Monday, 4 December 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Circadian Ritual - "Befallen"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full length
Date Released: 22/12/2017
Label: Live Fast Die Recordings

When all is said and done, "Befallen" is certain to stake Circadian Ritual as a band to watch, and an exemplary representative of the peaking Minneapolis doom scene.

“Befallen” CS//DD track listing

1. Solomon's Temple
2. Befallen
3. Elysian Desire
4. Pyramids of Form and Matter
5. The Heirophant

The Review:

Just like that, Minneapolis is turning into a hotbed for doom metal bands. Boson, Ulkum and Circadian Ritual are among those leading the charge right now. In the case of Circadian Ritual, the quartet released its self-titled debut last year and concludes 2017 with "Befallen," Fans of the group's debut may remember those languid tracks – the four selections were all 10 distorted minutes or longer – and vocals by Jake Quittschreiber that cast a deep, rumbling shadow over already blackened, dirge like events. As you might guess, Circadian Ritual made a big impression with its premiere.

With their sophomore offering "Befallen," fans get to experience a leap for the group, which features more music, tighter orchestration (three of the five songs are under 10 minutes this time) and new layers to its delivery. On "Solomon's Temple," the band gives a melodic chord series before Quittschreiber pours on the harshness. Guitarist Rick Parsons and bassist Jim Clark lather upon the vocal a molasses of mutilated noise, here and throughout the campaign. Later, "Elysian Desire" sees bassist Ben Shaffer with some of his monstrously distorted playing that proves positively brain damaging.

"Befallen" offers a few surprises as well.  The title track features guest vocals by Jori Apedaile, the principal of atmospheric black metal/blackgaze act Eneferens, also hailing from Minnesota. This song's promise is realized, too. Almost on cue after that, "Pyramids of Form and Matter" strikes a perfect balance of atmospheric doom and hints of black metal. This is easily one of the most engrossing songs on the album, with the whole band taking their effort to another level. Burly, slow rhythms, prowling guitars and a vocal that is menacing while not overpowering the rest of the composition, makes this track especially good. Similarly, that title cut churns, building to a typhoon of a climax, with effects and instruments building haltingly. The bell here is a nice touch as well.

As the longest song, "The Heirophant" at 12 minutes is a risky move. While Circadian Ritual has made long cuts in past outings, virtually everything on "Befallen" is abridged to one degree or another. In many ways, going trim makes Circadian Ritual's music even more interesting. Where "The Heirophant" goes well is in its organization. The band makes crests with purpose, and takes full advantage of Quittschreiber's fierce verbiage by accompanying it with a depressive stupor of noise. The band takes a turn about four minutes in, blending melancholic chords that scatter as colossal riffs take center stage. All said and done, "Befallen" is certain to stake Circadian Ritual as a band to watch, and an exemplary representative of the peaking Minneapolis scene.

"Befallen" is available to pre order/buy here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook