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Divine Circles: Oblivion Songs

I am a self-professed, dirt eating, under-bathed, Neanderthalian, Metal maniac, preferring grit and grime to sublime, anger and vile to calm, and just about anything "heavy" to anything else. Granted, I do consider myself open minded and certainly have a strong disposition to anything experimental and exploratory. How is this relevant to the task at hand, reviewing Divine Circles' Oblivion Songs? Maybe it isn't, but my proclivities' provide the needed context to understand my perspective.

Divine Circles is Meghan Mulhearn, noted violinist prone to explore the outer limits of her instrument beyond the typical plucking and bowing. She has quite the pedigree with connections to Lunar Creature, Judas Horse, USX and more, as well as comparisons to Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Steve Reich. The table is now set for a listening experience heavy on experimentation and the avant-garde, and Mulhearn does not disappoint at that. Her instrumental chops are top notch and her ability to conjure a variety of unearthly and unexpected sounds from the violin are ingenious. The compositions are Drone-centric; an instrumental pattern is developed and repeated often accompanied by her monotone singing. There is little to no dynamics, a point subtracted on the GY!BE comparison, and no emotional attachment from neither the listener nor the performer.

All is calm on Oblivion Songs, different and familiar at the same time. Only the last track, "Hymn", offers any hope at a traditional violin composition, but once again our hopes are dashed as the song quickly slides into a slumbering, droning dirge. I spent each listen on the edge of my seat, gleefully expecting a right turn into the land of the edgy, only to be let down time after time with more of the same. I do applaud Mulhearn's craft and her willingness to explore, I was just hoping for something "out there" and rather received a recording reminiscent of a conservatory recital that only the brainiacs attend.

Track Listing
1. Leave
2. Midwest
3. The Prayer
4. Ingenue
5. Hymn

Added: January 24th 2014
Reviewer: Eric Marvin
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 1922
Language: english

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