UK hardcore punk quintet Circle of Rage are a no-nonsense, direct and tight little band making chunky, bouncy punk for fans of letting loose in a mosh pit. Every now and again it’s refreshing to hear a band who do exactly what they say on the tin and what Circle of Rage lack in originality is made up for with a superbly intense delivery.
Circle of Rage’s Rage in D-Minor is a short blast of biting and agitated hardcore punk that never sits still for too long. The album’s short run time might be a bit jarring when the release rolls to an end, but by the time you’ve finished listening to it you would have heard an awful lot of ideas.
None of the songs on Rage in D-Minor have a typical song structure and this helps the music’s impact stay strong throughout. Riffs are never revisited and there are no real choruses to speak of. Circle of Rage keep their listeners engaged with songs that change direction at the drop of a hat and consistently hit hard throughout the entire record. There’s also some interesting little influences coming from other genres like metalcore on Fear Does Not Exist in This Dojo and even a bit of thrash metal on FTSE Fetish. Nobody can deny that Circle of Rage haven’t kept this album hugely varied.
But this isn’t to say that Rage in D-Minor isn’t without its’ problems. The main one is that without any prominent choruses or even catchy melodies the whole thing falls a little flat and you’ll have a hard time remembering any of the songs after a single play-through. Luckily repeated plays are a little more rewarding but you can’t help but wonder that if a more varied vocal style was used (instead of just plain screaming) and some stronger melodies were employed then Circle of Rage would’ve been onto a winner.
Also, there’s a small issue of the production values. Rage in D-Minor sounds very clean for a punk release. The drums in particular have an incredibly polished, modern metal quality to them which is brilliant for anyone who wants to hear the intricacies of the drum work but a bit disappointing for most hardcore punk fans who prefer their music a bit more rough and ready.
Regardless, Circle of Rage have put together an exciting and extremely intricate release that is wonderfully surprising for a punk release. Enough can’t be said about how many ideas and influences the band have managed to cram into this album, but it does turn out to be a bit of a shame that it doesn’t form a more cohesive and memorable record. Circle of Rage have the potential to be something very special but they’re not quite there yet.
Circle of Rage’s Rage in D-Minor is available now from Copro Records.