The hard hitting guitars accompanied by the drums in the beginning of the album introduce you to the macabre mindset of the song “A Hammer And Nails”. The ‘hitting on nails with a hammer’-sound accompanied with swallowing and indulging background bring you in an state of ominous and fearful thought. Whom is he talking about, you or someone else, the words can’t tell for sure.
As far as this begin-track is catching you with interest the second song “Deceiver” is taking it even further. Confusion spreads, obscurity becomes immanent, nothing tells you the answer. It goes fast, faster than you might like while riffs are psych-melody woven only one thing is clear; ferocity is the response to this all.
“The Gallows Await” shreds my music-system into pieces, very fast and rumbling sounds, Cleveland style stir make clear that there is only one way to cope with the laws of the past, emotional wounds catching up with time. If you don’t go equally fast in healing wounds, you fail and the gallows will await! At least that’s my first interpretation of this again ominous song that ends in a stomp-heavy down beaten reality.
Just when you think the sound leaves behind some peace and love in the beginning of the fourth song called “Burning At Both Ends”, a traditional Rise And Fall musical core is played and the lyrics make you aware of an unrelenting reality.
“Things Are Different Now” brings a welcome breath of peace in sound (with a psychedelic touch) but be not fooled about the outcome because it ends in a vicious circle. To me the song is a striking realization of a never fading feeling of powerlessness yet finding peace in it. That never fading feeling is translated technically/musically on vinyl by pressing a groove that makes a circle and then start over again in the same groove/sound.
As the A-side never ends due this to this vinyl-technicality I flip the vinyl on my turntable. So we come to the B-side:
I think the song “Breathe” is about constants in life. Just like breathing is a constant in our life, love is also. But then dying is also a part of everybody’s life. “It always love that makes us whole, yet we all die alone”. The music holds a thin line between a rocky positive vibe and a weeping tragedy underneath. Just like life actually is.
“Hidden Hands” is introduced by a distorted bass line. To crush in completely with a metallic chaotic touch. It is that chaos, that war that makes us survive the hidden hands. The war that makes us survive the head that wears the crown…
“Escapism” is indeed the word that typifies a lot of our behaviour. Do we have the strength to stand on hands and knees before gods unseen? This truth is hard to face and so are the backings by Kevin Baker in this song. An attitude so short-sighted it bleeds us down.
“Dead Weight” is the feeling of the songs sound at moments but still straight-forward enough to be Rise And Fall. It’s like the music pulls us through the burden.
“Faith/Fate” is a terrific song to close with, a positive note! As is the birth of a human-being represented by the heartbeat at the end of this song. Whatsoever is thrown at us we always pull through. Love for the loveless, hope for the hopeless, faith for the faithless and speech for the speechless.
Rise and Fall’s creation here is one that will keep critics, reviewers and listeners busy for many decades to come as it is their most eclectic album. While not letting go the traditional straight-forward R&F sound they continue to make a kingpin of Hardcore. They proof to be masters of the metallic hardcore genre, not only they rule the genre, they have simply set a standard here that will be impossible to equal for many bands and years to come.
Also lyrically universal topics and philosophy used here make this a pinnacle and landmark album. Honestly I gave the band after hearing ‘Into Oblivion’ no second victory, certainly after hearing ‘Our Circle Is Vicious’ I thought they had it. But I really have to skip this thought because they are back with their most surprising and best album ever.
As this is also Rise And Falls’s 4th album and due to all the release-preparation or marketing the label and the band did, my expectations were high but this is like everything I thought it would be and more.
The album covers might be fantasy or not, the way I interpret it is like this:
The musical composition carries various influences in it so does mother earth’s compositions that is presented by this four-piece of elements in the album artwork. If this is Rise And Fall’s world, embodied in sound and lyrics, if these are those elements, well then I’d gladly be a part of their universe.
Hardcore can mean aural terror, can mean heavy riffs, can mean truth but this album has it all and truly brings a smile on my face also. A smile of beholding perfection and looking it in the eyes…