The line-up features Bill Morrison, Billy Duffy, Ricky Warwick, Brett Scallions, and Charles Ruggier. Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum lends his abilities to the record, but Ruggier sits behind the kit when the band performs live. If the names sound familiar, that’s because Morrison is a former member of The Cult and Camp Freddy, Duffy is still with The Cult, Warwick performed with The Almighty and Scallions sang lead in Fuel.
The self-titled release starts strong with the band’s first single “Loaded.” Of all the tracks on Circus Diablo, this one sounds closest to Velvet Revolver. The guitar parts are also eerily similar to the upcoming debut effort from SIXX: AM.
Moving through the album, “So Fine” has a faster tempo; basically a throwback to classic Los Angeles Metal. The guitars and drums are both crunchy in all the right places and Morrison’s vocals fit right in just fine, thank you very much. Coming in at just over three minutes, “Restless” is one of the loudest tracks on the disc. The chorus is definitely radio and concert worthy. If Circus Diablo hit big, this song could very well become their calling card.
Even great Metal albums have flaws, and Circus Diablo is no different. The oddly placed “Commercial Break” is a diatribe, spoken in Morrison’s native British tongue. The accent is great, the topic not so much. There’s a place for politics in Rock, and it’s called U2. Some musicians should just leave the preaching to the choir, shut up, and rock.
The mid-tempo “Hello, Goodbye” is a ballad-esque track that seems slightly misplaced on an album of much heavier material. The song is decent, but Circus Diablo seems like a band that knows how to throw musical convention to the wind and really jam. Sometimes slower songs on Metal albums seem contrived, and this band doesn’t need to play games to get radio play.
Back on track with “Rollercoaster,” the band plays at a fever pitch to keep up with Morrison’s vocals. The unique tempo and key changes keep the track interesting, but the drum pounds a familiar sound. Even with just one album under their collective belts, it seems Circus Diablo has formed a recognizable sound, uniquely their own. The catchy sound landed Circus Diablo a touring spot during Ozzfest. The band was personally invited on to the festival roster by Ozzy Osbourne himself.
In total, Circus Diablo clocks in at just over 40 minutes. That’s enough time to hook fans, and leave dedicated listeners wanting a little more from this up-and-coming all-star band.
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