Finnish collective Circle have, incredibly and unbelievably, released more than 30 albums since their inception in 1991. Let’s hope their latest isn’t true to its title because these Suomi weirdbeards plainly still have plenty of good stuff to offer.
Bludgeoning heavy metal is at the core of the band’s sound but you don’t have to dig too deep to detect numerous other, delightfully disparate, influences. (Our favourite is speed-Kraut, in case you were asking.) While everything is in Circle’s native language, you can just sense there’s plenty of dark humour and off-kilter hoopla afoot. Beginning with the 13-minute Rakkautta Al Dente, the song initially sounds like a straightforward combo of Iommi riff and intense death metal vocals. But just as the whole shebang threatens to become overwhelming, the band step off the gas – the singing style becomes the whisperings of a demonic priest, while the music resembles a jazzy, noodling Hawkwind. Twists and turns aplenty, then: Imperium is Paul Di’Anno singing Dream Theater; Sick Child sounds like the ailing son of Zep’s Achilles’ Last Stand; the brainsearing Saxo seemingly has vocals by a ranting Japanese dictator. If nothing else, it’ll make you think twice before buying a second‑hand Citroën supermini.