Release DetailsLABEL Bled Out Records
RELEASED ON 11/26/2005
The Tenth Circle
Of War And Reflection
posted on 12/2005 By:
Recently I’ve been wondering what drummer extraordinaire Tim Yeung (Council of the Fallen, Hate Eternal, Decrepit Birth, Agiel, Aurora Borealis) has been up to, and lo and behold here comes this tasty little death/black metal project from out of the charred woodwork that also features Ross Whitecavage formerly of hardcore rumblers How it Ends. Fear not though, there’s no core elements (unless you include the Eric Rachael/Alan Douches production/mastering) at all on this blisteringly little record as The Tenth Circle (formerly known as Cirrhosis) play a straight forward form of blackened war/death metal that pretty much culls from the Unique Leader form of US death metal, with a bit more restraint and blackened melody.
Even with the Rachael/Douches glossy, non typical death metal production (Dead to Fall, Hatebreed, The Black Dahlia Murder, God Forbid), The Tenth Circle erupt from the speakers with a polished sense of vitriolic menace that shows Rachael can do more than down-tuned breakdowns. Of course the centerpiece of the band is Yeung (though no longer with the band-continuing his percussion mercenary status), whose whirlwind tightness holds The Tenth Circle’s relentless yet tempered sound together. Some may view Whitecavage’s mid-range hardcore-ish shout as the band’s weak point as it’s not the expected guttural burps or screams, but he’s understandable, powerful and, well different to the usual affair. The guitarists Ross Gerson and Dave Moody along with Jasin Hollinger, while relative no-names, introduce themselves to the scene with an impressive tightness and delivery.
The tracks themselves are seething balls of tightly wound black/death metal, with a tangible militaristic gait that some may call ‘war metal’, similar to Forest of Impaled, but more death metal rooted and real world themed. Opener "Oblivion” is an apt introduction to the album, with a choppy death metal snarl, while the title track is more detailed, varied and rousing in its Romanic march and pacing. “The Reckoning” and “In the Name of…” are an impressive mix of razor sharp death metal, epic black metal and intimidating grooves; familiar yet done well enough to stand out. The immediacy of “Reinvention” has The Tenth Circle baring their teeth in more blackened approach, but the track takes a nice turn for the better into some punishing death metal territory that continues for the stop start thrash of “Last Will and Testament”. “Most Honorable Death" is the album's most restrained, lumbering track, but it never strays into a Suffocation/Dying Fetus groove fest, instead the militaristic vibe lurks under the death metal exterior, waiting to explode; and it does.
Truthfully, there’s not a weak track among the 11 contained here. They all vary enough to be recognizable and artfully move between staccato black metal grandeur to ominous, thunderous death metal, all without too much cliché or reliance on other bands' sounds. “Condemned” pretty much sums the band's sound up perfectly. While the blistering “Salvation” shows the extreme death metal lean The Tenth Circle can switch on in a heartbeat. My only concern is how they do without Tim Yeung’s name and skills to promote them and the whole hardcore vocalist stigma that most metalheads will spurn. If they can find a drummer close to Yeung’s skill, they might certainly make some noise and garner some bigger label interest. They certainly are deserving, as Of War and Reflection is one of the better ‘unknown’ black/death offerings I've heard this year.
Head over to www.myspace.com/thetenthcircle and check em out. You'll be glad you did. I was...
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