Originally posted in Valkyrian Music.
SPARZANZA are back. Well, have been back since March, when this 7thalbum of theirs, “Circle”, was released in the Northern countries. Now the stores in the rest of the world will have the pleasure of delivering it as well.
They’ve been gradually hardening their sound in the last albums, so seeing them pushing the envelope and releasing their heaviest album so far, that wasn’t a real surprise to me. Yet “Circle” has SPARZANZA’s typical dark groove embroidered all over it.
Right from the start you get that impression with the opening track “Pine Barrens”. Heavier riffs, sharper beats, faster rhythm, rougher vocals… and then the chorus comes out in such a dark melody – not melancholic but rather ominous, menacing. After all, they’re singing about the “devil being back every century”…
With all that but featuring a more easy-going melody comes the next track “Underneath My Skin”, which was the rightful choice for first single, precisely due to the melodic part – it gives a more accurate idea of the album as a whole, which I believe is the main goal of a promotional single. “Black” would have been great for that purpose as well, its stronger bass making it somewhat heavier and the “church choir” hinting some spiritual sense to the melody.
As for speedy songs, I must mention “Death Don’t Spare No Lives”. A very lively but groovy song, meaning the rhythm will hit your eardrums and embrace it at the same time.
“Breathe” could have been featured in the soundtrack of a thriller, as the words I find to describe it are the same – exciting and suspenseful. And taking “suspenseful” as cue, let me tell you about the second single “Into The Unknown”. Now this is quite a piece of melancholic darkness! The double tracking of Fredrik Weileby voice, in a grave pitch and a higher one, is one of my favorite details, giving such richness to the sound. Especially when it’s not a through and through event, it only happens in some carefully chosen parts, enhancing the beauty of this song.
The sadness in “As I Go Away” is a lot stronger, though, the piano and strings making sure to produce a melody as heartbroken as Weileby’s voice. Powerful ballad, this one.
“A circle is not something that has one specific meaning – it has several, so let the interpretation of this be in the eyes of the beholder”, say SPARZANZA regarding the title of this album. Well I choose the meaning of “completion” as this is what “Circle” is – a successful achievement by this great band.
Label: Spinefarm Records / Black Cult Records
Producer: SPARZANZA and Rikard Löfgren
- Pine Barrens
- Underneath My Skin
- Into The Unknown
- The Contract
- Enemy Of My Enemy
- As I Go Away
- Death Don’t Spare No Lives
- Do What Thou Wilt