The Garden by Circle of Friends is a very special album I happened to get access to on an online promotion platform. The project is a tribute and charity project initiated by Bruce Mee, who has asked his musical friends to participate in the project. The result: some of the greatest and finest names in rock business recording thirteen songs (nine of them are originals). A perfect review for Flyctory.com. The album will be published on 1st April 2022.
Circle of Friends – About The Project
Bruce Mee is one of these hidden celebrities in the melodic rock and metal genre. Two of many roles he had during his career is leading Now & Then Records and being the owner of the Fireworks Magazine, one of the key publications of the genre. Most of the originals have been written by Heartwind’s Mikeal Rosengren, who is also doing the keyboard in some of the songs. Other musicians in the long lineup of Circle of Friends are Joel Hoekstra (known as a member of Whitesnake and Trans Siberian Orchestra), Tommy Denander (Radioactive) or Wayne Bank, the former bassist of Robin Gibbs.
Circle of Friends – The Garden – Track by Track
The thirteen song album lasts 52 minutes.
1. Little Piece Of Heaven (feat. Doro)
Okay, I just cannot be fully balanced here – the album is starting with one of my all time favorites – and one of the most friendly people I ever met in music, Doro Pesch. The Queen of Metal just does a perfect opener. Melodic hard rock with a lot of drive and power.
2. Take My Love To Heart (feat. Jaime Kyle)
In the second track, Jaime Kyle presents her own song, Take My Love To Heart. Not as hard the Doro track before – but the some comes with a great melody and is simply catching.
3. Never Gonna Make Me Cry (feat. James Christian)
James Christian of House Of Lords and Circle of Friends turn the 1984 Fierce Heart into a fantastic classic hard rock piece with catching melodic elements. Great work on the instrumental side as well.
4. Bad Blood (feat. Jeff Scott Soto)
Not Doro’s Bad Blood, but a new song (written by Rosengren). Jeff Scott Soto just continues to praise Bruce Mee’s mother with finest rock sounds. However, the first three songs have been a little bit better.
5. Knowing Me, Knowing You (feat. Robin Beck)
The authors of this track: Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus, Stig Anderson. Robin Beck is indeed interpreting the ABBA classic as this fifth song. Hard rock meets pop – and gives me one of the brightest smiles I had while listening to The Garden. Fabulous!
6. Truth Or Dare (feat. Karen Fell)
The sixth song is another original, interpreted by Tao’s Karen Fell. Her high voice and the great collaboration with the backing vocals leads to a very characteristic sound. Nice listen.
7. Alone (feat. Robin McAuley)
Robin McAuley by Black Swan and MSG interprets the first power ballad of the album. The short, but so catching chorus is just what it needs to turn Alone into one of the most special listens of the album. Love it!
Here I am walking alone again
Here I stand all on my own again
8. Trick Of The Light (feat. Darby Mills)
Just when you feel that you have listened to a fantastic song or version, then the next song seems to be as good as the previous one – or even better. Trick Of The Light is just as good as classic rock could be. Could be easily the highlight of any 1980’s tribute show – even though it is so 2020’s.
9. 11:59 (feat. Ellinor Asp)
Ellinor Asp (of Hellinor) and the Circle of Friends feature Blondie. A bit of softer sounds, but great work on the guitars, which almost leave a touch of folk music to this version. Cool!
10. Time Has Come (feat. Cheri Lyn)
It is really hard to find words to describe the tenth song: these guys just do melodic rocking perfection. The songs come with different moods – Time Has Come, for example, has that beautiful fragile bridge. Another must-listen song for rock lovers
11. When He’s Gone (feat. Gabrielle De Val)
Gabrielle De Val of The Val does a great vocal performance with When He’s Gone. Female voices can be so damn rocking – the Spanish artist does not leave any doubt about that thought during the three minute song.
12. Love Is Tough (feat. Tanya Rizkala)
Tanya Rizkala is typically the vocalist and composer of Epic. The Canadian is just doing one of the many powerful and energetic performances on this album. Damn, another so-good song.
13. Don’t Fear The Reaper (feat. Robin McAuley)
Okay, we are almost at the finish line, Robin McAuley just has to close the album in style with his second appearance. Blue Oyster Cult’s classic with more rock and some Hells Bells alike opening. Not my favorite track on the album, but a finish in style.
Circle of Friends – The Garden – Spotify
I will add the Spotify widget to The Garden once the album has been published.
Circle of Friends – The Garden – My View
You can make jokes about me, dead or alive. Throw my corpse into the forest and let it be the prey of the predators. But if you record an album like this one after my death to cherish me, I will know that I made some things pretty right. Bruce Mee set up an amazing project and it is really hard to find weak spots here. A perfect tribute, a perfect album. This lady must have been an amazing heart. The second Flyctory.com music full score rating (and the third one overall) of the year 2022 is truly deserved.
The Flyctory.com Club of Excellence
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