How the hell am I supposed to describe this? There are certain artists, such as Circle of Ouroborus, which make a reviewer feel an internal tension. On the one hand, I’m absolutely knocked on my ass by what I hear. On the other hand, I’m annoyed at my inept ability to define what is spinning on my turntable. I love writing reviews for such fresh and innovative artists, but at the same time I hate composing them because I spend so much time trying to think how I can possibly describe the artist. In summary, this is one of the most beloved and frustrating artists I have come across. However, my little complaint is far overshadowed by the greatness found here.
So, let me begin. This Finnish duo is loosely black metal. When I say black metal it is only the hints of the genre found in the snarled vocals, the whole dark vibe, and the emphasis on creating something sinister in a groundbreaking fashion as so many black metal artists try to do now. However, the emphasis isn’t found in suffocating and crushing heaviness nor in a sanctum of noise that mercilessly denies you even a sliver of light to crack through the darkness. Actually the effects, the percussion, and the vocals are all equally given the attention. There is a true partnership between man’s natural instrument and the inorganic reverb of the musician’s external manmade tools.
Because the vocals share equal importance with the instrumentation, it is necessary that there be fluctuations and variety. Usually when vocals are added to a musical mix, they are in a sense a constant. They are not too changing because there is enough already going on with the music that there needs to be something to remain steady and consistent. However, because the vocals are so important on this release, they wax and wane like the instrumentation with which they coexist. There is also a dichotomous schizophrenic frenzy as the vocals can sometimes alter from beautifully drifting and shifting echo to aggressive growling barks. This almost sounds scremo or something, but it’s not. It’s way cooler than that lame passé movement. The more pleasing vocals permeate most of the album though.
And the instrumentation has a post-rock/shoegaze/drone thing to it. Slow tempo percussion, with what sounds like total utilization of the traditional bass drum, toms, and hi-hat set. The whole feel seems like it’s blindly trying to find its way through a dark passage, stumbling along the way yet remaining hopeful and steadfast in its efforts. The essence of black metal is here as the dark aura and its haunting grimness is channeled unabashedly throughout this druggy haze of longwinded musical sorcery.
Okay, I hope that helps. You probably just need to hear it for yourself. Total enigma. Inexplicable anomaly. Archaic obscurity. Complete with alchemical art on a gorgeous gatefold LP sleeve. Comes blacked out in an appropriately colored dust jacket on what else but sleek black vinyl. There’s also an incredible LP sized booklet with more amazing art, graphics, and info. Limited to 500. Surely a can’t miss!