It’s safe to say that the six-member, co-ed band Circle Of Signs is not what most Nashville tourists would expect to see and hear when they visit Music City.
The four men and two women all wear costumes and use stage names, with the men all wearing masks. And the music is not the standard Lower Broadway country or bluegrass fare, but instead a combination of Goth, Metal, and Hard Rock and other new and old styles, with lyrics which the band says will encourage the listener to “feel the pull of primeval forces . . . to a place where gods and devils can exist among us.”
Circle Of Signs members include four men, with these stage names: Sariel (vocals), Fain (guitar), C.I.G.M.A. (drums), and Mazzulkan (bass), and two women: Kalida (keys, harp, vocals), and Kursin (flute, vocals, and dance).
“This band was put together to bring about an earth-shattering event,” Fain says. “We were inspired by the novelist Anne Rice, who wrote ‘Interview With The Vampire.’ The difference between us and Kiss is that Kiss didn’t have the story. Our story was there before the band was there.”
Circle Of Signs has played shows all over the South and Southwest in recent years, and is looking forward a great deal to performing at Nashville’s Center Stage on Oct. 23. Perhaps they’ll get a reaction similar to the one they received at a club in Owensboro, Ky.
“We walked in and they expected a cover band. They were wearing cowboy hats and most of them were over 40,” Fain says. “They were taken aback by our first two songs. But afterwards folks came up and said what a great show it had been, and they said, ‘I don’t like Rock or Metal, but I want to buy your CD.’ ”
Sariel says his vocal influences “range from Renaissance bands to modern day hardcore music like Slipknot.”
Slipknot is a hard-rock band from Iowa whose CDs “Iowa” and “Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses)” were both Top 5 Billboard albums on Roadrunner Records in the early 2000s.
Other favorites include the British adult Alternative female singer Dido, and Iron Maiden, the British hard-rock band which charted Billboard albums from 1981 into the 2000s.
Circle Of Signs won an all-genre Battle Of The Bands in 2007 in Nashville, and has become a club favorite in an unusual venue – Hispanic clubs, where Spanish is the language most often spoken and sung.
“We always hope for the best at our shows, and fortunately that’s worked out really good,” Sariel says. “I’m not too surprised. Kursin (one of the female vocalists) is fluent in Spanish. We’re about to release a single that’s sung in Spanish. They’re a very devout of people, and they obviously see something religious in what we’re doing.”
The band is as much about performance and dance in their live shows as they are about music and lyrics. Their offbeat philosophy and look will offend some fans, and intrigue others.
“What is the Circle Of Signs?” they ask on their MySpace. “Perhaps you think it’s just a band with a gimmick. But when you listen to the music, you’ll find something more. They combine old with the new, ancient with the modern.”
The band has recently made a key strategic alliance, signing a management deal with Music Row veteran Jo Crowe of Crowe Entertainment.
“The Crowe Entertainment team is based on honesty, loyalty, and devotion to our clients keeping us a leader in the music industry on Nashville’s Music Row for 21 years,” Crowe’s Web site states. “Our services include artist packages, publishing, project producer, song plugging, song demos, and full-service recording studio with one of the top vocal rooms Nashville has to offer. We will critique your songs and are always looking for that No. 1 hit.”
It’s hard to say whether that No. 1 hit will ever come for Circle Of Signs, but it’s fairly certain that their Oct. 23 performance at Center Stage will raise some eyebrows, attract some new fans and drive some others away – which we suspect is exactly the way Circle Of Signs likes it.
By Phil Sweetland