| Artist: Lycia|
CD Title: The Burning Circle and Then Dust
Label: Silber Records
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Apparently throwing any semblance of chronological order to the wind, the second of Silber's Lycia reissues jumps from the later Estrella back to the band's 1995 release, The Burning Circle and Then Dust. Of all the reissues, The Burning Circle and then Dust is likely to be the most controversial. It's not due to the remastering quality or the altered artwork. Rather, it's due to the fact that a whopping 8 tracks have been removed from the original double CD to make this a single disc. Let's face it, despite the fact that it was a band decision that returned the album to its original vision, cutting tracks from a reissue is typically a bad idea, more so when said tracks comprise nearly a third of the original release. For the record, the eight missing tracks are "The Better Things to Come", "In the Fire and Flames", "August (Part 1)", "August (Part 2)", "The Facade Fades", These Memories Pass", "The Burning Circle", and "The New Day".
While what's missing here certainly deserves plenty of attention, so does what's included. The Burning Circle and Then Dust finds the band at something of a transitory stage, shedding the darkness of past albums but not yet reaching the full moody ethereality that would define their next. Rather, the disc, a fan favorite, is a somewhat poppier affair that serves as something of a precursor to Estrella. It also, notably, marks the band's first release featuring Tara Vanflower.
Drifting between multi-part instrumentals, songs featuring Mike Vanportfleet's trademark guttural whispers, and a couple songs featuring the more ethereal Tara Vanflower, The Burning Circle and then Dust is a diverse yet sonically consistent affair. Noteworthy songs include the powerful opener "A Presence in the Woods", the lovely, melodic "Sleepless", and the spacious Vanflower-fronted "Nimble" and "Surrender". However, it's the upbeat, bass-driven, single-worthy ethereal pop of "Pray", the similar but slightly simpler "Nine Hours Later", and the rhythmically interesting guitar-arpeggio-centric "Anywhere But Home" that truly steal the show.
While this album is worth picking up, particularly for its very nicely remastered sonic clarity and glimpse into the band's original artistic vision for the album, long-time fans will certainly want to hold onto their original double disc Projekt issues. The omission of the missing tracks is artistically understandable, but they really should have at least been included as a bonus EP of sorts. Still, despite its flaws, it's a strong presentation of the landmark album that shed Lycia's past and foreshadowed their future.
Lycia website: www.lyciummusic.com
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