Sound — 9
Circles are a 5 piece progressive metal act from Melbourne, Australia. I've been a fan ever since discovering them a little over a year ago and I'm surprised that they have no reviews on here so I figured their debut should deserve one. They've had a good amount of success coming off of their "prelude" demo in 2010 and their EP "The Compass" in 2011. If I had to describe their sound it would be "Djent," but that's not necessarily a bad thing. This band has some serious talent when it comes to writing big and complex riffs, catchy hooks and the execution and production of the album shows it well. Until recently I was more of a "Metalcore" fan but I've found myself becoming more and more frustrated by the carbon copy bands and the constant lack of originality and live performance that seems to be surrounding the genre. I am a fan of screamed vocals in heavier music as long as they sound quite raw in tone (not overproduced and layered to hell and back) and fit in with the feel of the section or song. This is where Circles really hit it off. On top of all the deeply melodic and complex instrumentation you've got a top notch singer who can hit some crazy notes and surprise you with both beautiful and some haunting melodies.
Lyrics — 8
In complete honesty I'm not hugely aware of all the lyrics used on the album because I've only listened to it a few times but there are some interesting points about the lyrics of 2 songs in particular. "As It Is Above" features a melodic lyric section in the chorus that references the title and the title of another track "So It Is Below" where the same lyrics are used for a small section but in a completely different tone. The vocal delivery on the album is very solid and believable, backing vocals are also a huge part of Circles' sound and are always adding more depth and interest in the mix.
Overall Impression — 9
Some people would probably draw comparisons between this album and stuff like Periphery, TesseracT etc. I've never been hugely influenced by these typical "Djent" bands whilst being aware of a few of their tracks/riffs. The factor that keeps me listening to this album is definitely the vocal tones/melodies. The music goes between some of the most brutal and heavy riffs to beautiful melodic sections and all whilst balancing complexity and simplicity to make for an authentic, well written album. I would recommend every song on the album apart from "The Signal" which is a pretty uninteresting filler instrumental track. The rest of the songs including "Another Me," "Responses," "Erased" and "Radiant" are all pretty killer.