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October Thorns: Circle Game

October Thorns formed in Brooklyn in 1999, with the line-up of drummer Joe "Jofu" Cardillo, guitarists Joe Chawki and Dave Pando, keyboard player Norbert Sator, bassist Dave Z and vocalist Paul LaPlaca quickly building up a strong live following. The technical progressive metal outfit then set about creating a set of demos that would cement their reputation as one of the bands to watch as this style of music began a period of progressive domination. However, as is so often the case, what from the outside seemed to be the perfect band ready to take on the world was quickly disintegrating from within and even though a few further songs would be created, almost as quickly as they had arrived, October Thorns were gone again. However, even in their brief time together the band made a mark and some of their members would go on to do some excellent work outside of their fledgling outfit. The much missed Dave Z would be asked to join Trans-Siberian Orchestra, while also being a key contributor with both Joan Jett and Jeff Scott Soto before the bassist’s tragic death in 2017. Whereas singer Paul LaPlaca would go on to play bass with Drift Into Black, who toured with the likes of Chris Caffery (Savatage) and Ted Poley (Danger Danger).

Circle Game isn’t a comeback from the band, instead this release gathers together the vintage recordings they committed to tape back in the day. The energy throughout the eight main tracks immediately hits with real force, “Jihad”, for example, powering home with a pinpoint precision that matches the technical dexterity on show. With LaPlaca proving a fine singer with a truly vibrant attack, he was an excellent match for the fiery guitar work courtesy of Chawki and Pando. Add in a lock-tight rhythm section and some fabulous keyboard work and it’s a real travesty that the likes of “Page One” and “Soul Forge” are only truly seeing the light of day now. Admittedly, at times, “Exhaustive Minds” feels much more like a band laying down their chops rather than truly playing for the song, but it’s the only miss-step in the main tracks. Completists will doubtless be delighted to know that a further four demo standard recordings have been added to the main event, and while they never really get all that close to the levels displayed elsewhere, they are interesting additions nonetheless.

Yet another band in the long line of what might have been stories, that October Thorns scuppered their own chances before ever really getting going is a true tale of woe. Thankfully we now have Circle Game to at least allow us to savour what might have been.

Track Listing
1. Page One
2. Circle Game
3. Soul Forge
4. No Idle Phrase
5. Jihad
6. Exhausted Minds
7. Leviathan
8. Sounds Of Life
9. Eyes Of Suicide
10. Sounds Of Life
11. Air
12. Tree 

Added: July 2nd 2022
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Tribunal Records on bandcamp
Hits: 287
Language: english

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