In the last 5 years, the Australian progressive music scene has been making more and more of a mark internationally than ever before thanks to the likes of bands such as Sleepmakeswaves, Dead Letter Circus, and on the heavier side of things, Northlane and Ne Obliviscaris. Following closely behind these rock and metal powerhouses is Melbournian crew, Circles, who have spent the better part of the last 10 years crafting their own style of prog for our utter enjoyment. This year sees the release of their highly anticipated second album, The Last One. And boy is it worth the wait!
The chugging riff of opening track Winter throws you straight into the fray and once the vocals kick in it becomes apparent that newly-appointed frontman Ben Rechter is more than up to the challenge of filling the shoes left by departing vocalist Perry. Rechters singing ability is made all the more impressive when coupled with the intricate guitar work he carries out simultaneously.
Lead single Breaker follows and makes good on all the promises made by the opening track with it’s crunching beginning and soaring chorus leading delicately into a soft bridge that again showcases just how beautiful this band can be. The solid rhythm section comprised of bassist and backing vocalist Drew Patton and drummer David Hunter pummels sufficiently and tapers off when necessary. It’s clear that years on the road have paid off for the lads and given them some serious song-writing chops to boot.
The next two songs, The Messenger and The Arrival take things down a notch and once again deliver that beauty witnessed in the bridge section of Breaker. The former track brilliantly showcases Rechter’s vocal range from a soft croon to absolutely belting out his heartfelt lyrics (another area in which The Last One stands above it’s predecessor, Infinitas) whilst the latter provides an atmospheric gateway into the second half of the album.
Second single Tether is an instant classic that resonates closely with Brisbane prog rockers Dead Letter Circus with its quick guitar work and sing-along chorus that again displays Rechter’s immensely powerful voice. I can’t stress enough, the dude can sing! Whether softly singing his way through Resolution or belting out hardcore choruses on the heavy-hitting Dream Sequence, the singer-guitarist shines brightly in his new position as frontman of a band that is really going places.
The Last One defies the curse of the sophomore slump and instead is set to catapult this band into international acclaim and rightly so. These four boys have worked hard for what they’ve got and they deserve every praise that is thrown upon them. Check this one out, you won’t regret it.
Circles - The Last One is out Friday August 31 via Wild Thing Records/Season of Mist
Circles - Tether (official music video)