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4th Circle - Elements

4th Circle
by Ofer Mashiach at 24 April 2017, 1:39 PM

4TH CIRCLE is not an easily digestible band. Not necessarily because of its complex composition or unconventional ideas that you have to train your ear to appreciate them, but because repeated listening does not reveal any reasons why things don't work well – for the most part they just don't.

This gloomy bunch hails from France and this is their second studio album. Some lineup changes since the debut album also brought changes to the instrumental arrangement – now there are five members instead of six, which means one guitar was dropped. That inevitably affected the sound of the band, because a single guitar sounds too flimsy and the overall tone is more "bassy". Nevertheless, this is a HEAVY album, but not in the regular sense; the predominance of the bass and the surprising, uncharacteristic amount of fuzz (for this style of Gothic/Symphonic Metal, that is), make for an encroaching sensation of heaviness. It's like when your head starts to feel funny after slowly sipping a few beers, not the overwhelming sensation you get while downing shots of hard liquor. This style of music just begs for a higher definition of sound, but instead you get something that sits between the rawness of DISEMBOWELMENT and NECROMANTIA's dual bass low grunt in Power Metal riffs.

The most obvious problem of this album is the lack of variation – the first actual song (after the intro) is good, but listening throughout you begin to realize that you are listening to the same thing over and over again for a full hour. The riffs are shabby and monotonous, the keyboards drown everything and create an atmosphere of a Mid-1980's dance club, and the drums are just doing their job because there's nothing too challenging here besides keeping the pace. If not for the vocals, this album would have been a total waste of time. So this is the point where my hearts goes for Audrey's vocal performance. Her voice is not operatic; it sounds mellow but not shallow, at times sexy, with considerable range (although it becomes be tinny when the pitch rises). But this lady has one more vocal feature under her belt – she can scream like the best of them. This versatility is apparent only in two or three songs, but it complements the music tremendously and makes quite an impact. That's where the interest level of this album is at its peak.

The overall experience is quite tedious and nerve wrecking. 4TH CIRCLE should find out what they are trying to achieve because they are a bit dispersed. Clearly they have untapped potential – a few more sessions in the "gym" and more challenging songwriting will work wonders for them, but I'll pass it for now.

Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Write Your Own Story
2. Take
3. Water's Child
4. These Walls
5. From Moon
6. Iron Drops
7. Signals
8. Beyond Death
9. Crossing the Air
10. In the Dark
11. Seducing
12. The Tale
13. Sleepless Son
Maxime Boriolo - Guitars
Audrey Adornato - Vocals
Cédric Noël - Bass
Julien Blanchet - Drums
Olivier Keller - Keyboards
Record Label: Brennus Music


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