Of Awakening

The Circle

THE CIRCLE is from Germany and they formed in 2020. 'Of Awakening' is their second […]
The Circle - Of Awakening album cover

THE CIRCLE is from Germany and they formed in 2020. 'Of Awakening' is their second full-length album. The metallum entry for this band says they are symphonic black metal. They are obviously black metal and while I won't argue their use of symphonics/keys, they also definitely have a huge doom metal component to their sound. They aren't slow all the time as they are quite adept at changing their tempo on the fly, but the atmosphere is drenched with melancholic textures. It strikes a great balance between styles however. The blackened part of their sound is powerful and razor sharp but it isn't overly extreme. Their symphonic elements, which are more violin focused than actual bombastic keys, are not at all overbearing and their doom side isn't too cavernous or funeral-like. The band plays to their strengths and knows exactly when to lean into one element more than the other.

The vocals are extreme but can be understood pretty well. There are cleans as well, that aren't overly great, but are serviceable. 'Ruins, My Dying World,' opens with gentle tones but as the song progresses, a melancholic atmosphere built with dense riffs and seismic bass add layers to the song. The middle part and it's violin passage adapts a regal quality to the song as the bass and drums keep the low end firmly planted while offering a decent flow to keep stagnation away. The first minute into 'Of Awakening' is faster paced, built up by robust double bass and a tone that grows more sinister as the song moves forward. The second half is more slow paced and methodical but what it loses in speed, it gains in viciousness. 'Afflux,' beautifully makes itself known with Gothic melodies and low clean vocals. The song smoothly moves along to heavier waters in the last half. The drumming here is crisp and tight, keeping the song together as all its different elements swirl together.
'Ashes and Fading Tides' is a rather chaotic song. The violin/keys lead out the opening moments of the song which pushes the black metal side of the band to the forefront.

The song is also riff based, another element added as the song picks it up. The drums send the song outwards to pill back every element of the band back onto itself. The last minute and a half of the song has the band letting all their emotions hang out, an exposed nerve of raw musical tapestry. 'Reign of the Black Sun,' is harrowing in its opening moments, the floodgates of blackened death spilling over into sweeping instrumentals. The chorus is really catchy too but never loses any intensity and even picks up a cinematic angle. The clean vocals return near the end for another round of a  melancholic catchy movement. The ending guitar solo is beautiful too. All in all, THE CIRCLE's 'Of Awakening,' was a very nice surprise in the way it mixed in various styles while staying in a highly emotive state.

8 / 10









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"Of Awakening" Track-listing:

1. Ruins, My Dying World
2. Of Awakening
3. Afflux
4. Reign of the Black Sun
5. Ashes and Fading Tides

The Circle Lineup:

Stanley Robertson - Guitars
Philipp Wende - Drums
Asim Searah - Vocals

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