Hailing from Australia, Circadian Pulse are a progressive metal trio who take on board the usual core influences of Dream Theater, Fates Warning and Symphony X whilst simultaneously adopting a more symphonic, nuanced sound that hearkens back to the stately grandeur of vintage Yes and Genesis whilst piling on enough riffs to keep fans of the former acts satisfied. At a mere half an hour this is progressive rock designed for the vinyl era with the first side taken up with the epic pairing of ‘No return’ and ‘Hourglass’ whilst the second side offers up the shorter shocks of ‘Without love’, ‘sea of sand’ and ‘failed by a system’. This short album length denotes neither a shortage of ideas nor a lack of inspiration however. Rather it suggests a ruthless quality control that sees Circadian pulse avoiding the pitfall of outstaying their welcome (a trap Dream Theater all too often fall into), the six piece seeking always to serve the song rather than the dictates of technicality, although their skills are amply demonstrated over the course of the disc.
Opening with the epic ‘no return’, Circadian pulse demonstrate their abilities across a sprawling song that veers between the chugging metal of Dream theater (back in the days when they used to regularly cover Iron Maiden) and the more subtle, spacey prog of Spock’s beard, the latter also appearing to be an influence for the band’s well-controlled use of harmonies. It is a grand opening and no mistake and it sets out Circadian Pulse’s ambition in no uncertain terms without milking the ideas present to a distracting extent. ‘Hourglass’ is similarly lengthy (hitting the seven minute mark with ease) and, with its circular guitar riffs, breezy keyboards and awkwardly-timed percussion, it offers much, the band clearly revelling in the chance to cut loose with the freedom the studio offers. Here you’ll find rumbling bass, crunchy riffs that lend the whole thing weight and, over the top if it all there are Adrian Sofia’s perfectly phrased vocals recalling James LaBrie at his gritty best.
The second half of the disc sees things become a touch more compact, the first of the three tracks, ‘without love’, barely scraping five minutes and proving to be a heart-felt ballad that is a welcome change of pace from the intricate passages of the previous two tracks. Even shorter is the mystical, rather beautiful ‘sea of sand’ which is very much keyboardist Dave Holley’s baby with its far eastern feel drifting through the speakers like something from Prince of Persia. The final track offers up the pure, driving hard rock of ‘failed by a system’, a powerful concluding beast that offers crushing riffs, hefty drumming and a palpable sense of drama whilst keeping things interesting with some sublime solos and another spot-on performance from Adrian whose voice does much to raise this undeniably talented sextet above the ordinary.
Overall ‘in the blink of an eye’ is a perfectly formed record that serves as a fine introduction to a clearly ambitious, exceptionally talented band whose song-writing is incredibly mature and well rounded. The balance here, between progressive pomp and straightforward metallic riffing is perfectly maintained and ‘without love’ is a perfect break at the heart of the album that places the heavier tracks in contrast and gives the album a dynamic flow that runs the gamut from the opening track’s complex rhythms through to the closing track’s adrenalin-soaked conclusion. If you’re looking for a new progressive act that is more than worthy of your time and effort than Circadian Pulse have much to recommend them and ‘in the blink of an eye’ is certainly worth a spin.
Find out more at www.circadianpulse.com