Terrific 2007 album by the prolific and inspired Finnish lunatics. Circle have probably put out more excellent music in the last decade than any other band. Their forte is riff-heavy cosmic jamming, often in brain twisting time signatures: the album Prospekt is a good example of this, and I would have uploaded that one if I'd realised that it's currently unavailable. Also, they do space epics (Arkades)...basically, it's hard to go wrong with a Circle album. What I like about this one is that it has a great deal of vocals on it. Vocalist and band mainstay Jussi Lehtisalo has a kind of deranged, sometimes operatic, growling, dramatic delivery, that is at once awesome and hilarious. On this album it is generally smothered in reverb. Opener 'Saturnus Reality' gives a good idea of what is to come as it goes straight for the jugular, but 'Understanding New Age' has some amazing delivery (possibly not all by Jussi Lehtisalo , it's hard to tell). The music is hard to describe, veering from buzzing thrashing walls of guitars (I'm sure I read that this album was their homage to black metal influences). Often the guitars are chugging - the band refer to themselves as NWOFHM - New Wave Of Finnish Heavy Metal, but everything is always refracted through a hazy fog, and there are certainly no harsh edges anywhere. Instrumental 'Tree On The Higher Mountain' evokes a pastoral folky fug, and 'Four Points Of The Compass' is driven along with Kraut type synths. 'Fish Reflection' follows with what could almost be a Saxon riff, undermined by some abstract gentle guitar plucking, and some of the craziest vocals you could wish to hear, and is a work of inspired genius.
Underneath all the derangement, though, there is a lot of beautiful music, which is probably what makes this such a hugely enjoyable and inspiring listen.
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