Circle Unbroken - Vincere

(CD 2016, 39:51, Painted Bass Records PBR 16-004)

The tracks:
  1- Portrait(3:38)
  2- Black Fire(3:21)
  3- Odyssey(4:16)
  4- The Call(3:15)
  5- There's More(3:47)
  6- Warrior's Wife Lament(5:36)
  7- Painless Disease(4:00)
  8- Insomnia(4:21)
  9- Vampire(3:27)
10- City Lost(4:05)

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This is a debut album from a Belgian female fronted gothic metal band that named themselves Circle Unbroken. A tough genre to stand out from the crowd, because there are tons of female fronted metal bands out there. Most of the tracks on Vincere are quite up tempo, and are around three or four minutes long. The album itself lasts forty minutes, so it's not a lengthy album. Some of the keyboard sounds are cool and bombastic. Sadly, the production sounds very compressed and misses dynamics. The drums sound flat, and when there's too much going on it sounds a bit 'congested'. Marieke Bresseleers has a good voice, but also frequently sings in the same way, while you can hear that she's capable of doing more with her voice.

You would expect that first track Portrait would be a calm and serene introduction to the music (a lot of gothic metal music start more calmly, to slowly build up the album), but it immediately starts 'in your face'. It's a fast song that contains power. Black Fire is very close to a pop metal track, mostly because of the chorus. It makes me tap my feet, which is a good sign. Odyssey also has a very accessible chorus, just like Black Fire. The Call starts with a piano piece. After one and a half minutes the complete band kicks in, making it sound like a heavy ballad. There's More is a straightforward metal track with some short soft moments. Warrior's Wife Lament is with five and a half minutes the longest track on the album. A real gothic metal song with a long instrumental outro. Painless Disease is a more quiet track, starting with vocals, piano and bass. Insomnia is also a calmer song, a real ballad. Marieke's voice contains a lot of emotion. Vampire is a haunting gothic track. City Lost is another ballad, and only contains piano and vocals.

This is a good album, but not spectacular. The catchy moments make this album very accessible. If you like female fronted metal containing various ballads, then this is an album you can add to your collection. If you think all female fronted metal bands sound the same, then this is an album you should probably leave alone.

***+ Iris Hidding (edited by Astrid de Ronde)

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