The first thing that strikes you when you first listen to Tied To The Machine from Welsh rockers Circle Of One is that this is a big sound. The second is that it is old school rock. Riff laden power/pop/rock ala The Scorpions and Queensryche that our European cousins in Germany and Sweden lapped up with gusto but was never really that big here in the UK. You kind of expect to find four guys dressed in spandex with big hair and a pout behind this kind of music, yet apart from the pouting you could not be further from the truth. (See the pics on their myspace).
Rich Gardner has a voice with all the same overblown theatrics of James Dean Bradfield and the pomp of Bruce Dickinson which in reality is perfect for their brand of stadium rock. Imagine if The Darkness took themselves seriously and you're close to what Circle Of One are all about. They rock, of that there is no doubt and their attempt at an anti establishment anthem, Tied To The Machine proves this as does the mighty fine Watch Her Fall but they are prone to laying on the sugar a bit to thick with limp soft rockers like Everyday Miracles and Automatic. I can see the sea of lighters waving in the air as I write.
At 13 tracks it fails to hold the attention and could have done with a wee bit of self editing to tighten it up, but it is what it is and what it is is a polished piece of pop metal that will I'm sure win them many admirers. Personally... I've heard it all before and seen it done better.