The power and strength of one sole person, is sometimes unbelievable. I often spend time thinking about how sometimes it’s possible that one person can take care of so many things and aspects into his/her own life. Now if you somehow apply this on music and arts, it’s often more incredible. Such is the case for Circenses, a one-man project from Seinäjoki, started by Severi Osala in 2016. The project released its debut album “Tightrope Walk On The Ground” on 8 May 2018 through Inverse Records.
“High Center of Gravity” is an interlude of the album, which builds up quite a mellow, dreamy atmosphere. Personally I would expect a more doom/stoner sound to come after this sound, but I’m quite taken by surprise by “Kill the Words”. The song gives a better overview of what we can expect during going through the album. Influences from progressive metal, death metal, djent and this all done by one man. “Lunacy” turns down the tempo a notch and offers some more melodic elements by integrating some keyboards. These elements are nicely balanced out between the heavy ones. “Tightrope Walk on the Ground” has next to a nice soft piano melody line, a great riff, that will make you definitely move. The integrated piano offers a bit of crisp within the song. “Tightrope Walk on the Ground” has very great riffs and melodies within one song. I understand why this song is the title track. “From Darkness To Joy” starts off with a melody that implicates the feeling of feeling hopeful towards the future, at the end of the tunnel however during the song the confidence is buildup. There is very rhythmic, sharp riffs present that drive the song to the next level. Perhaps this is song is my personal highlight on the album. A solo leads you to a more atmospheric part of the music, which was done quite smoothly, clean vocals sing a nice melody. Soft, melancholic, but dreamy and then yet it gets interrupted by rhythms inspired by djent, which creates a very compelling juxtaposition within the song. “Sleep My Demon” is more dark, has a catchy driving melody line. The buildup towards the end of the song is really nicely done, it creates an great tension, that makes you instantly want to repeat the song. “Disordered” again combines melodic keyboard melodies with more heavy, rhythmic guitar riffs. The intro of “My Mask” could almost be an interlude to a power metal song, in this way “My Mask” starts off really differently than the other songs of the album. The interlude, however is very short, and immediately we go to a more progressive side of the album. But somehow this gives “My Mask” another perspective, as this riff is often repeated during the song. “My Mask” for me forms another highlight, if not is for me the most best track on the album. It has catchy elements, heavy riffs and brutality in one. The album finished off with “Swallow Your Pride”, a good choice to end the album with. It holds up the tempo really nicely, keeps pace and ends in a way that you will be left to wonder whether you should instantly once again put the album on repeat.
All-in-all the album has some really nice elements in there. The more classic approach to progressive metal, which combines death and djent, but also integrates a lot of melodic elements sounds refreshing and is definitely impressive when you think that all of this is done by one man. I think impressive definitely is the right for this debut. It has intricate rhythms, that often change a lot within one song, heavy and brutal riffs, sharp vocals. Yet, there is definitely still some room for improvement to make the sound more smooth, which can be achieved by a better production next time, specifically referring to the keys. However, this is a minor detail and it can’t be denied that this album (especially considering that it’s a debut album) is great for everyone who enjoys a progressive metal soundtrack. If you like Meshuggah, Periphery, Animals as Leaders etc. you should definitely give Circenses a go.
1. High Center of Gravity (Intro)
2. Kill the Words
4. Tightrope Walk on the Ground
5. From Darkness to Joy
6. Sleep My Demon
8. My Mask
9. Swallow Your Pride
For fans of
Periphery, Animals as Leaders, Meshuggah, progressive metal, djent