Sound — 8
"The Anti-Circle" was a surprise album that dropped unto the hardcore fans earlier this year. It comprises of Scott Vogel (Terror) on vocals, Joe Garlipp (Despair) and Andrew Kline (Strife) on guitar, Arthur Smilios (Gorilla Biscuits) on the bass and Sammy Siegler (Gorilla Biscuits, Judge) on drums.
So it's a super group consisting of hardcore veterans playing straight up hardcore. Playing just shy of half an hour, the listener gets a good dose of fast, chunky and in your face hardcore. If you're familiar with Scott Vogel's singing, you should know his tone and how heavy Terror is. His vocals fit Terror like a glove but in World Be Free, they are a little jarring at first. It takes a few play throughs to get used to the low voice and the high register music. It's like a yin and yang sorta thing that is going on, and I do enjoy it.
Guitar wise, it's all fast power chords, sweet solos and rockin' two-steps. The riffs never get boring and all the songs have their uniqueness and distinct qualities. In the song "Promises Made," there is a nice build up before it goes fast until the end of the song. And in their self titled song, there is a great little solo that acts as a lead in to the second track on the album. The bass is holding down the low end and mostly follows what the guitars are doing. And the drums are also unique as well, playing to the songs and giving a nice sound. Nothing too technical but fast and very enjoyable to the ears. Siegler plays good build ups and fills and sometimes playing some weird sounding beats to fit the mood of the songs better as well.
The overall sound of the record is quite impressive but it does take a few listens to really get into it. Luckily the album is relatively short and the longest song barely reaches the 3 minute mark so it passes you by in a fury of New York inspired hardcore.
Lyrics — 8
Lyrics in hardcore have always been real thing for a listener who has had to pay their dues in life. They words are inspiring and make for a vessel to break through the negativity that has surrounded the listener. H20 are a band that comes to mind while listening to "The Anti-Circle"; with positive lyrics mixed with aggression it makes for great word smithing. World Be Free sing about relatable issues about betrayal, burdens and hope for the world. These topics are for anyone that has been through the shit and they make it known that you can get out it.
The delivery of said lyrics match the sound of the record; angry and full of piss and vinegar. Vogel's voice is loud like a drill sergeant, shouting at the listener telling you that it's everything will be okay and that you will make it through whatever struggle you're going through at that point in life. Like I said earlier in the review, the vocals are a little rough to get into at first but just listening to the record a few times makes it a-okay.
Overall Impression — 7
I'm going to give "The Anti-Circle" a strong 7.5-8 for being a very strong sleeper album that didn't get much hype from a label. Its strengths far outweigh the weaknesses; with 14 tracks, there aren't any bad tracks individually. The record flies by time wise and that may be one of its weaknesses. About half way through the album, the songs sorta meld together and starts to play as one song. But at the 11th track, "Erase You"; it becomes a little more free and the songs unstick. Not wanting to seem redundant but the thing about Scott's vocals not really fitting but fitting is a bit of a damper on the album.
When I listen to this album, I'm reminded of bands like H20, Gorilla Biscuits (duh), Youth of Today, and Bane. Melodic, fast and a fun record to listen to. If I lost this album, I would totally pick up another one seeing as how I can't put it down. I've probably listened to "The Anti-Circle" at least once every day since I picked it up.