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The Art of Agony
Released: 2005, Neoblast Records
It’s funny how some bands manage to slip under the radar, despite existing for many years. Case in point is New Jersey’s Vicious Circle. The band formed in 1989, but has managed to release only 1 official album, 1993’s CRYPTIC VOID on the tiny R.E.D. imprint. Undeterred, the band continues to forge ahead, playing their brand of death metal. Life has kicked the band again though, as Neoblast Records closed shop shortly after the release of this album.
THE ART OF AGONY has been a long time coming, a full twelve years since the band’s last full-length release and four years since their last demo. So what does Vicious Circle offer the metal masses after all this time? An album chock full of death metal that would have been considered brutal in 1989, but is rather tame by today’s standards. All the riffs are powerful and competently played, but there is nothing here that hasn’t been heard before. As well, Darrell’s vocals are growled but decipherable, somehow lessening the impact. In a way it is refreshing to understand exactly what a death metal vocalist is saying, but when the songs are of the typical death/gore/anti-Christian variety that we’ve all heard a thousand times before, you almost wish for an indecipherable howl.
It may sounds like I’m being hard on Vicious Circle, but after 16 years of existence I expect more from a band than completely average. THE ART OF AGONY is not a terrible album, but there is nothing here that will make it any more than a complementary disc in an over-complete death metal collection.
1) Dead Scent
2) Neurotic Reminders
3) Lord of Shit
4) I Remain in Filth
5) Live Long and Suffer
6) Phantasia Through Agony
7) Triple Murder Suicide
8) Phantom Pains
10) Wishing the Djinn Away
11) Spiritual Deformity
12) Written in Flesh
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