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The Ominous Circle - Appaling Ascension album review

Iberian death metallers steer their ship towards the abyss

Warning: this anonymous, fiveheaded monster from Portugal won’t hit you where you expect them to. Hidden behind their black hoods they cite Dead Congregation and Immolation as their musical guides, but notwithstanding album bookends of possessed howls and incantations – and a vocalist whose sole means of communication is muffled growls, instead of the awaited cavernous magma – you get a far more precise and astute machine that has more in common with Gojira’s Morbid Angel fixation than anything else.

Instead of spiralling out of control, a lot of the riffs are purposely repetitive or bounce over the lower strings, as if to be in more sync with the almost tribal drums during the many heavy-as-fuck parts. The contrast between their cryptic message and attitude and the quite polished, if still very oppressive-sounding, music is really what sets The Ominous Circle apart, and even if the album doesn’t maintain the quality for its full distance, there’s definitively something brewing under the murky waters here.