In the modern age of Metal, everyone loves a good mind-blowing. It’s certainly more difficult nowadays with all the masses of talented bands coming from every nook-and-cranny, but it’s even more impressive when it comes from a band who’s been around for 20-odd years. Enter the Australian Progressive gods, Alarum. They’re back with their fourth album and their first in 9 years – succeeding 2011’s “Natural Causes”). Entitled “Circle’s End”, the album was released on June 19th via the Dinner For Wolves label. Ladies and gentlemen, adjust your guitar strap height to eleven because we’re about to get jazzy!
The first contender in the ring is the first single, “Sphere of Influence”. The song manages to summarise everything Alarum is about in less than 3 minutes – but somehow simultaneously manages to only show an inch of what is to come. Guitarists John Sanders & Scott Young school the Metal kids in unique fashion, throwing techniques at you faster than you can say “Am7b5add11#13” (decipher that for me, musicians). The band even incorporate a slight tinge of Thrash Metal, albeit in a modernised, more Progressive twist (a la if Death was around these days). This aspect is definitely highlighted through bassist/frontman Mark Palferyman’s shattered Thrash shrills across the album. The album also flows impeccably well.
As is the case with many of my other reviews, I highly respect a band’s musicianship. Alarum do not falter whatsoever in this aspect, in fact it’s one of the many highlights. Songs such as “Sand”, “Sojourn” and “Syzygy” balance that fine line between the wretched wankery of technique and a capability to restrain their talents in beautiful clean passages.
It’s definitely an album filled to the brim with Technical and Fusion influenced playing, so expect to be overwhelmed at first if you’re a beginner to the realm of Progressive music. But after listening a few times, the album only gets better as you begin to notice more and more within every composition.
Megadeaf’s deaf-inite picks for “Circle’s End”:
Track 1: “Sphere of Influence“.
Track 2: “Syzygy“.
Track 3: “Delta“.
Track 5: “Sand“.
Track 10: “Sojourn“.