Terminal (Southern Lord) is Circle’s thirty-second album, not counting sixteen live albums and three soundtracks (!). To say they are constantly putting out new material is an understatement.
Terminal, starts off with a grand Led Zeppelin type of feel. There is an expanse to the slow chug of Sludge Metal that is, well, very clean. Then the screamo-sludge vocals come in. It puts me in the mind of someone trying to initiate me into a Sixties psychedelic cult; lulling me in with visions of colours and shapes all the while whispering, ne’ chanting at me.
Then my ears pick up on a very distinct Black Sabbath tome. All the while, “Anaal Nathra Uthe vas Bethod Doch yel Dienve.” is slickly penetrating my brain. I’m pretty sure that’s not what they were saying. But it sounds like it. And then a very strong stadium metal circa 1970 singing voice says something different. Then it segues into a laid back Prog Rock tune. I’m only five minutes into the first track; seven minutes to go!
To say that Circle is an experimental band is quite reductionist. They have a bevy of musical influences and they throw everything, including the kitchen sink, into Terminal. The second track is the title track and is a respectable seven minutes long. The opening strains sound like ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’. I like it. But then, I’m a sucker for The Stooges. I like how seamlessly Circle can blend and bend so many different types of music together. They are true alchemists. There is nothing about Circle you can put in a box (See what I did there? I bring all the funny!).
‘Saxo’ begins with a Gregorian chant style, then evokes such dystopian Viking-esque visions to be almost scary; ‘Imperium’ is the shortest track at four minutes sixteen seconds, straight up horror rock that Alice Cooper and King Diamond would be proud of; ‘Kill City’ returns to the distorted guitars and heavy vocals of metal and is the most accessible song on an album that ends with ‘Sick Child’. This song is in English. It’s bluesy. It’s ballsy. It’s wicked. It’s don’t-get-stuck-in-the-woods-down-South primal.
Terminal has a lot going on and I think you have to be in the right headspace to truly appreciate what they are doing. Terminal isn’t for casual listening. If you are looking for something different, then pick up Terminal and be prepared for what’s in store. If you are already a Circle fan, then you’ll love what they’ve done with Terminal.