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Can someone please tell me how, for its relative size, Sweden can keep delivering great bands and musicians? I think it will always remain a mystery to me but at least I can enjoy the music. Can someone also tell me why I have never heard of Sparzanza before? They have already been around for eighteen years and 'Circle' is their seventh full length album. That's damn good going in this day and age considering their debut 'Angels Of Vengeance' was released in 2001!

As I have no previous experience of the band I cannot compare 'Circle' to anything that has gone before, but what I can say is if you want to listen to a perfect blend of modern hard rock & metal (with a nod to the past) that brings to mind post-‘Black’-era Metallica (but much better) mixed with the catchiness and groove of Avatar and even some of the industrial traits of Rammstein, then Sparzanza are going to make you salivate loudly. When 'Circle' was released in Sparzanza's home country earlier this year it went straight to No.2 in the national album chart and it's not difficult to hear why.

Kicking off with the very dark and slowly building instrumental 'Bradycardia', which could easily be used in the soundtrack to a horror film, it seamlessly morphs into opening track proper 'Pine Barrens' and, for the next forty minutes, thanks to some clever sequencing which allows literally no gap between tracks, you are on a journey around the circle. Sparzanza are hard hitting but utilise a stack of melody and catchiness and I guarantee you'll have difficulty not singing along to one of the excellent choruses by the end of your first listen.

Whilst the whole band puts in a great performance I'm going to single out vocalist Fredrik Weileby as the star of the show on this occasion. I've read in several other places that he has really pulled the stops out on 'Circle' and he really does possess a hugely powerful set of pipes. He can scream with the best but thankfully he uses a proper singing voice for most of the album and is strangely reminiscent of James Hetfield on more than one occasion, albeit a Hetfield who has been properly trained. Check out 'Into The Unknown' for proof. This song almost outdoes 'Nothing Else Matters' and is the first sign that Sparzanza don't have to rely on upbeat to spark your interest. That title goes to 'As I Go Away'. I've only just reviewed two stunning ballads on the latest Neonfly album and Sparzanza have equalled them here and the emotion in Weileby's voice is nothing short of brilliant.

Much modern metal leaves me a bit cold, especially in the vocal department, where singers feel the need to scream over everything. Sparzanza take a much more palatable approach and it's very refreshing for an old metalhead like me. If 'Circle' doesn't propel this band to a much wider audience then there is something very wrong with the music industry indeed.
Black Cult
Review by Rick Tilley
29th Sept 2014
1) Bradycardia
2) Pine Barrens
3) Underneath My Skin
4) Breathe
5) Into the Unknown
6) The Contract
7) Enemy of My Enemy
8) As I Go Away
9) Black
10) Death Don't Spare No Lives
11) Do What Thou Wilt
"Sparzanza are hard hitting but utilise a stack of melody and catchiness and...you'll have difficulty not singing along to one of the excellent choruses by the end of your first listen."