Circumpolar – Awaiting The Dawn (Album – Alfa Matrix)
Genre/Influences: Dark-Electro, IDM, Ambient, EBM.
Format: Digital, 2 CD.
Background/Info: Two years after the promising EP’s “Until The End Of Time” and “We Will Remain” Swedish duo Jonas Mattson and Patrik Wallin strike back with their long awaited debut album. The work features ten songs while the bonus CD brings previously released EP’s for the first time on CD.
Content: If you don’t know Circumpolar, I invite you to start with the second album featuring the integrality of both EP’s. You’ll notice sophisticated songwriting, which is clearly reminding me of bands like Mentallo & The Fixer and Skinny Puppy, but also with some Haujobb elements. The songs are elaborated, mixing danceable elements and pure atmospheric Electro.
“Awaiting The Dawn” sounds like a step forward although holding on to the influences of the band. The album takes off with a rather intro-like track moving on with the title song, which reminds us of the inspiration of Skinny Puppy. The work is diversified, sometimes driven by EBM elements while often accomplished with bombastic drum sections. Mentallo & The Fixer is a band that comes often in mind while the most Ambient-driven cuts remind me of Benestrophe (a side-project of Mentallo & The Fixer). I also noticed a more Cold-Wave inspired song reminding me of The Danse Society, but with an Industrial sound production on top. The vocals have something spooky, which is perfectly matching with the music.
+ + + : After their astonishing EP “We Will Remain” I was eagerly awaiting the debut album of Circumpolar. All I can say is the album simply confirms the genius of this duo. This is intelligent and well-crafted music; Electro from the highest level! Even if the comparisons with Mentallo & The Fixer, Benestrophe, Skinny Puppy and even Haujobb are easy to make, Circumpolar also reveals a very unique sound identity. They match bombastic drum parts together with subtle bleeping sequences. They don’t hesitate to push the boundaries of established Electro standards into another dimension by adding EBM elements and pure ambient passages. The progression from both EP’s towards this album is impressive. The title song is a masterpiece, but I also have to mention “Let The Light Come In” for its harder EBM bass line and great bleeps plus “A Celestial Ocean”, which is more into an instrumental Ambient approach full of delicacy. I think it was a great idea to add a bonus disc with the previous EP’s of the band.
– – – : I don’t have true minor points, but the last part of the main album is a little less interesting than the main part.
Conclusion: Circumpolar doesn’t compose the most accessible Electro format, but it’s without a shadow of a doubt one of the most talented formations from the Alfa Matrix roster. This band has the stuff of genius!
Best songs: “Awaiting The Dawn”, “Let The Light Come In”, “A Celestial Ocean”, “Illusions Of Reality”, “Immortal Souls” + “Into The Heart Of The Sun”, “In A Distant Sky”, “Lost In Time”, “The Rain Will Burn”.
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