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Insurrection – Circles of Despair

Circles of Despair
by Santiago Puyol at 21 August 2019, 5:06 PM

Coming Aug. 30, 2019, "Circles of Despair" is Dutch Melodic Death Metal band INSURRECTION’s debut into full album format, following their debut EP, "Catatonic", from 2015. Taking inspiration from bands as diverse as DEATH, SYMPHONY X and AT THE GATES, this quartet present a wide-ranging Metal sound through these ten tracks.

"Enigma Machine" is an excellent opener with a sinister and somewhat dramatic atmosphere. A complete banger, this song has several tempo changes keeping the rhythm in flux. Around two and a half minutes it sits on an interesting groove while harsh vocals play between high and low-pitched. An outro of mysterious synthesizers connects perfectly with the progressive "Non-Existent Fall". Marten Hutten and Armand Venema’s guitars shine in complex riffing.

After the brutal, aggressive and Post-Metal inspired "Futile Existence", comes the interesting "Comrades in White". The fourth track of the album shows some of the interesting songwriting tricks that INSURRECTION uses, taking one of the riffs of "Futile Existence" and breaking it down to build the main riff of the song. It also features a much more Progressive Metal-inspired soloing style, with some epic tapping.

The middle section of the record has two of the most Progressive songs from the album, with influences from the ‘70s and ‘80s in the composition. "The Deeper Depths" is the lengthiest song, and despite some repetition, it does not feel too long or boring at any time. Time signature changes keep the song moving, while guitars provide catchy riffs. "Origin" highlights the use of keyboards, along with Classic Metal-sounding riffs and fast-paced, complex drumming. A sweet but too short folky acoustic outro concludes the track.

"Dawn of Defeat" takes a more fractured songwriting path, emphasizing time signature changes in order to trigger a sense of urgency and disorientation. "Deity" takes the long song road but is less successful than "The Deeper Depths" becoming somewhat of a drag towards the end. A classically inspired guitar solo saves it in a way.

If it was not for an odd choice of fade-out at the end, "Spiraling Down" would be a perfect intro to the closer "…on Circles of Despair". It still functions as a great, mellow, instrumental interlude before the final explosion. The title track is one of the heaviest tracks here, and that’s saying a lot considering this album is quite intense. It’s a highlight for drummer Douwe Talma.

INSURRECTION delivers a complex and aggressive album in "Circles of Despair", honoring its title. Production is great but some songs could be given more space to breathe and some choices (like the already mentioned fade-out on "Spiraling Down") are simply weird or not entirely successful.

Being very progressive in structure and with harsh vocals of Pieter Oevering and Marten Hutten stressing the feeling of despair with their angry delivery, this is certainly an album that stirs up several powerful emotions.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Enigma Machine
2. Non-Existent Fall
3. Futile Existence
4. Comrades in White
5. The Deeper Depths
6. Origin
7. Dawn of Defeat
8. Deity
9. Spiraling Down
10. …on Circles of Despair
Pieter Oevering – Vocals & Bass
Marten Hutten – Guitars & Vocals
Armand Venema – Guitars
Douwe Talma – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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