Review: Insurrection – Circles of Despair

In 2008 a new melodic death/thrash metal band was formed in the Dutch province of Friesland. The first line-up of this band, called Insurrection, consisted of guitarists Marten Hutten and Armand Venema, drummer Douwe Talma and bass player/vocalist Sander Blok. However, Insurrection and Sander Blok parted ways before there was some Insurrection studio material. His replacement was found in Pieter Oevering. In 2015 Insurrection’s debut material released, an EP titled Catatonic. Now, four years after Catatonic was released, these Frisian deaththrashers are going to release their debut full-length album. This debut full-length album will be titled Circles of Despair and will be released on August the 30th via Big Bad Wolf Records and Headbangers Records.

Does the fact that Circles of Despair is only Insurrection’s first full-length album mean that this band is still searching for their sound for a bit? Definitely not! If I would listen to this album without any research and someone would tell me that this is the umpteenth album of a band that is already on the top for quite some years, I would believe you. Circles of Despair is an extremely strong album of a band that seems to exactly know what they want and execute that with full belief.

I’ll start with the only comparison I am going to make between Insurrection and a band that indeed is on the top for quite some years already, Kreator. It is about some of Pieter’s vocals. His a bit hoarse-sounding screams sounds very nice and perfectly fit with Insurrection’s music, at some moments those vocals are reminding me for a bit of the vocals of Kreator’s Mille Petrozza. To get an example of this, be sure to listen to Dawn of Defeat, Deity and closing track …On Circles of Despair, in which he sometimes ends in a very high vocal range. Besides his nice screams Pieter also delivers some other nice vocal styles. For example, in Non Existent Fall and the aforementioned Dawn of Defeat we’ll hear him grunt, while he delivers some very low clean vocals in The Deeper Depths. He also delivers some nice vocal details, like the “ugh!”‘s in Enigma Machine, Futile Existence and Comrades in White.

Of course Circles of Despair isn’t only about vocals. Marten, Armand, Douwe and Pieter also clearly know how to play their instruments. For example, Douwe shows very tight and pounding drums in Futile Existence and …On Circles of Despair, while he stands out with the rich sound of his drums in for example The Deeper Depths and Dawn of Defeat. The guitars of Marten and Armand also show that same rich sound at some moments, like in Futile Existence. They play very tight and powerful riffs, but they also deliver some very melodic parts. To get an example of this be sure to listen to Non Existent Fall and Comrades in White. Of course Marten and Armand also perform quite some very nice solo’s, as can be heard in The Deeper Depths, Origin, Deity and Comrades in White, in which the guitarsolo gets a somewhat spacy sound after a while. In for example Enigma Machine, Non Existent Fall and Comrades in White Pieter also stands out with his humming bass.

Besides all this, Insurrection also really thought about details on Circles of Despair. I already mentioned Pieter’s “ugh!”‘s, in for example Enigma Machine and Futile Existence some samples can be heard. Enigma Machine also includes some synths, while Origin and Deity include some added electronic sounds and Origin ends with an acoustic guitar.

This all is brought to you at an extremely overwhelming, raging pace. However, this doesn’t mean that Circles of Despair is only about pounding very fast and heavy. The pace might be very fast for the main part of this album, but the rhythm-changes are bringing the variation on Circles of Despair. That’s how Insurrections makes sure that your focus stays with their music. To get an example of this, be sure to listen to Origin.

There is a lot happening on Circles of Despair, but not annoyingly and chaotically too much. It’s even far from that, Circles of Despair became a very raging but at the same time very thought-trough album. It includes very few points of rest, for example check the extremely pounding thrashy Futile Existence, but this surely isn’t getting annoying. The partly acoustic, instrumental track Spiralling Down, in which Douwe also delivers some very epic drums, is the only point of rest on this album. It is also due to this more calm Spiralling Down that closing track …On Circles of Despair pounds extra heavy, something that might be even a bit more when Spiralling Down wasn’t fading out. …On Circles of Despair, and so also this album in its entirety, ends somewhat abrupt. However, this also makes that you’ll remind this album even more after its last notes.

Circles of Despair became a phenomenal album. To me, one track is standing out just a little bit more than the others. That track is Dawn of Defeat, all aspects of Insurrection are perfectly combined in this track. I think Dawn of Defeat would be perfect for Insurrection to open their live shows with, especially the almost arena-like intense drums would immediately bring the perfect atmosphere.

It seems very clear to me. With Circles of Despair Insurrection delivers a phenomenal album and I think that we’ll hear a lot more of Insurrection in the future. I surely recommend you to check out Circles of Despair!

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