Nine Circles
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Nine Circles

Long Valley, New Jersey, United States | SELF

Long Valley, New Jersey, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative


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"Review of Nine Circles "Situations""

Nine Circles share the same hometown as Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi but that's where the similarities stop.
Nine Circles focus on alternative hard rock with a modern twist and their new piece of work "Situations" is quite a solid album.
Some of the riffs remind me of Rich Ward's Cafu and Sick Speed as well as Kings X, they could work a little harder on the choruses but thumbs up for cool guitar work.
Highlights: Unusual scarecrow, Amnesia, Sunday

Reviewed by: Kaj Roth


From the Outside EP - 2006, Now Entertainment
Situations - 2009, Self-Released



Completely DIY and self produced, Northern New Jersey's Nine Circles makes a bold mark with their polished sound and dynamic stage show. Nine Circles is currently showcasing across the East Coast with their explosive live show, promoting their debut independent release, "Situations", amazing audiences and converting new followers at such venues as The Bitter End, Arlene's Grocery, Crash Mansion, Maxwell's, The Whiskey Bar, Sullivan Hall, Don Hill's, and Kenney's Castaways.

Situations has received rave reviews on New Jersey's Rock radio station 105.5 WDHA and Allentown, Pennsylvania's, 95.1 WZZO. The catchy masterpieces of their previous record (From the Outside, Now Entertainment) landed them an independent deal with Warehouse Records. Although the label fell by the wayside, it brought them the exposure they needed and numerous licensing and publishing deals. Nine Circles has since shared the stage with national acts such as Eve 6, Butch Walker, American Hi-Fi, SR-71, Bigwig, Splender, Wheatus, Ben Lee, Tidewater Grain, and Liquid Gang. Their hook heavy, hard rock, performances put the band in a league all its own, far from all the emo/hardcore/punk outfits that are crowding the Tri-State music scene today. With vocals you can sing along to, and chords that make you want to break out your air guitar, Nine Circles create moments that watchers want to keep reliving again and again.

They have just recently finished producing their debut independant record, "Situations", at their home studio in Long Valley, NJ. This finely crafted record reveals a genuine, but complex, band, with dynamics and feeling that shift effortlessly from song to song, while still being memorable and meaningful. Everyone in Nine Circles is completely capable of writing, engineering, recording, and performing every instrument, yielding finely produced indie record.

The band's musical career has been in the making since 1980. Singer Cory Pensa explains, "I started taking piano lessons when I was four years-old. My parents made me practice 30 minutes a day and it sucked." But, influenced by 80s power bands such as Bon Jovi, Boston, and Winger, he decided to pick up the guitar five years later and it won him over. Soon after, he dabbled with the drums. But who better than to play the drums than Cory's little brother Eric.

Eric had grown up with music in the house. Between Cory blasting Steve Vai songs in his bedroom and their father blasting Thomas Dolby and Nine Inch Nails in his basement studio, it was inevitable that Eric would take to an instrument sooner or later. Eric's drumming can be compared to the seconds hand on the clock hanging from the wall in your high school science class. His timing is nothing short of perfect, which allows bass player Steve Morris to lock into the grooves effortlessly.

Steve has been playing bass since high school. A veteran of the New Jersey Ska and Reggae Scene, Steve brings a diverse music background to the group. His rock solid tone and tasteful phrasing make the driving guitar riffs of Nine Circles groove.

Tom Spears adds the gasoline to the fire that is Nine Circles. A home-town friend of the Pensa Brothers, Spears adds his own brand of incendiary guitar sounds to the mix, putting the finishing touches to a line-up destined for greatness. His vibrant stage presence and technical mastery of the guitar impresses even the harshest of critics.

The fact that they are all in one band is almost amazing. The possibilities are endless. "Its like Christmas everyday," Cory Explains, being in a band with a killer drummer, a sexy bass player, and a kick-ass guitar player and really connecting on a level most bands don't, or even can't."

Cory reveals the band's songs are inspired by "real-life experiences we all deal with." He continues, "I won't lie. Most of them are about relationships gone bad." Lucky for listeners, bad experiences make great songs.

Just listen.