The Compass

01. The Frontline
02. Clouds Are Gathering
03. Act3
04. Eye Embedded
05. The Design
06. Ruins

[Basick Records]

When you think about the connotations of a compass – an essential piece of equipment for sailors; an instrument of direction – it should be no surprise to learn that the name of this release from one of Basick Records’ most recent signings Circles is a pointed finger and a welcome boot up the backside in terms of where and with whom our support and encouragement should lie.

You see, we’ve been raving about this five-piece a lot lately – you might have noticed – and it’s with good reason. Interestingly, Circles are from Australia; a country that doesn’t have such a prolific output as far as great metal is concerned. Leading track “Clouds Are Gathering” has been bandied around like nobody’s business, and it’s utterly killer – but how does the rest of the EP hold up?

Actually, hold up one second – let’s talk about that track for a minute. It has managed to spark a lot of excitement, and I really can’t fault it; everything works in unison, exuding clarity and efficiency at all times. It also contains one of the best one-chord riffs in living memory, as well as a couple of other crackers.

It would be easy to brand Circles with the increasingly-tiresome djent stamp – a pseudo genre that is quickly becoming oversaturated – due to their penchant for chuggy goodness, but they incorporate so much more than simple palm-muted riffing that it would be a woefully inadequate description. So I won’t. Shit…I kinda just did, didn’t I?

Nevertheless, Circles incorporate some interesting techniques to keep things fresh; primarily the use of admittedly weird-at-first electronic samples and keys, such as at the beginning of “The Frontline“. It makes proceedings different enough, but Circles have the wisdom to not over do it – everything is used for effect only, and never as a gimmick. The riffing from guitarists Ted Furuhashi and Matty Clarke itself is superb, too. The array found in “Clouds Are Gathering” aside, there are numerous tonally perfect sections, and I find it hard to fault closing track “Ruin“. Talk about a great way to round things off: it builds with expert precision to a pitch-perfect drop, and again, contains an utterly outstanding riffs in terms of grandiosity -finishing the way that all great album enders should.

Special mention must go to vocalist Perry Kakridas, who has the admirable ability to handle both powerful, prolonged screams and an impressively diverse range in his clean singing voice – which is superb – almost effortlessly. Having someone a bit special fronting things can make all the difference, and here it really does.

Circles have made a really promising start to their musical career with The Compass, a refreshing light in some sort of pretentious metaphor about a sea of rubbish and utter tripe that quite frankly would ruin the sentiment of this review entirely. Good show lads.

Circles’ The Compass gets:


– CG


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