REVIEW: Circle Of Unexisted – ‘Crossroads’

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Artist: Circle Of Unexisted
Album: Crossroads
Genre: Transgressive Rock, Industrial, Drone Metal
For fans of: Acid Mothers Temple, Gnaw Their Tongues

“Imagine the weird room with strange portals in different locations of some multiverse’s obscured worlds.” This statement is one used by Circle of Unexisted to explain their newest effort, Crossroads, and it seems to sum up the overall experience of the album very well. Now it’s my job to elaborate on that statement because as it makes all possible sense to someone that’s listened through Crossroads, it likely comes across as very vague to someone unfamiliar with this band’s sound.

It’s very hard to pin down any specific genre in this case which makes Crossroads all the more intriguing. With a name like Circle Of Unexisted, one may imagine some type of death or black metal band (the album art doesn’t help you think otherwise) but the Russian Federation’s COU is much more difficult to label than that. There are moments of building, ethereal post-rock with drowned out and reverb-tinged screaming vocals like in the opener, “Transgressive Overload.” There are moments of buzzing guitars, rhythmic tribal-like snare work and background vocal chanting in slow-burning rock epics like the very next track, “Marche Transcendentale.” The point being that this album has 11 tracks shared between a lengthy 54 minutes and each of those tracks individually offer a nearly complete different sound than the last. It’s said that these songs are somewhat of a compilation of tracks that will be on their future efforts, hence the album title I suppose. Regardless of what the reason may be, this album gets unusual, chilling, heavy, and chaotic in those adjectives’ own respective moments with some of them even forming an alliance at times.

Crossroads‘ one true plight is that it seems like when COU found the direction for each track, they committed to that sound alone. Some of these songs reach 6-8 minutes and there’s very little variation in each one apart from how unique they are from each other on the release. An 8 minute track with little to no change can grow very tired and make the listener feel much the same. These ominous lullabies work in some shorter moments, however. The seventh track, “Quietly Fishing in Styx,” is less than 4 minutes, and luckily the simple redundancy doesn’t necessarily get old but it’s welcomed more so than in its lengthier companions.

If the vocals were more prevalent and assertive than they are, this album would be significantly more “in your face” but it seems that the band prefers to take the drone metal approach which is fine as they do it well. The last section of the ninth track, “Hy Het Duisende van Name,” gets particularly heavy with a pummeling blast beat and more of the intense drowned out screaming vocals found in the opening track. This is briefly lived unfortunately but is indicative of the fact that the band is capable of some real musical passion beyond the lulling gothic industrial sounds.

Crossroads shows a lot of promise for fans of this style of music and I’m curious to see where these tracks land beyond this if they are in fact going to be featured on various future releases. Circle Of Unexisted are fine at what they do but for the sake of personal interest, I’d love to see a little more variation and exuberance.

SCORE: 7/10

Review written by: Brian Lion – Follow him on Twitter

Brian Leak

Editor-In-Chief. King of forgetting drinks in the freezer. Pop culture pack rat. X-Phile. LOST apologist.
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