Sound — 8
Circle Of Contempt is a fairly new metal band with their debut album "Artifacts In Motion" coming out only last year (2009). When I first heard this band's work, I was amazed at how vicious and brutal these guys are. From the very beginning of the album, C.O.C. does not relent from delivering technical, heavy, punishing riffs. Even heaver are the vocals, which make any listener question the integrity of the lead vocalist's throat. Low growls are quickly followed or even overlapped with intense higher screams. The brutality is relentless on this album, and the band displays much talent in bringing it all together. C.O.C. probably knows that what they have is good, and unfortunately they may have stuck to that ideal a little too much in the album. While each song seems to have a slightly unique character, the differences are subtle and you might be asking yourself, "Didn't I already hear this earlier?" Maybe I tend to notice a lack of variation more than most, but in this case I think most people will hear the same general things in each song. However, the sheer brutality of the album as a whole makes up for this, as listening to only two or three tracks will most certainly get your blood going and your head banging. Here is a summary of the tracks on this intense album: 1. Color Lines: The heaviness and technicality begins right off the bat with this song, where C.O.C. first presents their technical prowess and sheer viciousness. Even during a softer break about two-thirds the way through, the singer does not relent, cuing the rest of the members to come in later with more pounding riffs. And just like that-- the song quietly fades away, ending just as quickly as it began. 2. Nothing Imminent: A stark contrast to the soft fade of the last track, this song begins fast and rampages on until breaking into a metalcore-like chorus. This trades off with technical metal riffs until a rather advanced guitar solo comes in towards the end and brings it all home. 3. Artifacts In Motion: Arguably the best song on the CD, this song begins with a distant bass riff that sets yet another extremely heavy tone for the rest of the song. There are welcomed higher guitar parts that lull above the riffs throughout the song, until a serene break. Then it's immediately back to the thrashing riffs, until another softer break that carries the rest of the song until the end. 4. Concealed: Another thundering riff begins this song until a breakaway into some softer work. But as before, the calm does not last long before the storm. There are some very cool vocal parts that ride the melodic line, and then we're back to more brutality about halfway through until an abrupt end. 5. Remnants Left: It starts like an interlude, but quickly amps up the intensity again. More technicality, more brutality-- this song continues what was started at the beginning. Very cool yet simple background guitars during the choruses. 6. C.O.C.: Yet another in-your-face beginning, just like the start of the album itself. Nearly halfway through there is a break into a cool percussion section that is soon followed by more intense screams. Short, intense, and to the point. 7. Prelude For The Implication: This track breaks away from the trend and begins with a slower, simpler (but still somewhat intense) riff. A little bit later some electronics come in for a short break, with the main riff resuming soon after. This song does an excellent job as an interlude: it takes a break from the vicious technicality but does not let the intensity completely fade away until the end where you anticipate the next explosion of brutality. 8. The Pendulum Swing: A rather Meshuggah-like song at the beginning, this track picks up where we left off with more punishing riffs and advanced technical work. There is a small break nearly two-thirds in that gives way to a pounding end. 9. A Day For Night: This begins with the same style but suddenly gives way to some hands-down awesome bass work. It seems they felt sorry for the mostly unheard bassist and so they give him the spotlight for a bit, which he takes and fills impressively. Good track with same brutal feel. 10. Zerohour: A thumping riff starts this track off and holds on for a while, with vocals not coming until at least one-third the way through. The song then breaks into sustained chords that slow to a quiet electronic ending. Interesting and good sounding song. 11. Scour The Sharpside: A very different beginning for a very good ending track. The former song lets go of the heaviness just long enough for it to catch you by surprise and snatch you right back up again here. There is a distinct August Burns Red sound here with actual singing(!), and the track slowly decays with electronics and closes the album gracefully.
Lyrics — 9
Despite not being able to understand any of the lyrics when they are sung, C.O.C. Makes some very impressive and downright beautiful (in a dark and melancholy way) metaphors in their lyrics. From songs about decay to anthems of revenge and revolution, it seems that the album's general theme revolves around consequences and the turning of tides. The lyricist does an excellent job of painting pictures for the mind's eye. And the way these lyrics are delivered emphasizes the changes to come with sheer intensity and viciousness. It almost feels like we are standing on the edge of the imagined change, and the lead singer is trying to push us over into the inevitable consequences with his voice. Overall, the words in this album are deep and skillfully portrayed, in spite of barely being able to be understood.
Overall Impression — 8
For a debut album, "Artifacts In Motion" is solid, tight, and enjoyable. If you can get past the repetitive nature of the album's tracks, you are definitely in for a treat. The overwhelmingly vicious sound that comes from these guys is astounding and a welcomed addition to the metal scene. The band shows that they can play with intensity and technicality, and they deserve a listen from anyone who enjoys metal bands such as Meshuggah or August Burns Red. Ever since I first heard them I have been anticipating a new album, and I hope that these guys gain enough popularity to produce a second one.