Circle Takes The Square existing in 2013 wasn’t a concept I was entirely in the circle about. But indeed, they’re still alive and screaming; Their aethereal, inhuman beauty as humans magnified by their rage and conviction as expressed in a dithyramb of post-everything expression, with a semi-operatic flair for all the natural drama of reality to boot. What a great way to spend Veteran’s Day.
Having to take care of some other business outside, I was unable to catch the openers, being melodic sludge act VYGR (though I did enjoy their set at deafheaven), emoviolence supergroup United Nations -ostensibly associated with members of Converge, All Pigs Must Die, Thursday, and Pianos Become The Teeth, to name a few – and activist/conscientious (I think that’s what they’d call it?) rapper B. Dolan, from Lovecraft Country, Rhode Island. However, the intensity, well-picked (however imperfect) setlist of Circle Takes The Square and the low price (only $14? Yup) made it all more than worth it.
While the explosively epic “Interview At The Ruins” would have been my first choice for an encore rather than “Non-Objective Portrait of Karma”, which I feel ends with a squeak rather than a poetic whisper, the setlist was overall well chosen. My preference of the outing from this jam session was the better tracks from mathcore/emoviolence leaning As The Roots Undo, including “Kill The Switch” and “In The Nervous Light of Sunday”, that have their oddly catchy sections and brutal vitriol enough to inspire thrashing in the space around you. Despite some people aimlessly shoving any bodies unfortunate enough to meet their arbitrary pinball motions, I feel that any acts of violence committed are justified. One must make a great attempt to be elegant about it, however. This isn’t Hatebreed, people.
Tracks from the new album, Decompositions: Volume One, fell largely flat and overblown, but they were still decent pieces of music by a band playing an art form that has many imposters but few stalwart enough to attempt a pure, if not well-produced, version of screamo. The short and heavy “Spirit Narrative”, the unfocused but promising “Enter By The Narrow Gates”, and the caustic “Singing Vengeance Into Being” were highlights, where the remaining songs were highly reminiscent of GlassJaw’s recent release entitled Coloring Book; they build up throughout the track to an unsatisfying climax, failing to truly live up to the energy it could potentially unleash. A slightly more aggressive version of At The Drive-In would be a good way to describe it.
Taking the natural evolution of a band into weirder territories into consideration, CttS has not made an erroneous step forward. After all, in the 8 years since 2004’s As The Roots Undo, they’ve undergone many molecular reshifts, and human attitudes toward things change, including their view towards what kind of band they were in the past. With that being said, let’s hope that skramz or screamo or post-hardcore or whatever you wish to call it, sticks around for as long as people are too sad to stay within the well-defined limits of punk. Go listen to Optimus Prime and cry about the lack of activity in your favourite genre.