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At All Cost: Circle of Demons

Interesting to find At All Cost and their latest release Circle of Demons at home on Century Media Records, normally somewhere you'd find plenty of death, black, thrash, grind, and power metal, not necessarily where you would think that the metalcore mix that these Texas upstarts bring would wind up. Circle of Demons is an interesting, if slightly schitzophrenic release. Things kick off on a high note with the rampaging title track, a monster of a piece featuring plenty of brutal yet catchy vocal growls, bombastic riffage, and just an overall killer attitude. Once you start moving on into the CD however, things start to get a little strange. Clean vocals start mixing in with the hardcore/metal growls, and some of these vocals are laden with effects that sound like something from a pop or dance music tune (like the bizarre vocoder like effects on "Lasting Forever" or the boy band vocalizations on "Get Down For The Revolution" and "The Message") . When they just keep the clean vocals free of all this nonsense, like they do on "Let It Rain Death (Blizzard Of Snakes)", things work out much better, as the balance between melodic and brutal styles works quite nicely. Instrumentally speaking these guys bring some interesting things to the table, like the acoustic, flamenco styled guitar passages on "Ride Through The Storm", the futuristic keyboard effects on the hook filled emo/rap/metal piece "We Wont Give In", or the intense prog metal wizardry of "Step One", the latter featuring some crazy guitar passages, orchestral keys, and blazing drum patterns. For my money, when these guys get serious and deliver some crankin' avant-garde metal, as they do on "The Wall That Divides", complete with melodic clean vocals, maniacal growls, and complex instrumentation, that things really click. The seven minute closer "Drugs" is the bands attempt at being progressive, and it nearly works, as they fluctuate from an epic & atmospheric mood to frenzied metal, but it seems to lack focus at times, and the extended acoustic interlude just seems to go on too long, culminating in a electronic doodle of a finale that is basically a letdown.

Overall, Circle of Demons, after a great start, just kind of sputters about out of control, and seems to be all over the place but never anywhere successful. While you can give credit to these guys for putting together what seems to be a wide assortment of influences into something that is certainly far from the norm, there's too much that doesn't work here compared to what hits the right buttons. I'd like to see At All Cost with a bit more focus, then see what happens.

Track Listing
1) Circle Of Demons
2) Get Down For The Revolution
3) The Message
4) Let It Rain Death (Blizzard Of Snakes)
5) Ride Through The Storm
6) We Wont Give In
7) Step One
8) Lasting Forever
9) Eating Lightning Pt. III
10) The Wall That Divides
11) Drugs

Added: June 29th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2593
Language: english

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