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Are The Ominous Circle this generations death metal saviors? We think so.

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Album Review: THE OMINOUS CIRCLE Appalling Ascension

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Osmose Productions and 20 Buck Spin are two of the most exciting labels going today, they are labels of the sort where if they put their names behind something I know right off the bat that I'm going to like it and that I should probably give it at the very least a handful of listens. So the fact that these two veritable titans of the underground are coming together to put out the debut record for a relatively unknown band from Portugal should be a sign that The Ominous Circle are on to something. A band who wear tight fitting veils and long flowing robes, who jealously guide their identities and who seem to revel in the darkness of their image, The Ominous Circle present an incredibly well developed sound for a group that has only been around for a few years. Their premier offering Appalling Ascension is seven tracks (And an overly long intro) of punishing death metal that effortlessly ebbs and flows and pushes the envelope time and time again.

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There is something utterly mesmerizing about this band, the weird flows, the pumping rhythm of the bass and the searing guitars. The overwhelming and wonderfully brutal vocals only act as the icing on the cake – the voice of a demon torn out of hell and now forced to deal with the cruel machinations of this unforgiving world. The Ominous Circle make no effort to embrace the uninitiated and their punishing sounds cater to only a very specific subset of death metal maniac. You get the sense though that that is just the way they like it, dense, uncaring, and beautifully nihilistic. The touches of doom and black metal that sneak in here and there are more testaments to the bands songwriting prowess than they are to any attempt to broaden the genre. In fact, I think this is where The Ominous Circle really shine, though they play straight up death metal their songwriting really shines. As opaque as their music might seem it is their no frills approach to songwriting that draws me in. Every note has meaning, and every sonic exploration pulls the listener ever deeper into the murk.

Though Appalling Ascension is not without its fault (Again: that intro!) The Ominous Circle are one of the most exciting bands in their genre to come up in years. They invoke the true darkness of the music and give it a sense of breadth that none of their peers could match. They remain cold, calculating and wonderfully alienating – making the end product all the more fascinating. There is so much to pick apart here, but when it comes down to it the general concept behind the music is surprisingly straightforward. This is a group who have the developed sound that titans in the genre long for and this is their first goddamn album. If that doesn't tell you that The Ominous Circle are onto something special then I don't know what will. In an age that is ever more focused on that next great release, I get the impression that The Ominous Circle will be making some huge moves in the next year.

Score: 9.5/10

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