Supremacy (Australia) – Vicious Circle

This album is a grower, which is strange considering how openly likeable the music is. The music on Supremacy’s second album, ‘Vicious Circle’, is openly catchy, melodic, and poppy heavy/power/gothic metal that doesn’t suck. Far from it, in fact. It’s driven by all the things that irritate a lot of metalheads: clean, lilting female vocals, synthestra, obviously rock influenced songwriting, and a whole host of other, similar features. But it seems that Supremacy is able to avoid the most painful of pop sensibilities and simply employ those sounds to provide an extra dimension of catchiness and enjoyability. Probably more amazing is that track after track the band manages to be consistently good, with simple, well-crafted songs that are memorable long after the album is over.

What makes the pop elements so tolerable is how well they’re employed. Jadi-Anne is a remarkably talented vocalist; far better than the majority of melodramatic, overblown divas that the metal scene is infested with. Her tone is never operatic or packed with vibrato; it’s just a strong, steady, measured tone of beautiful sound that meshes perfectly with the rest of the music. And that is very good music indeed; the omnipresent keyboards (generally a piano line plus backing orchestra) never become irritating, and always add to the overall texture of the songs. Riffing is powerful and generally based off power metal conventions, with simple chugging or NWOBHM inspired riffs forming the rhythmic base while dramatic, traditionally influenced solos burst in perfectly. Incredibly professional and delicate hands were clearly at work while constructing these songs; as far as heavy metal with pop sensibilities go, this is up there with artists like Sonata Arctica in consistency and quality.

Production on this album is flawless, with each instrument given clarity and fullness. It fits the music’s similarly measured tone; it never gets ahead of itself or out of control. The music is gorgeously symmetrical; you generally always know where the songs are going to go, but that never diminishes the overarching quality of the compositions. Every melody and rhythm the band plays is terribly infectious, and this is an album that demands to be listened to repeatedly. And with those repeated listens comes an even greater appreciation for the music here, which reveals more and more carefully layered melodies which work so brilliantly together. It’s just a great album in a very simple and pure way: it immediately grabs you with its qualities and never lets up throughout its running time.

‘Vicious Circle’ is obviously not music who demand their metal be inaccessible or in some ways harsh. For most people, though, it’s impossible to go wrong with something as catchy and undeniably well-crafted as this. The sophomore effort by Supremacy shows an underrated band with a great deal of talent in their grasp, and it’s highly recommended to all the heavy, power, and gothic metal fans out there. It’s simply excellent.

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~ by noktorn on December 19, 2007.

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