Tuesday, March 15, 2011

CIRCLE "RAKENNUS" (Ektro Records)

Totally rock infested live document from the always challenging Circle, this time channeling their true NWOBHM roots into something reeking of tradition yet stinking of prog. This is easily one of my favorite Circle outings, seeing the group in hyper lightspeed maniacal rock format, taking the best elements of "Hollywood" and leaving behind the narrative threadlines weaving said album together. This is Circle going straight for the jugular, every riff paired down for maximum rocking efficiency.
Always a band of hypnotic economy, "Rakennus" is a definitive effort in terms of fusing everything cool and awesome about Circle while still remaining true to their earliest repetition-favoring establishing recordings. The songs are as metal as Circle has ever been, with the vocals absolutely straining for the stars in their focused sweaty intensity while the guitars shred away with no respect for anything other than pure rock n'roll fury. This is wasted, drunken metal like you used to listen to in your darkened basement room. The spectre of Judas Priest haunts the proceedings, making way only for freaked out blasts of John Carpenter style synthesizer sequence magic and the bruising surges of drums (seriously-the drumming here is insane; there's even a solo!)
As of late Circle seem to have been in a very mellow space, turning in some seriously trippy, incredibly chill recordings seemingly indebted to foresty mysticism and icy frigid free jazz tempered with new age meandering. Even at their best in this vein (the superlative double live album "Telescope") you couldn't help but wish that the band would just kick it the fuck in and start slaying motherfuckers onstage. Here they do, and it's absolutely glorious. The crowd on this one must have been totally leveled and thoroughly exhausted by the end of this show, because it's just a monster. This is the sort of shit you could slam dance to until the world dissipates into a threadless ensconce of blinding, hot light, a total assimilation with astral physicality and pure presence. This is why Circle are one of few bands that i have any interest in seeing perform live-the relentless creativity and that confounding element of the always unknowable-never having any idea what to expect or anticipate, only knowing that's it's gonna be blindingly cool in some way or another. Circle seems like endlessly flashing lights to me, a state of being unable to see or know, dropped into a space where you're just forced to react to what's there and take it all in to whatever you're doing. It's joyous, insane music born completely of the know and the real. "Rakennus" is one of the most forceful and visceral demonstrations of Circle's head-nodding mastery that i've heard. If you have any interest in venturing elsewhere with only music as the guide, this album is fucking essential. Highest possible recommendation.

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