Sunday, December 19, 2010

Circle of Ouroborus - Cast To The Pits (2010)

It's a bit unfortunate to do an end of the year list so early. Not only do we miss out on a month of records, but there are, frequently, records we miss, or don't let settle in by the time we need to write. That's partially the case with one of my favorite bands, the prolific Circle of Ouroborus, with one of their several 2010 outputs.
They've made serious progress throughout the years. Early, they were a rough band, mostly working as a sort of blackpostpunk sound. They spit droning vocals, sprawling bass lines and catchy drum patterns under a thick guitar and tincan production. As they moved on, they began to get more expressive, Antti Klemi became less monotone (though still keeping that distraught tinge in vocals), production cleared a bit (still rough, it couldn't be any other way), and guitar lines shaped a bit to match. 2008's acoustic diversion, Venerations, marked a subtle change in their atmosphere, as well as a hidden bit of range, and 2009's Tree of Knowledge signaled a band in maturation, a full sound that kept the sordid tone of the earlier, with lush composition including very atypical measures, including the use of horns occasionally, as well Antti straightening his growls and groans to heighten his emotional contribution.
And here, with Cast to the Pits, it continues. They're back to their acoustic sound, as with Venerations, creating more of a black-folk sort of sound, with it's tinge of post-punk, mostly casting out those notions of some sort of black metal. Antti has seemingly become even more confident in his ability to project emotions; his trademark groans no longer set in some "Love Will Tear Us Apart"-esque Ian Curtis. He bends and shifts with the music, as well as the occasional growls that join in, and, although it probably won't make many fans that disliked him before, it works to great advantage with the full, folk sound the band is working with here. With bright guitar passages, he has a more contemplative tone, he keeps a hush whisper in the mystic rhythms of "Wind Rhyme", and he throws an near spiteful gasp in the pounding, drum-and-chord heavy "You Are A Sleeping Ghost Like Me". Somewhere in-between a nihilistic blackness and a sanguine meadow rest Circle of Ouroborus with a sort of demonic presence. Equally menacing and inviting, there may be something to gain if you let them in, and as hypnotic they are on Cast in the Pits, it's hard to not be in a trace.

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