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CIRCLE

Psychedelic/Space Rock • Finland


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Circle biography
Circle are probably the most well known band of the Finnish underground music scene. Formed in 1991 in Pori, the band started as a 3 piece making aggressive music with influences from Spacemen 3, Loop and grunge bands. The members that started it all were Jussi Lehtisalo (guitars), Juha Ahtiainen (drums) and Marko Taipale (bass). With the first line-up they only managed to make one EP, "DNA/Independence" and then Marko left the band and was replaced by Mauri Päivistö. After releasing another EP, "Point", in 1993 we saw the addition of a second guitarist, Teemu Elo, and released yet another EP, "Silver". The line-up in 1993-1994 (along with keyboardist Petri Hagner and lighting technician Juha-Pekka Hietaniemi) was considered the "legendary line-up". They released their first studio albums, "Meronia" and "Zopalki" under this line-up and they even invented a language like Magma called "Meronian". The live shows with this line-up were something like "psychedelic black masses". They often played with weird outfits or no outfits at all, fluorescent body paintings, strobes, police-car emergency lights and alot of blood (either fake or real). Things were getting a bit out of hand, but luckily it all stopped after the release of their third album.

When recording "Zopalki" guitarist Jussi Lehtisalo was getting more and more interested in the Krautrock scene and in their third studio album, "Hissi", Circle pursued that musical direction. This new sound is heavily influenced by bands like Can and Neu! with its repetitive and motorik way of playing that will become Circle's trademark sound. They also added another drummer to the band, Janne Peltomäki. Some of the band members didn't particularly liked the direction the band was taking and they left to pursue their own musical adventure. Ahtiainen, Hagner and former soundman Jussi Saivo left to form Ovalki.

With a new line-up also came a new musical ideas. With Harrivaara on bass, Niemelä on keyboard and Raitio on percussions they released the less electronic follow-up to Hissi, "Franten", the sophisticated, diverse and trippier concept album, "Pori", and the more aggressive and slightly more prog oriented "Andexelt".

With the release of "Prospekt" we see the band expanding even more with the addition of Mika Rättö, Jyrki Laiho, Pika Kontkanen and Tomi Leppänen. (Most of these new members were already collaborating with the band years ago). Jussi Lehtisalo also switched the guitar for a bass and ha...
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CIRCLE shows & tickets


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CIRCLE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CIRCLE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.20 | 5 ratings
Meronia
1994
3.91 | 3 ratings
Zopalki
1996
3.12 | 6 ratings
Hissi
1996
5.00 | 1 ratings
Fraten
1997
4.40 | 5 ratings
Pori
1998
4.20 | 5 ratings
Andexelt
1999
3.98 | 7 ratings
Prospekt
2000
4.17 | 6 ratings
Taantumus
2001
5.00 | 2 ratings
Alotus
2002
2.44 | 6 ratings
Sunrise
2002
4.44 | 5 ratings
Guillotine
2003
3.09 | 6 ratings
Forest
2004
4.50 | 2 ratings
Empire
2004
4.00 | 2 ratings
Golem / Vesiliirto
2004
3.20 | 6 ratings
Tulikoira
2005
3.03 | 4 ratings
Miljard
2006
3.05 | 3 ratings
Tyrant
2006
4.00 | 4 ratings
Circle Featuring Verde: Tower
2007
3.10 | 2 ratings
Panic
2007
3.08 | 6 ratings
Katapult
2007
3.75 | 4 ratings
Hollywood
2008
4.20 | 5 ratings
Rautatie
2010
3.67 | 3 ratings
Infektio
2011
3.00 | 2 ratings
Manner
2012
0.00 | 0 ratings
Six Day Run
2013
3.33 | 3 ratings
Leviatan
2014

CIRCLE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Raunio
2002
5.00 | 1 ratings
General
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Mountain
2005
5.00 | 1 ratings
Arkades
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Sunburned Circle: The Blaze Game
2007
3.13 | 4 ratings
Telescope
2007
5.00 | 2 ratings
Rakennus
2007
5.00 | 1 ratings
Triumph
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Serpent
2012

CIRCLE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

CIRCLE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Kollekt
1998

CIRCLE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.50 | 2 ratings
Earthworm
2006

CIRCLE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sunrise by CIRCLE album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.44 | 6 ratings

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Sunrise
Circle Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

2 stars - First Review Of This Album -

Quite unreliable, those five-star ratings without reviews here... So, this is the album where CIRCLE, surely the longest-living psychedelic group from Finland, took a side step into adrenalin-full hard rock. The opener 'Nopeuskuningas' - meaning Speed King! - leaves no doubt as the straight-forward riff-banging (HAWKWIND meets Speed Metal) nails the listener to the wall. 'Satulinnut' (Fairy Tale Birds) features acoustic guitar, laid back beat and Mika Rättö's peculiar, falsetto-like, vibrating vocals, all in all reminding more of his other band Kuusumun Profeetta. 'Hautain Takaa' (From behind the Graves) is again that aggressive throat torture with heavy guitar riffing, this time with some more synths, but the monotonous track feels very pointless to me.

The stylistic dicotomy is continued with 'Vaanen Valtiatar', acoustically oriented tune in which the narration - not singing, that is - pushes the mythological, cryptic lyrics to the centre. This is the kind of hazy psychedelia in which Circle are very good and original, but soundwise it's not among the finest Circle stuff. The next track is predictably heavy and noisy - and absolutely not to my ears, though not without some interest. 'Rautakotka' (Iron Eagle) hovers somewhere in between the poles: the listener keeps waiting what kind of vocals will arrive to the steady, slightly threatening beat. They are freaky and high as you can expect from Rättö. The track lasts nearly ten minutes, perhaps more than needed, but the violin adds interesting depth to the sound.

'Paholaisratsastaja' (Demon Rider) is very freaky and monotonous heavy psychedelia. Instead of plain vocals there are some distant and chaotic human sounds. Not enough going on to justify the 7:40 length! The closing track 'Lokki' (Seagull) offers a bit calmer hypnotic trance reminding of Hawkwind, but 15 minutes is way too much for it. Circle have always been a risk- taking band pushing boundaries, but I'm afraid I have to give lower rating for this one.

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 Hissi by CIRCLE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.12 | 6 ratings

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Hissi
Circle Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars - First Review Of This Album -

From the sticker attached to the CD: "Circle's long lost 3rd album from 1996 finally re-released! Ambient soundscapes and hypnotic rock shake hands with the avant-garde, fusing into an ominous puppet theatre soundtrack - for adults." A good summation of the album by the Finnish cult band from west-coast town Pori. Actually I haven't yet listened to them very much, and also this review won't be based on multiple listening but more like writing down first impressions.

'Kuivaamo' (10:30): a gloomy, estranged, deliberately monotonous track built on hypnotic percussion pattern. More percussive branch of Dark Ambient. An interesting pattern of sharp sounds is being repeated without much progression. A ghostly atmosphere, as if you were in a factory at night. Hard to find references! Perhaps CAN could be mentioned - but there are no vocals of any kind. 'Velmu' is the shortest track and has almost hilarious feel. Angular, jazzy avant- rock with a tight rhythm and keyboards. It's followed directly by 'Kalat' (plural of fish), which is more spacey and 'psychedelic' in the traditional sense. Wow, the synths -and drums too - are gorgeous!

'Glanu' (a nonsense word; I wonder how they name their tracks!) has very earthly and tight drumming in mid-tempo, and of the other instruments the guitar gets more noticeable this time. Perhaps the newer King Crimson could have something like this? 'Valvo' has edgy synths that remind me of Spiral-era Vangelis. Only it remains more disturbing and less melodic than Vangelis. Very very sharp synth sequencing. This has some feel of the classic Berlin school (e.g. Stratosfear- era Tangerine Dream) combined with Jean Michel Jarre. Quite effective!

'Kuuk''rme' (Moon-Snake) is a ghostly, deeply psychedelic space rock track reminding of some Barret-era Pink Floyd, something like 'Interstellar Overdrive'. 'Strand-jatkumo' (strange bilingual title; jatkumo means continuum) is also based on tight rhythm pattern and repetition of sounds - which can be both very seducing and threatening. I especially like the high keys. 'Saksi' (Scissor, deliberately not scissors as it ought to be) is the second longest track, very disturbing and strange in its hypnotically frenzy rhythm and repetitiveness. The sound that resembles distant mumming must be made with guitar.

A very difficult case to rate! Highly original and risk-taking music that couldn't care less of pleasing large audience. Musical references spread widely over Krautrock, RIO/Avant-Prog, space rock, Dark Ambient and electronic music, but it all results in a unique style of their own. How enjoyable it is on the long run is a bit tougher question; some tracks are very effective but not all. Three well- earned stars.

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 Prospekt by CIRCLE album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.98 | 7 ratings

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Prospekt
Circle Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars CIRCLE have such a large discography and they've changed styles many times over the years, so for me it's been about finding that period in their history that clicks with me the most. Found it ! This 2000 release and the later 2003 release called "Guillatine" hit the spot for me. Man when these guys are "on" they are incredible to say the least.

"Dedofiktion" has this repetitive beat as the guitar is picked over top. Great sound ! Violin after 1 1/2 minutes then the guitar changes to riffs as the tempo picks up after 3 minutes. Vocals 4 minutes. Insanity ! It settles back 7 1/2 minutes in to end it. "Gericht" sounds so good. Just a great sounding beat with what sounds like a cow bell of some sort helping out. The guitar starts to rip it up before 3 1/2 minutes. It settles down 6 1/2 minutes to the end. "Stimulance" has an intense rhythm and sound throughout.

"Varhain" is good too. I like the way the keys play over the heavy drums. It kicks in fuller and more intense after 3 minutes then the guitar sets the soundscape on fire. "Aarre" has this repetitive groove throughout. Organ before 2 minutes but it's brief. It's back though again at 5 minutes. Spoken words come in during the final minute. "Eripwre" also has a catchy rhythm. It's heavier 5 1/2 minutes in and vocals follow.

I have the most recent re- issue with an almost 18 minute bonus track that does the band proud. There's a different album cover on mine too.

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 Miljard by CIRCLE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.03 | 4 ratings

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Miljard
Circle Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This two disc set was released by CIRCLE in 2006 and is quite a change from the previous albums where they had become increasingly heavy. This in fact is quite the oposite. Very ambient and low key with lots of sparse piano melodies along with effects, percussion, bass and guitar. This is all so laid back and considering there is 2 hours of music here it's a long listen.

I must admit things do not start off very well for me as the first three tracks are my least favourites, so we're talking 50 minutes of music right there. If I was to rate the rest of this recording minus these three tracks it would be an easy four stars for me.Things improve with the fourth song called "Manni" which is still minimalistic but for some reason I like it a lot better. "Salenius" has piano and bass standing out early. Effects and more join in and it's building after 4 minutes. Good track.

"Sophie" starts off disc two with beautiful but sparse sounds including piano. It settles even more after 9 minutes as the main piano stops. It does get fuller again though. "Muhle" has lots of atmosphere with a spacey pulsating soundscape with sparse piano. Great sound here. "Cornelia" is again sparse piano and atmosphere. "Bakkis" has this atmosphere that shakes the soundscape then it settles back late. "Viitane" has a motorik feel to it then it settles back tempo-wise around 9 minutes.

So lots to like here but once again I wish they had stuck with a single album instead of a double.

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 Telescope by CIRCLE album cover Live, 2007
3.13 | 4 ratings

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Telescope
Circle Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is a live recording from the Finnish band CIRCLE recorded in Germany in 2003. It's a double album with over 2 hours of music on it. It's cool that Dave Schmidt from SULA BASANNA guests on bass on the final 33 plus minute track.

"Matka" is laid back with what sounds like keys, synths and other strange sounds. A catchy beat arrives 2 1/2 minutes in. Vocals join in after 4 1/2 minutes and they will come and go. This is great. Guitar to the fore after 20 minutes. It starts to wind down before 27 minutes. "Metsan Henget / Tavaton" opens with percussion and we can hear people talking in the audience which is very annoying. Shut up already ! Keys before a minute and guitar a minute later as it picks up. A calm just before 10 minutes as reserved vocal expressions come in then keys and drums as it builds around 14 minutes. "Huurre" builds slowly as we get this repetitive rhythm. It settles back 4 1/2 minutes in with vocals. It's picking up around 8 minutes and the vocals become more prominant. An instrumental section follows until around 14 minutes when the vocals return to the end.

Disc two begins with "Ajannopeus" which builds with guitar and a beat standing out.Vocals after 9 minutes and keyboards are prominant around 11 minutes. "Teraskylpy" has this repetitive groove of drums and guitar as the vocals join in. The vocals eventually turn aggressive. It settles down after 10 minutes to the end. "Kaarre" is my favourite. It's laid back and dreamy with vocals, keys and more. The vocals stop then it picks up after 5 minutes. The vocals are back but not for long. It settles with vocals around 9 minutes as this song continues on it's long journey.

If I could make a single disc out of this it would easily be four stars but I guess I say that a lot with double albums. Still worth checking out because this is a good one.

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 Guillotine by CIRCLE album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.44 | 5 ratings

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Guillotine
Circle Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is my first taste of CIRCLE. They are a Finnish band who i've known about for a long time but only took the plunge recently and man i'm so glad I did. A lot of credit goes to Guldbamsen for that. These guys play a modern style of Krautrock that is experimental, psychedelic and at times it really grooves. We get about 75 minutes of music over these 12 tracks in this 2003 release.

"Metsan Henget" is a favourite of mine with the percussion and intricate sounds standing out. Vocal expressions come and go and it turns fuller after 4 minutes although it does settle back again. "Harva Maa" opens with what sounds like picked guitar as percussion joins in. Weird spoken words follow a minute later. "Parton Mies" is a freaky soundscape. "Ojar Pitkin" again has picked guitar much like song 2 but with atmosphere this time.

"Teraskylpy" is another favourite of mine. It's fairly uptempo with a beat and vocal sounds. It turns more intense around 3 minutes then settles back before 5 minutes but the intensty begins to mount again. "Majakkasaari" is dark and atmospheric with some laughter. "Saapavat Ne Merelta" has a beat with bass and guitar and it blends into "Syva" where voices and other strange sounds come in. In fact I thought I heard someone say "My precious" in that Lord Of The Rings style (haha).

"Salar Opi" has pulsating sounds that beat away and what sounds like violin or another stringed instrument. It blends into "Armo" where it's even more stranger. I like it ! "Alta Rautatammeen" has some amazing sounding Fender Rhodes with bass. It's picking up before 5 minutes then spoken vocals join in. Love this song. It blends into "Takaisen" where it settles right down and weird vocals join in sounding like Captain Beefheart.

Man this was a trip that was so well done. I will be checking out more of this band's music for sure. Highly recommended.

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 Zopalki by CIRCLE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.91 | 3 ratings

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Zopalki
Circle Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This early record of Finnish group Circle caught my attention from their large discography, as it was interestingly released through a prolific Finnish Bad Vugum label, focusing to punk scene in 1980's (for example early CMX records, "Liimanarina" and "Paska", a solo artist which was disbanded due internal tensions of the members). Album cover art promises some archaic and raw approach, a promise which is fulfilled well on this mainly instrumental record.

The album opens as mystic, dreamy, dark, hypnotic and pleasant aural voyage. The drums have nice groovy touch in them, creating with the group a calm vortex sucking the listener to the grey realms of Finnish winter ("brilliant colors, heh). Second track introduces the "punk / heavy" elements of the group via hard guitar riffings, the composition following the repetitive stoner rock style. Critical treble sounds are dominant in "Warszawa", waiting patiently and growing tension before opening. Next song has menacing minimalistic groove with nice quiet bass solo and some singing too. "Argont" builds a tense tunnel with soothing synths and distracting guitar riffs, reaching really powerful climax, resembling little a horror movie soundtrack. Next songs contain a stagnant dark ambience, relaxed open mantra, and then more oppressing with interesting rhythm layers and switches with guitar and drums position in the front. "Re-Masturbated" opens with quick acoustic sounds, leading to mellower downer/stoner passage with some chanting. This is followed by intense tension building and really dirty sounds, and album closes with a track having interesting rhythms, leading to a long minor-key ambiences.

The record is a very good compact entity, none of the tracks jump forward as clear favorite or evident filler, so the whole album is a pleasant trip to listen trough from start to end (if this style is favored) I am not yet very familiar with the group, but I have known the name long, and saw them on stage in spring 2009. My impression has been they partly do not do stuff fitting my taste, and partly doing that very fine, and evidently they are very talented musicians and performers. Some later recordings I heard from them had very straight drum beat, which is not luckily present in this fine album, containing impulsive, artistic and not too much produced sincere psychedelic rock moods from Finland. I recommend it warmly to fans of hardcore music, and will check out their other albums out too.

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 Tyrant by CIRCLE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.05 | 3 ratings

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Tyrant
Circle Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars One of the later releases of circle that has drawn my attention is Tyrant and its neat little cardboard casing to be placed in the "Latitudes" collection. The artwork is provoking curiosity as you'd want to know what these Afghani burqas are all about on this disc, but there is little info as to whether this is linked of not. Also their consistent use of NWOFHM is a bit anal I find, especially that there is little metal outside some gory vocals often provoking a mocking smile than the awe-striken faces they'd search for.

Three "epics" around the 15-iminutes mark, with that usual Circle sound, somewhere between Krautrock, Hawkwind and Post Rock, and mostly hovering on the Calvert/ Turner nest, although the Opeth/Dying Bride-like vocals is certainly not doing it any favour, but it's all down to each and everyone's landmarks in their own musical landscapes. Besides its puerile title, Steel Tormented Warrior (sounds like Stacia pounding the [&*!#] of Molly Hatchet), the track is an interesting bruitist collage of interminable intro that actually lasts the length of the track, but it's actually the most interesting of this lot, sometimes ogling towards the chaos of Ghost, the Japanese band that makes me most think of Circle. The whispered vocals still have that deathly guttural feel, bur it's not laughable this time around.. The charmingly title Amputation Crusade is a again very laughable (but not any less than the picture where all four display their freshly acquired clouted/spiked wristband in front of Stonehenge) is again more of this ambient post rock, then later, there is a slom-pace crescendo that can remind of Anekdoten, eventually finding its place in the middle of the other two tracks' soundscapes.

If after some 15 years of existence, Circle is still playing at getting dressed as Vikings or warriors of doom, you'd guess that they'd have a fantastic fellowship and if not numerous, probably loyal enough to keep the band floating and buying spike bracelets. Whatever flows their buckets, musically, this album is definitely worth throwing an ear on it, but once you'll have spun it three times, it'll collect dust for decades.

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 Forest by CIRCLE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.09 | 6 ratings

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Forest
Circle Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Well, Circle is one of those groups that flourishes in the obscurity of the depth of prog and Kraut rock. Indeed the Finnish combo could never possibly deny having been influenced by the Cologne group that charms so many younger generations still nowadays. Gentle slow mostly acoustic grooves, very repetitive, but forgets to be as weird or even disturbing as the legendary Krauters were, especially in the vocal dept, where they don't even come close to being as intrusive as Damo Suzuki was.

Starting out on a drone, slowly evolving into Can-like minimalist groove, this track, like the whole Forest album, has some rather hypnotic qualities (ala Tangerine Dream); especially once the electric guitar gets into the groove. The third (and by far shortest) Ydinaukio takes a few minutes to hump into its groove, fitst starting on toilet flushes and other bizarre idea. Again the mostly acoustic nature of the music makes me think of the other group Ghost (he Japanese outfit) and without warning Ydinaukio morphed into Jaljet, an 18-mins raga Can-like groove. It slowly dies out, a bit like the album started, into some deep bass drone-like sounds.

Not that Forest is any better than the rest of Circle's albums (at least the ones I heard a few years back), but Forest tends to have a little je-ne-sais-quoi, that gets my attention.

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 Katapult by CIRCLE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.08 | 6 ratings

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Katapult
Circle Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by chamberry
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Circle's take on Black Metal?! Now I've seen everything!

It's official. We can't deny it any longer. Circle is the most eclectic band that Progressive Rock has seen since King Crimson. Over the course of 6 albums and 2 years this band has covered genres as wide as Psychedelic Prog Metal, Avant-garde, Minimalism, Krautrock Metal, Fusion, Progressive Electronic, "Kraut Punk" and now Black Metal (and don't get me started on their earlier releases...). How diverse can a band possibly be! In this year alone they've changed to most of those genres mentioned and they don't look like they're going to slow down any time soon.

In Katapult we see Circle in another weird combination of sounds. While their Krautrock influence is still very omnipresent (as well as their Prog influences) they've added the rawness and heaviness of Black Metal. The music may sound like a novelty (heck!, they may even be turning into a novelty band since late 2006), but they've made it clear that they take their music very seriously even though they don't sound intellectual or don't take themselves seriously at all. When Circle takes a genre under their wing don't expect it to sound exactly like it, they transform it into their own little lab experiment. The results depends on whether you have high speciation or not and if you're already acquainted with their drastic changes in their musical style.

Now to the music. First of all this is Circle's heaviest album to date (it isn't saying much compared to other bands, but it's the heaviest they've done). The vocals have been switched on this album. Mika isn't the main vocalist on this album, Jussi is and he's growling! (well, sort of). The vocals sound very engaging and makes the music much more enjoyable than if Mika was the lead vocalist (No offense to Mika, but his high-pitched vocals wouldn't fit well with this music), although he does sing in some places. The music sounds very layered on this album. There are tribal drumming like their "Forest" album in the background while at the same time there are acid-like synth washes (or even a piano like in "Fish Reflection") and on top of that the rest of the band (drums, guitars, bass, vox) pummeling through. There's one exception though, it seems that they really enjoyed making those Tangerine Dream influenced songs of their "Panic" album so they made one for this album as well named "Four Points Of The Compass". There are also some songs that are quite different from the rest like "Skeletor Highway" and "Tree On The Higher Mountain" which has Circle's trademark sound, but still sound nothing like what they've done before (perhaps their next sound?).

Another successful hit from Circle. It's more consistent than their previous effort, "Panic", and actually more visionary too which merits a higher rating than Panic. I still think they have time for improving their sound, but this is still a solid album that's very enjoyable and worth getting. But beware! Listen to the album first before purchasing it, that's how I listen to Circle's new albums.

3.5 out of 5

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Thanks to chamberry for the artist addition.

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