much better after that with a keyboard solo that leads into a high intensity keyboard section with powerful drums.
Track 5, “Erosion” is a mesmerizing piece that takes you into the dreamtime drone zone with layers of ambient and looped keyboards.
“Nautilus” (track 6) begins with prog metal and later treats the listener with a notable keyboard and bass section. The final solo is by Ryche Chlanda (Fireballet, Renaissance, Flying Dreams).
Another highlight on the album is “Stay (Peter Frankestan).” Here, the band returns to real progressive rock. One of Circuline’s two vocalists, Natalie Brown, takes over and delivers an outstanding performance. But the best is the fabulous guitar solo by Stanley Whitaker (Happy the Man, Oblivion Sun). A truly memorable performance.
Next is the brief instrumental “S.O.A.” where the band returns to delectable hypnotic loops and effects.
On “Inception” we find more synths, in yet another outstanding progression of keyboards, soft drums and spacey guitars. My goodness, once Circuline ditches the tired prog metal, they are quite good and forward thinking. After the instrumental section, the band introduces its signature chorus and this time it’s truly excellent, leaning totally towards progressive rock instead of AOR. The substantial epic guitar solo here is by Alan Shikoh of Glass Hammer.
The last track leaves you with a good taste in your mouth. It’s the piece that leans closest to jazz, with a swinging beat and classic progressive rock-style synths. The vocals are also jazzier at times. The guitar solo on this composition is by British progressive rock guitarist Matt Dorsey (Sound of Contact, Dave Kerzner).
Circuline was formed in 2014 when former progressive rock tribute band Downing Grey members Andrew Colyer (keyboards, vocals), Bill Shannon (guitars, vocals), and Darin Brannon (drums, percussion) had a passionate desire to write original music. Lead vocalists Billy Spillane and Natalie Brown joined the band, having performed in numerous venues as singers, actors, dancers, and rock musicians.
Circuline’s first album was “Return” (2015). It included guest artists Matt Dorsey (Sound of Contact) on bass, Randy McStine (Lo-Fi Resistance) as a songwriter and vocalist, and Joe Deninzon (Stratospheerius) on electric violin. Paul Ranieri (Shadow Eden, Mark Wood Rock Orchestra) joined the lineup as touring bassist in late 2014, and joined the band for their second album starting in summer 2015.
In January 2016, Circuline added guitarist Beledo. He’s a celebrated jazz-rock fusion maestro.
Circuline brings fresh blood to the American progressive rock scene. If you exclude a couple of pieces on “Counterpoint” that lean towards prog metal, the rest of the album showcases a wealth of exciting new ideas. “Counterpoint” is well-crafted, with outstanding instrumental performances and splendid vocal harmonies.