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Stellar Circuits - Ways We Haunt Award winner

Stellar Circuits
Ways We Haunt
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 05 November 2018, 3:08 AM

STELLAR CIRCUITS is a four-piece Rock band from North Carolina. They are inspired by many different kinds of music, including Classical, Blues, Metal, and Electronic genres.  Some of their biggest influences include bands like A PEREFCT CIRCLE, DEFTONES, ANIMALS AS LEADERS, and RUSH. Vocalist Ben Beddick adds about “Ways We Haunt” as a whole: “The concept behind the record was something that developed as we continued to write songs. I remember really being into the series “True Detective” at the time. There was an idea about your mind being like a locked room. The idea that our minds are like a house with many rooms. After stepping back from the songs and the sequence it was clear that there was a theme that progressed throughout. It’s similar to the cycle that we go through in our minds when we can’t let things go. We can compartmentalize regret and loss, as well as our insecurities when we hold onto them. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel though, where we can finally come to terms with our lives and who we are, even if it’s just for a moment.”

“Noctural Visitor” kicks off the album, with a heavy and pounding rhythm, met with light and airy vocals. They get steadily stronger however, and eventually develop into full blown angry screams. The music maintains a dark edge throughout, yet the music is clear. “Skylight” opens with pretty clean guitars and a feeling of being trapped somewhere. While the bass guitar thumps away, the heavy and aggressive guitars duck in and out with a djent sound, providing some clear moments as well. The entirety of the song is not overly aggressive until the screams at the end. “Fell under a Spell” is more melancholy and fluid, with a slight groove to the music that catches you nodding along. When the screams come in, the music turns authoritative, almost like a short-lived bomb where the recovery is quick. For a brief few moments, they really grind out that heaviness. “Sleepless Goddess” opens with depressing piano keys and barely audible voices in the background that clear out fairly quickly, leading to a bold sound that is tempered with clean doleful notes. This is the turning point on the concept album if you will, for they gain some clarity here without the screams.

“Interlude” is a brief two and a half minutes. It’s contemplative. The drone of the suspenseful tones drags out, leaving you anxious and unsure what to expect from here. “Rorschach Master” leaves no doubt, as it comes in very hard and aggressive and then backs of somewhat, rolling forward with some alluring and charming guitar tones and vocals. It’s a pretty angry track overall, but ends in sweetness. “Go with your Ghost” is dreamy in nature; those opening guitars take you away to somewhere you haven’t been before. They build slowly through the chorus, with a punchy heaviness that dissipates almost as quickly as it arrived. The dreamy sequence continues through completion. “Matrioshka” opens with suspenseful and heavy tones, leading to a soft and introspective passage of clean guitars and vocals. It rages about half way through, with constant picked electric guitars, and then it’s back to those mysterious tones from the beginning. It’s dark and entrancing in nature.

“Goblin Valley” features effervescent vocals over a bed of guitars that range from heavy and weighted to light and airy. Some of the Progressive elements are more pronounced here in the meter, and it’s an absolutely beautiful song. Following a swift kick to the head, it ends as it started. “Polar Dreams Master” has a pensive opening…letting the guitar notes ring out like bells into the wind. On the turn of a dime, the raging vocals escape, letting out moments of pain that cut right through you. The constant is the push and pull here between the anger and the reflection. “Ways we Haunt” is the concept coming to a conclusion. “This was the way we found something more than you, and me.” It’s as if he found that light at the end of the tunnel, if only for a bit. “It’s right there, under the surface” he croons, yet it never materializes in the music. It’s about restraint. “Haunting” is about keeping a steady presence of anxiety in someone…that troublesome feeling of something always being there.

The beauty of the album is in the transitions for me, which fits perfectly with the concept of compartmentalizing regret and loss, and not being able to let insecurities go. As we get older, we presumably get better at lot lashing out, and letting those things in compartments stay there under moments of stress. This album is what happens when those things just come crumbling down and you can no longer keep them at bay. Violent outbursts are sandwiched between smooth but exciting passages of Progressive Music, and you never know when they might erupt. You can feel them as if they were right next to you, almost as if you can touch them. This is indeed the secret to great music…to create something almost real to the listener.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Nocturnal Visitor
2. Skylight
3. Fell under a Spell
4. Sleepless Goddess
5. Interlude
6. Rorschach Master
7. Go with your Ghost
8. Matrioshka
9. Goblin Valley
10. Polar Dreams Master
11. Ways we Haunt
Lineup:
Ben Beddick – Vocals
Jesse Olsen – Bass
Andrew Mericle – Guitar
Tyler Menon – Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 30 September 2022
 

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