"Full Circle"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Back in 2002, The Quill's "Voodoo Caravan" rocked my world real hard. At a time when I was pretty much into death and power metal only, it showed me how GREAT straight-up hard rock could be. I thought the band was destined to be huge after that. Their next release "Hooray, It's a Death Trip" was much darker and not nearly as good. They released another disc "In Triumph" which I have not heard to this day and then they disappeared into what I thought was the black hole of oblivion.

Whoa, there, pardner, don't jump the gun! 2011 sees The Quill back in action with "Full Circle" and this record is certainly in the "Voodoo Caravan" tradition. I was skeptical at first, because the band lost their amazing vocalist Magnus Ekwall, who had one of the great voices in rock. Well, there must be a factory somewhere that produces great singers named "Magnus" because the new guy Magnus Arnar fits the old Magnus' shoes with ease. He comes across like a cross between classic Chris Cornell and Jorn Lande, with some Coverdale thrown in. With that voice guiding the ship, there's no danger of crashing on the rocks.

The Quill don't remake the wheel's crunchy, groovy soulful metal that straddles 70's influences with the best of the grungy 90's. A Soundgarden influence is HUGELY noticeable...listen to the opening of "More Alive"...but there's more than that in the mix. I'm not gonna lie and say there's anything original in tracks like "Bring It On" or "24/7 Groove", but these songs just kick ass with simple, catchy hard rock goodness. The lead guitar work is superb and the other Quill members keep up with Arnar very well. The new tunes are more compact and less psychedelic than on "Voodoo Caravan"...whether that's an advantage or disadvantage is up to you. I still rate "Voodoo Caravan" as the best Quill record, but "Full Circle" is what I've been waiting for since 2002 and if you're into groovy metal with some stoner attitude, it will more than satisfy. Great to see these guys back in action!