Circle, a Finnish band with roots in metal but branches all over the place, has another album out, called Katapult...available in the US on the No Quarter label. I reviewed it a couple of weeks ago, and the piece just ran today in PopMatters. Here's the start, follow the jump for the rest:
If you are the sort of person who likes to know, going in, exactly what you're listening to, then Circle's latest album will present a problem. The Finnish band, now 20-something albums into its genre-baiting career, takes great delight in upsetting expectations, confounding conventions and bringing opposites into alignment. In one sense, Katapult is 39 minutes of "what the hell is this?". In another, it is a boundary-less exploration of all sorts of music, precise as clockwork, annihilating as hurricane winds.
Consider "Fish Reflection," a late album composition that balances, as well as any, the throat-punishing threat of metal with baroque complexity. It starts with a jackbooted bass riff -- that's Circle founder Jussi Lehtisalo, perhaps the lone constant factor in the band's 17-year run -- grinding out the metallic foundation. The drums are fast, precise and clattering, nailing the same succession of snare, sticks-on-rims, kick drum over and over, like some sort of wind-up contraption. Yet over this bedrock, there are big blares of synthesizer, throwing up undulating walls of new wave tone, as if the keyboardist from the Cure had come out the wrong door and ended up on Motorhead's stage. And moreover, though Lehtisalo growls and whispers in ominous metal style, he is echoed by a semi-classical falsetto chorus. And then there are the words, creepily evocative chants of "Skinless, fearless, heartless," which seem to describe not some fairytale metal monster, but an ordinary fish.
More here: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/music/reviews/49299/circle-katapult/
Live performance video: