Originally named Cirrhosis, The Tenth Circle plays a great mix of old school thrashy death metal and fiery metalcore. Though very heavy and aggressive in nature, the production will allow lots of modern metal fans to enjoy Of War and Reflection. The album was produced by Eric Rachel who previously worked with The Black Dahlia Murder, and it has a raw yet refined feel to it. Vocalist Ross Whitecavage growls like a madman on the ferocious album opener "Oblivion", marked by thrashy riffs and hyper-fast drumming, and the Morbid Angel-like title track where choppy guitars and syncopated drum beats climax with the arrival of a wild lead guitar solo, featuring Dave Moody and Ross Gerson at their best.
However, other songs also showcase Whitecavage doing more Lamb of God type of vocals, particularly on "Last Will and Testament". Think the first Lamb of God album's really throaty vocals combined with the heaviest and most relentless moments of Vader and the more modern soundscapes heard on The Haunted songs. It's a dangerous combination, but it works perfectly. Similarly, "Most Honorable Death", "Salvation" and "Divided", besides being more fortright songs, are also marked by somewhat fast-sung verses over repeated metalcore-inflected death riffs. That said, the album would easily slay any metalcore band, considering the inhuman drumming of Tim Yeung who has played in some of the best death metal bands including Hate Eternal and Vital Remains. Some of Yeung's polyrhythms are hard to grasp on first listen, as they are executed faster than the human brain can comprehend. His double bass is powerful and at the same time chaotic. "Reinvention" is perhaps the fastest and most brutal track on the album displaying sick double bass and perfectly timed rolls. The best song, however, has got to be "In the Name of..." for its classic Overkill type of thrash opening before the riffs laid down by the band's indestructible guitar tandem. The music is filled with blackened melodies that are epic in scope and majestic in impact. Once again the drumming is jaw-dropping, as it's not only central to the direction of the piece, but also enforces numerous breaks and shifts in tempo. It sure would be interesting to see the band dabbling with a similar songwriting on their following albums, given their new drummer can pull it off (I heard Tim Yeung left the band shortly after the recordings).
The album has a big sound thanks to Erin Farley (Overkill, Sick of It All). Also it was mastered by Alan Douches known for his work with bands like Sepultura and Mastodon. It sure deserves your attention if you're a fan of brutal death metal with occasional modern elements.
- Of War and Reflection
- The Reckoning
- In the Name of...
- Last Will and Testament
- Most Honorable Death