One of Australia’s best kept secrets is the band Circles, a four piece of soaring vocals, earth moving riffs and shredding guitar solos. They arrive in Adelaide on their The Winter tour ready to set us ablaze. The band have brought with them Adelaide’s prog rockers Wings Of Thanatos, label mates Ebonivory and groove rockers Tabula Rasa along for the ride.
Wings Of Thanatos are not your standard prog metal band though. The music has an underlying black metal vibe to it as Sean Donleavy’s solo in Vessels Of Flesh attests to. They complete the sonic detonation with doom fuelled riffs and the blast of gargantuan sounding drums from Scotty Belmont. This is prog rock with a dark side.
Ballarat is naturally not a place that springs to mind when you think of prog rock musical masters however Ebonivory are just that. Built on a foundation on Connor McMillan’s bass swagger, the technical guitar work from Jake Ewings and Louis Edwards is complemented by the vocals of Charlie Powlett flawlessly. When these guys get heavy though, which they bring often, it’s with the force of a high rise building collapsing.
Tabula Rasa have the swagger of a band that knows it’s on form. Electric melodies, dynamic contrasts of light with shade and great rock theatrics, the band is on fire. Vocalist and guitarist Graeme Richards leads the hard rock group throughout the set which includes a drum sound not unlike 100 stampeding horses underpinning the musical strut of the band.
To label Melbourne’s Circles a prog rock act, is to almost do a disservice to them. If you like music that moves your head, then you’ll love this band. That because they dabble in all the rock genres yet they make it work naturally.
They open with Dream Sequence, with a riff that lurks with intent in the darkness before vocalist Ben Rechter’s high range is unveiled during the heavy and rumbling Breaker.
They shake it up with the funky Messenger before the atmospheric Erased is let loose with the fury of hell. By the time Responses is unleashed, the room is in full flow of headbanging, dancing and singing while that breakdown at the end of Blueprints confirms that the band are into this as much as every audience member is.
At this point, a visibly fired up Circles and audience mesh as one for the run home. The sonic and visual senses at an extreme of joy as the clocks ticks past midnight. The band finishing their set with Tether and just like that, they’re off into the winters evening to set alight another stage in another town.
Live Review By Iain McCallum