Circle II Circle
Circle II Circle – Delusions Of Grandeur – Chaos
By Barbara Fara
Zak Stevens - vocals
Paul Michael Stewart - bass
Andy Lee - guitars
Evan Christopher - guitars
Robert T. Drennan - drums
Delusions Of Grandeur is the latest release from Tampa progressive metal band Circle to Circle. Zak Stevens joined the band Savatage in the early 90's for the release of Edge Of Thorns, Dead Winter Dead, Handful Of Rain, and Wake of Megellan albums. Before The Poet And Madmen album in '01, Zak decided under amicable circumstances to part with Savatage and start Circle II Circle so that he could spend more time with his family. In 2003 he released Watching In Silence and spent time co-writing the material with his best friend Jon Oliva. Lots of people have compared Zak and Jon Olivia to the new Jaggar and Richards of metal. Zak's music, regardless of the band he is with, has always turned out to be best sellers. Recently Zak performed in Marietta at the Local H with Circle II Circle, but sadly I had other obligations and didn't get to go. For a scary metal head, Zak is actually a big loving teddy bear who loves his wife and his creativity and puts every minute of energy into it. This is a true musician. Why are they not on the Projekt Revolution tour or the Mayhem tour? They should have been asked to perform at these shows; they would have sold it out. With the help of Jon in '03 and again now, this album should be nothing less than a big hit. Let's look at the tracks, my minions, and if you don't go and buy this CD, you will anger The Barb, so be warned.
Fatal Warning – Dedicated to George W. Bush. This is an honest, true song when you look at it from a younger person's point of view. Walking into a recruiter's office, where they are lied to, told college will be paid for…then the sad reality hits when they are shot and lay dying - all the promises made and they never got to see them. Instead they come home in body bags. This war is about oil, and who gets the most of it. Our job was to find Bin Laden; this was not supposed to turn into a war for oil and land. These troops must come home; this is a senseless fucking war, and all we are doing is sending home the dead who never get to grow up or see their kids grow up and never get to see all their milestones happen. Instead they see their bodies coming home as a so called war hero, all for the rich man's oil.
Dead Of Dawn –This has nothing to do with zombies coming out of graves whispering about BRAINS. But, Zak Stevens, in the 2-3 interviews I have done with him, all of which have been smart and interesting, but even more importantly there is also a current of psychic bond between us as just as I had with Chris Barnes of 6 Feet Under fame. That is a very powerful connection. And we always have great interviews. When you look at this, you know that he is talking about any soldier or any person that has served oversees and come out alive but mentally they are still seeing the war in the back of their head. They see death everywhere. They see everyone that they loved and made friends with in their unit be singled out and killed. That must be the hardest thing for anybody to come home with. Losing a limb will remind you of it, and you wonder why it happened. Zak is trying to show you these poor soldiers that have been discharged with medical reasons, the details of which only the soldiers know. And the sad part is family can't understand what that person is going through unless one of their family members have served in a war prior to this. Soldiers need help, whether mental or physical. Our V.A.'s are not doing anything for them because our government is not doing everything they should to help these guys. The veterans walk around, unsure of what reality is even when they come home in one piece and they carry your friend's scars as they remember how they died. It's time for the government to help our troops that have come home readjust to life outside of the battlefield.
Forever – This is dedicated to the late great Chris Boss, who committed suicide on July 4th many years ago. Nobody understood him and nobody was there to help him except his best friend, who was then left to take care of the souls that Chris left behind. So Ed then enlisted in the military and I thank god that he was discharged before he could get hurt. To the families of 9/11, this is also dedicated to you, for all the answers that you did not receive from our government. When it comes to the troops, you can imagine them walking into a suicide that they were not expecting, and then they end up dying or handicapped; this is dedicated to them and their loved ones that have to deal with the afflictions of their loved one's wounds. The message in this song is that there is help for everyone out there as long as you look for it. If you are suffering from PTSD or suicidal tendencies or a family member of a person who has past and you are grieving and want to join them. Know that they don't want that for you - they want you to live on. Please look up a suicide hotline and if they can't help you, find some professional help, even through the V.A. or a free clinic. If you are a kid, take it out in your music. Become a poet, a musician, anything to release those thoughts and when people can't accept you, fuck them. Seek the help that you need.
Echoes – You have a person at home that is either suicidal or just returned from the military with shattered dreams. You dream of all the crazy things they say to you. In the middle of the night they write this letter telling you that the only thing keeping them alive is you and they try to make it clear what's going through their head and they put it in an envelope. You have your morning coffee and you find this letter, to mom, to loved one, or to family. And they finally get the picture that they need to help and the only one who can help them is you, you are support not an enabler; this is a cry for help and you must help them because in the long run, what you do for that person will come back to you threefold. Someday, someone might save your life too.
Waiting – The person knows he's dead. He knows that the pain is over, and the memories of his loved ones will always be with him. He knows there will be no more pain, and the contribution he gave his country won't be forgotten. You can't hear him, but he sees you, and he wants you to know that the waiting is over and he is ready to go into the light. When the two of you had the worst of fights, the only thing that kept him alive was remembering you and he wants you to know that it is time to let him go.
Soul Breaker – Now, this is from the opposite point of view. This is the loved one that has lost someone in that war or any form of accident. This poor girl, or parents find the person that they lost comes back to them and the dream is so realistic that he or she can reach out and touch them and have a wonderful conversation with them. They want them to move on, and they want them to know they are okay. So they are not a soul breaker, they are sending the message that they have found peace and they will love them forever.
Seclusion – Dedicated to President George W. Bush. This is the message that your troops are trying to send you. As they lay in the sands dying, waiting for a medic to get them the help that they need, they know they are dying. And all they want is the answer to how they got into this land of confusion… oh yeah; his name is Bush, he and his government convinced them to enlist. He asks would you die for ME in these sands? Would you lie here dying? Would you enlist your daughters? Would anyone in the government tell their children to enlist? The problem is they do not go after the upper class kids, they go for the poor and middle class kids that think they will have a future, but instead they are forgotten. Bush, I wonder if you are having the same nightmares that I am having as I wait here to die - for you.
So Many Reasons – This song reminds me of the movie Forth Of July with Tom Cruise. Forget about the part where he ends up as a paraplegic, forget nobody giving him and his fellow vets no respect when they came back, but the idea is this: these soldiers when they come home, in one piece or not, they know they have beaten the reaper and given a part of their soul to this country. No matter how much you try to keep me from living, you can stare me down, but you will lose. All the memories I have of my loved ones keep me going, and I know someone will understand. Even if it is not going to be you, it will be the love of my family. Death will not take me this time. Try mother fucker, but you wont win. Not this time, I plan to grow old and get married and have kids and have that house with the white picket fence, dogs in the yard, and kids running around and the person I love at my side. When I have all that, then maybe I will open the door to you, but you will not leave my loved one alone without me now, so bring it on.
Chase the Lies – Drugs are not the answer to the questions in your head; doing speed or meth or any hardcore substance that keeps you awake, you are trying to hide the fact you are in pain. You can't find the answer in the drugs, it leaves you hitting rock bottom; get the help you need, or one day you will think you are alive, but you will wake up dead and no one will hear you and you won't even know why you are dead. It's the drug abuse. Go to a NA or AA meeting or put yourself into rehab and work the program and find the answers to the questions that need to be answered. And you will realize it was any number of factors: peer pressure, depression, an abusive household. All these things matter; some people escape and know how to get away by saying to themselves that wont end up like their friends and family - I will stay clean and sober. This is the answer to the question, get the help you need. 24 hour hotlines are there, call them, and get the help. If the program doesn't give you the answer, look inside yourself and realize how to fix those lies you are running from. This is a song of help for those kids and adults who are addicts on booze or drugs. Get help.
Every Last Thing – You're a soldier in your little bunker and just before you are sent out on a mission, mail-call comes in and you get the Dear John letter. You don't know whether to cry or kill yourself. And then you realize all the memories that you two shared, and ask how could she just walk away. How could you throw all that you shared down the toilet? This is to every girl who has ever written a Dear John letter to a soldier overseas and decided to fuck his best friend and start a life with someone else. Here is the bitch, lady. What you spit up will come down. He was trying to come home to you and now I hope to god that your new loved one isn't sent home in a body bag - so think before you make this move. Think of what you are doing to the soldier trapped alone in a foreign country; surely this is killing him just as much as the war is. This would be one of the songs I would tell every soldier to send to the woman that left them behind. Nobody should be treated like that, military or not. Everybody needs somebody and you are walking out and shutting the door on something that could have been special. And if he should beg for one more chance, give it to him - he loves you. So why not wait and see what happens and rebuild what you had when he comes home.
Zak is a natural singer songwriter, and with Jon's help on the past two albums, you have nothing short of a masterpiece. The album is honest, it's truthful and mainly it covers every part of what every person is going through because of this war. It's breaking relationships and sending soldiers home dead. I give him credit for speaking the truth. Zak on vocals, Paul on bass, Andy Lee on guitar and drummer Robert Drenenn – they have really put together an epic album with their musical arrangements. I am shocked that this album did not hit the charts at least in the top 5. Problem is the country, or more specifically the music industry does not want to hear the true feelings of musicians about what is going on in this world. They want happy jolly songs, when right now we are in the middle of another Nam. We need Circle II Circle to open our eyes. This is their point of view. I would suggest if you are a fan, know that this is totally different from their past releases; honest, carries integrity, carries beauty and a love for his country and what is happening to it and the soldiers that no one understands. Somebody has to help these kids get the help that they need. This album is moving and powerful, buy it.