Circle of rage is an apt name for a band whose searing anger has led to them incorporating swathes of Dillinger Escape Plan into a furious thrash template in order to create the near apoplectic ‘rage in D-Minor’. Make no mistake, this is one almighty, pissed-off beast of a record, offering only one song that stretches beyond the three minute mark and which is destined to batter your senses into a blood-soaked pulp with its sweat and spit covered invective.
Opening with the far from subtle menace of ‘Beyond the barricades’, it is immediately clear that you can expect no let-up form Circle of Rage. A thudding bass announces the band’s arrival before white-hot guitars and harrowing screams bring things to a head. As brief and unexpected as a fist to the face, the track immediately segues into the savage ‘unnatural selection’. Oddly, despite the brevity of the songs (or perhaps because of it) the band eschew neat formula for endlessly evolving pieces which throw neat dynamic touches at the listener just when you think you’ve nailed the band’s peculiar brand of savagery into a corner. Guitars drop out, rhythms shift and mutate and solos are unleashed with a dexterity that borders on the gymnastic, suggesting there is a method to the band’s studied madness. ‘Fear does not exist in this Dojo’ draws on the Max Cavalera school of song-writing, a huge down-tuned riff forming the core of this enraged battering ram of a track, only for the band to slip, mid-track, into Fugazi territory. ‘Oyfe’ rumbles past on a mechanistic beat, not even bothering with lyrics, allowing the churning guitars a moment in the spotlight before ‘food for thought’ is poured like so much molten lava through the speakers. Possibly one of the most conventional tracks on offer, it is an adrenalin charged blast of pure sonic fury and it sounds immense.
With the album rapidly approaching its conclusion, things are slowed a touch for ‘Freedom credits’, a brief, slow track that hints at there being an art rock sensibility within the band, it is quickly supplanted by the furious thrash of ‘FTSE Fetish’ which sounds like an amped up Megadeth jamming with DEP and the Clash. ‘Cui Bono?’ is short and to the point, whilst ‘no news is good news’ is a rampaging beast scenting blood and seeking out new flesh to rend and tear with its slithery riffs and brain-melting percussive roar. The album closes on the lengthy ‘A sheep in wolf’s clothing’ with its punky vocals and jazzy percussion. It’s an interesting way to close an interesting album and it highlights that circle of rage are not just a band of passion and conviction but also a band possessed of a rare talent and inventive nature.
Circle of Rage understand that for an album to truly adhere to the principles of ‘shock and awe’ it needs to be short, sharp and, well, shocking. To this end they succeed. No idea is over-milked or repeated unnecessarily, no song sticks to an easy-to-follow formula and the album as a whole, whilst being as heavy as a nuclear powered elephant on a diet of weight gain 4000, has a dynamic range that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from an album as ostensibly brutal and brief as this. The band add plenty of light and shade – guitars drop out, vocal styles shift and the bass is given plenty of room to impress, all within the space of about thirty minutes and it’s especially impressive that despite this the album doesn’t sound rushed at any point. In short, ‘rage in D-minor’ is one hell of an impressive effort. Heavy, ferocious and hugely enjoyable, this is an album that any metal fan should be quick to check out.