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Horns Curve Into Broken Circles
May 2012
Released: 2012, Self Released
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz

If occult black metal were a currency, it’d have as much value as the Kazakhstan Tenge (that’s about 750 Tenges to a US nickel folks). Seriously, I could build a summer cottage from all of the low-fi, kvlt, and “experimental” black metal CDs I get in the mail each month, because that’s about all they’re good for. But for all my cynicism, every once in a while I’ll get presented with a diamond in the rough, which in this case is HORNS CURVE INTO BROKEN CIRCLES from a mysterious UK based act known as Donn. Now it’s really challenging for bands in this particular genre to distinguish themselves from their peers, but Donn has a unique and refreshing presentation value that really got my attention. Donn (both the band and its namesake founder) operate under a complex spiritual philosophy that’s conveyed in the lyrics, the CD liner notes, and even the personalized handwritten note that came with the promo (on parchment paper no less). It’s a level of ideological commitment to both the image and music that I don’t see much of anymore. Whether it’s legit or whether it’s shtick is up to your own perspective, but it makes for a much more interesting listen.

Sonically HORNS CURVE INTO BROKEN CIRCLES doesn’t stray far from familiar genre territory; speedy riffs, rough shot production and filtered vocal effects are abundant across the album, but there’s an underlying charisma to the tunes that give them a certain edge. Whereas many current black metal acts are content on just riding jangling discordant notes to sound spooky, Donn has some beefy riffs underneath the wall of fuzz that gives their music some additional ballast. Each track runs around 7 minutes, but the arrangements are varied enough that you never really stop to look at your watch. Songs like “Rotten Blood and Dead Semen…” and the title track could’ve passed as early Marduk had the production been a little more refined, and tracks like “Kinetike” and “With Black Horns I Absorb…” reminded me of a lot the cold dirges from Mayhem’s classic DE MYSTERIIS debut. Paricularly, Donn’s vocals for whatever reason reminded the latter band’s demos with vocalist Dead. The mix sounds like somebody took a belt sander to the master tapes, and I get that it’s supposed to add to the effect, but these tracks would have sounded enormous given at least a minimal dose of polish.

Needless to say, I will not be using my copy of HORNS CURVE INTO BROKEN CIRCLES for any home construction projects. It’s a powerful debut from an act that I’m genuinely curious to hear more from. Donn’s got a minimal presence on the web, but check out the attached Facebook link for more info on what the band is all about.
Track Listing

1. Naamah
2. Malkuth Transforms into Lilith
3. Rotten Blood and Dead Semen as the Foundation of Creation
4. Revolt Against Solar Singularity
5. Kinetike
6. With Black I Absorb, Violet Contemplate, Red I Summon the Strength to Act
7. Horns Curve into Broken Circles
8. Savar Speaks
9. Manipulator of Men


Donn - Vocals, Guitars
Hemlock - Drums
Massaker - Bass, Vocals

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