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Vicious Circle - "The Art of Agony" (CD)

Vicious Circle - "The Art of Agony" CD cover image

"The Art of Agony" track listing:

1. Dead Scent
2. Neurotic Reminders
3. Lord of Shit
4. I Remain in Filth
5. Live Long and Suffer
6. Phantasia Through Agony
7. Triple Murder Suicide
8. Phantom Pains
9. Unfullfillment
10. Wishing the Djinn Away
11. Spiritual Deformity
12. Written in Flesh

Reviewed by on October 4, 2006

"From the minute this album starts you know what to expect, heavy intense brutal death metal, but that’s only the start."

Warning, before listening to this album, be prepared for an assault of pure awesomeness that may cause severe damage to the neck and shoulders. From the minute this album starts you know what to expect - heavy intense death metal - but that's only the start. With a great influence from thrash metal in the riffing, Vicious Circle is certainly anything but a typical death metal band. With most songs under four minutes, Vicious Circle really packs in a punch into each song. The songs, though short, are well written and intense enough to finish listening and still barely have your head attached to your neck. More so, each song on this album has significant differences from each other, demonstrating that the band follows no songwriting formula as do many other death and thrash metal bands. There are 12 tracks on this album, for a total of about 45 minutes worth of this kind of music. Though an average length for an album, this band makes it out to be a 90-minute trip. The music feels slow and blows by in a way that you must listen again and again to try and understand what makes what you just heard so incredible.

The vocalist, Darrell Rapp, a new member to the band, doesn't stick with one type of vocal style, as he explores multiple forms of screaming and growling and even some deep speaking parts, which can be heard in "Phantasia Through Agony." The drumming of Dave Surran is fast and aggressive and involves the toms in his grooves, rather than just leaving them for fills. He also is able to change up the groove enough so it keeps it interesting. Vinny DiBianca's riffs are a good mix of classic style brutal death metal and heavy thrash metal. If I were to compare his riffing to bands across the spectrum, it would probably be a mix of Lamb of God, Nevermore, Necrophagist, and Quo Vadis. Mel Leach's bass lines follow the drums and guitars at different points in a way that intensifies the music. The bass is there and you feel it. It pounds on your brain until it explodes.

The only negative comment I have on this album is on the production, though done well, the lack of dynamics in the drums and change in tempo make the songs seem to feel monotonous when strung together side by side. Vicious Circle's intense onslaught of metal madness is meant for all fans of death metal.

Highs: Unique playing and writing that stands out from other brutal death and thrash acts.

Lows: Production lacks dynamics and the tempo doesn't change enough

Bottom line: Thrash death metal at its finest

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)