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Album Review: Circles - 'The Compass (EP)'

4 August 2011 | 2:08 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

'Djent' makes its way into the Melbourne scene.

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You just know it's going to inevitably happen. It's an engrained part of music. If a genre is successful, or at the very least perceived to be then the masses flock to it, trying to cash in on the success. It happened with metalcore, it happened too with deathcore and now it is happening with djent, polyrhythmic metal.

Thankfully this shift is still in its blissful stages where we are seeing innovation, originality and purity in the sound itself. Melbourne based Circles are one band that fits comfortably with this notion. Chances are if you're familiar with Periphery and/or TesseracT then you're also accustomed with Circles. Their sound, at least in rhythmic sense, borrows heavily from the two listed groups.

Having launched their EP at the Evelyn back in late June, Circles seem ready to assert themselves within the current metal landscape. If the popular turnout at the recent Periphery/TesseracT runs of shows is anything to go by, this style is going to garner a more than healthy fan base, giving Circles a decisive edge in a market that is often fickle.

Prog influenced, muted guitar lines anchor the bulk of this EP but it is the melodic and often catchy hooks that give the listener a reason to explore 'The Compass'. The finished product is still very raw and has a few loose ends but as a whole this six-track offering is solid, concise and well-structured.

Lead single 'Clouds of Gathering' is an apt representation of the Circles sound while 'Eye Embedded' is perhaps the pick of the bunch. It begins in a forthright manner before transitioning into a sincere vocal melody that sticks in the head. 'Ruins' is the slower, more moody track while 'The Design' has Periphery's fingerprints all over it.

The time seems right for Australia to offer its own musical versions to challenge the already thriving overseas 'djent' contingent and Circles may be one of the groups to kickstart this push.

Circles' debut EP is characterised as promising. And for debut, initial efforts that should be the only thing that matters. Look, you don't indulge in a first-up offering expecting a masterpiece but if a few thrills are presented then that should be enough. 'The Compass' is still a bit behind more established peers but Circles seem more than capable of making up the ground as they progress in their career.

1. Frontline
2. Clouds are Gathering
3. Act III
4. Eye Embedded
5. The Design
6. Ruins