Of Awakening
(AOP Records)

Black Metal is a swamped genre with so many subgenres of Black Metal too rearing their ugly heads over the years, so naturally there are many bands and releases that are hit and miss. So when this reviewer was asked to review this album by German Black Metal band THE CIRCLE I was curious yet cynical, but ready to see if they had anything of interest to offer my ears. Do they? Well the short answer is yes. The album kicks straight in with an atmospheric acoustic intro before kicking into an uptempo riff, but it isn’t long before the tempo slows down again and they go into slower moodier territory. The opening track ‘Ruins, My Dying World’ continues in this vein, swapping inbetween uptempo sections and more moody atmospheric slow – mid paced sections. The production is of the crisp and very clean variety, shunning kvlt points and abrasive rawness for a well balanced modern sounding album with each instrument cutting through the speakers like a gleaming scythe that has just been sharpened and cleaned, although there is still some grit around the edges and it isn’t overly polished. The vocals are a mix of the screamed variety with a lot of well sung, rich sounding clean vocals added for good atmospheric measure. And there’s plenty of lower growled vocals in places too, so a very mixed bag vocally which is always good to hear in a genre famed for its one dimensional high pitched screamed vocals. There are 5 tracks on this album which last for just under 34 minutes. This will definitely appeal to fans of atmospheric and symphonic Black Metal with hefty hooks as there are some very catchy riffs going on throughout this album. This album has a lot of musical twists and turns and they keep things interesting for the duration by switching up the tempos constantly and mixing things up with great effectiveness. There’s a good use of violin too which isn’t overpowering and compliments the overall aural atmosphere. Ethereal Black Metal.,

Kat “Shevil” Gillham

Kat "Shevil" Gillham

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