Thursday, January 28, 2010

CIRCLE "TYRANT" (Latitudes)

Everything about this album screams about being something that it really is not. An album called "Tyrant", issued shortly after Circle began attaching the NWOFHM tag on their records (New Wave of Finnish Heavy Metal for those who haven't heard), featuring two hooded figures on the cover donned in chain mail, with a band photo inside that looks like it was taken on the streets of San Francisco circa 1986, with the band striking some classic Exodus poses, themselves donned in leather, chains and ripped denim vests. This should be totally metal. So you throw on the record, three massive tracks sprawling across about 45 minutes, and Circle have fucked with your preconceptions one more time. There's not a lick of metal to be found here-there's barely any licks at all. Or riffs. Or solos. Not even a harmonized fill. What you get is a jittery, paranoia-fueled canopy of blackened free jazz, each piece dominated by a cloudy overlap of dense, thick guitar/keyboard drone over which the slightest hints of Circle's trademark repetition rains down. Some tracks have moments of more melodic guitar figures, like the first track's endless sort of buildup into a wash of nothingness , others seem to be nothing more than jam experiments put to tape. There's definitely no structure here and very little in the way of composition. This is Circle just fucking around. Aesthetically i'm more impressed because if anything, i would say this is Circle's best co-opting of black metal methodology that i've heard from them thus far (albeit the Abruptum end of black metal). The intermittent vocals that pierce the songs are totally venomous, way more metal than i would have thought Circle capable of, and the whole vibe of this record is DARK. I guess you could think of it as the fraternal twin to the side project that some of the guys put out on 20 Buck Spin a few years ago. As fey as the whole thing is, i found myself pretty absorbed into this record as i listened and i think it's actually pretty damn good. If you're new to Circle, this would NOT be the best place to start, but then again, i'm not really sure where the best place would be. A circle just keeps repeating...

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