If you’ve not encountered Circle of Indifference before, they are a band spawned from the digital age. None of the band members have ever met and everything is created over the internet.
Dagfinn Övstrud is the man behind the project and it’s his work that the “group” of them bring to life.
Concepts are generally lost on me, but the inclusion of real speeches, from Winston Churchill and I presume our old mate Adolf, give this a very authentic feel. Plus I have a keen interest in history, particularly of World War 2, so I’m impressed with the setting the band have created.
The line-up is almost the same as on the previous album, although vocalist Brandon did leave for a short while, but
thankfully returned in time for the recording… because I’m not sure if would have been the same without him…. And the addition of Kostas Vassilakis on drums and keyboards seems to have elevated the skill levels to new heights.
In fact, everything on Welcome To War seems to be a notch up from the bands 2014 debut. The songs are catchier, the performances are superb, the production seems lighter and the concept of War works very well with the bands sound, even if it’s not bombastic in nature. Circle of Indifference play Melodic Death, but more in the vein of Amon Amarth (minus the Viking feel), than the pomp of Children of Bodom (although I’ve not listened to them in the last decade or so). So this is Metal with melody that just happens to have Death Metal vocals…. If you get my drift.
As much as I like 2014’s Shadows Of Light, Welcome To War is the much superior album. Forget the (commercial) crap that the magazines throw at you. And it’s also so much better than a band past its best, simply fulfilling a contract. Dig deep enough in the underground and this is the sort of gem you’ll discover. And these are the kind of bands we should be supporting.
Slowly, one by one, they come back with new works all the groups that a few years ago, more or less, were embellished with albums by the high quality the metal underground.
This time it's up to the Circle Of Indifference of the Swedish multi-instrumentalist Dagfinn Övstrud, Scandinavian reality with huge potential confirmed in this beautiful work that invites us in no uncertain terms to the war.
In fact, the album's mood is much more in your face than its magnificent predecessor, although it does not Övstrud certainly miss his amazing talent for melodies in full overdose scandinavian melodic death metal.
The microphone there, how about Shadows Of Light, the Belgian vocalist Brandon L. Polaris, but guests do not stop there with the performance of Kostas Vassilakis (Infravision) on keyboards and the skins and lead guitar Tyler Teeple.
Product well as Övstrud, Welcome To War invites us to total destruction with the first two songs, and Concription Einberufung (Conscription), heavy, epic and warlike, who see the band exploring the hardest and dramatic side of his musical soul, approaching pure Scandinavian death metal.
From This comes I Depart and return to ride the wave of the first job, the melodic riff that supports the piece is of an extraordinary beauty and the clean vocals alternating with very bad growl of Polaris in a high emotional crescendo.
No time to digest this wonderful song that electronics takes possession of the progressive Menschenmörder (Murderer Of Man), giving emotions to no end and returning to the stellar songwriting of the first work of Edge Of Sanity and Pain.
Welcome To War is martial, monolithic and with a mood horde, the keyboards slightly soften the heavy atmosphere of this death metal song, while the clean vocals by desperate tones Kein entkommen (No Escape) seems to give hope, but when all has lost a classic, melodic solos, accompanied by ivory keys clearly inspired prog, it rekindles a faint hope.
Veil Of Despair is impetuous and aggressive in a crescendo that leads to an instrumental part creepy, with the musicians to teach under the guidance of the leader of the extreme metal lectures, devastating and melodicissimo.
Ein Akt Der Güte (An Act Of Kindness) closes, with its abundant seven minutes, this new and very beautiful work, letting the whole world of Circle Of Indifference opens the listener, run over by a tsunami of melodic death metal above lines, powerful, mature, progressive but exceedingly dramatic and violent.
Welcome To War is another extreme black pearl license plate Circle Of Indifference: if the first new machine was a pleasant surprise, the confirmation of being in the presence of a great composer and musician in you will have the time to put the helmet, the rifle and get off in the trenches ... Welcome to the war."
I have waited sometime for the new Circle of Indifference to come out, Hell I have wanted to hear this new album since they told me they were going into the studio to do another.. The first album “Shadow of Light” is something of a master Piece to me and we are about to find out if the new album can stand to the first album.
On this venture the work was once again written by Dagfinn Övstrud. Dagfinn has completely mixed and mastered this album. It is one thing to write an album and then sit and produce it and come out with a great sound. I can say for sure that this album is produced as a master piece once again. The mix is so well leveled on every aspect of this album. Bravo Dagfinn.
Dagfinn has brought together once again some great players. Guitars, bass and additional keyboards performed by Dagfinn Övstrud (Sweden). Keyboards and drums were written and performed by Kostas Vassilakis (member of Infravision, Greece) solos by Tyler Teeple (Canada). Vocals performed by Brandon L. Polaris (Belgium). Once again the players are from around the world and recorded their own parts. The crazy part about this band if you want to call it that is none of them have ever met face to face. Imagine never playing with a group of people and having such chemistry. It is not often that this happens. Let’s get to this album and what it has to offer. Now just like any review I do, I have just previewed the songs and have not listened to them all the way thru. I will do that as I write this. I like to do it this way so that I can have a first time opinion. I am sure the more I do listen the more I will see in the music.
1. Conscription coming in at 4:33. The opening guitar comes in and we have a solo right there at the start with a clip of a speech from Churchill (I think it is) I come to the conclusion that it is Churchill because the song is about London and World War 2. The Story of a man and the time served in the Military and war. With the times we are living in today this song may hit home for you and you may see thru the lines and understand this is a song about hurt and pain. The Music is amazing; the guitar is just a shred machine throughout the first song. Man that is going to be hard to beat. The solos that come with this song will keep you involved and having you stroking the air guitar for sure. I have said this before and will say it again. I have never been a huge fan of keyboards, but once again the keyboards in this song are set perfect to where they belong and not to over powering, that makes such a great difference in weather the deserve to be there and they do by all means.
2. Einberufung (Conscription) coming at 5:26 the second song comes in with a speech again, but this time a speech in German I believe. I come to that conclusion because this is the story of the war told by a Solder about what he is going through also. I take from it that both men the one from the first song and the man here in this song are feeling the same way, except they do as they are told like good citizens. Until in this song there is a doubt. Being lead like cattle and conformed to a war the solder does not agree with. I hear a heavier selection of keyboards but still in a way that it belongs. The drums are killing it with the double bass and the top patterns. The drums hold you in a good groove and also take you into and great neck breaking fit. I am starting to see this album is going to live in my playlist and also have sometime in the heavy rotation on the station here.
3. “From This I Depart” coming in at 5:35 Starts with a slow melodic style and slow guitar hand making the strings sing with sadness. The Drums kick in and the song is off and running looking for a place that will take you into your imagination to become the poor soul the story is about. I love these guitar parts so much. When a player uses the neck for what it is for just gets me so worked up. Not enough bands have the singing of the strings through songs anymore. They are either in just a section or to over worked or in many cases no guitar work at all except power chords or some drop d shit with no lead work. That is not the case with this album so far.
4. “Menschenmörder” (Murderer of Man) coming in at 5:05 we have another slow intro but once again long. There is a great keyboard part that is framed around it. We start to get into the mind of the solder. The crazy part of how his government turned him into a killer by just following orders. The lead with the vocal harmonies is brilliant, sick breakdown with the keys bringing in the sound of crazy. It comes out swinging as you would expect it to do. Wow I have to wonder if the writer has ever been in war or who is telling him stories of war. Man these guys need to tour soon. I want to see this done live and in my face from the front row.
5. “Welcome to War” coming in at 6:28 the title track for the album. Gun fire blast thru the ears, as the bombs drop, alone in a fox hole, waiting to see if you make it thru the night. Lyrics are amazing as we find the solder laid up in the hospital and looking into what he sees as an angel. A woman that is healing the wound so he can be sent back again. The music in this one is a bit different from the rest of what I have heard as it gets into the tech no area just a bit. I mean it still works because it goes into the brutal rage of a man that is being killed slowly and trying to figure out why.
6.”Kein Entkommen” (No Escape) coming in at 4:22 “We are Dehumanized. Who cares we’re not people anymore, Jaded by the things we’ve seen, by the things we have done throughout this war" I would have to say that this is how many men and women feel after fighting a war that means nothing to them personally. Vocals are clean more on this one, well more than the others so far.
7.”Veil of Despair” coming in at 5:03
8.”Ein Akt Der Güte” (An Act of Kindness) coming in at 7:45
You notice I did not bring up the last two songs, this because no one should spoil the ending. What I can tell you is this album and the concept is real. This is history at its best being told, and you should know that history will repeat itself and come back around. I have to say Circle of indifference did it again. Hit it out of the park. This album is well put together and the music is nothing short of great. I am glad I have a new album to hear by these guys. If you love history and a great concept album this one should for sure be in your collection and being played every time you get in the car.
Although the Swedish underground scene is in many ways more diversed and higher in quality perhaps ever, the really great releases has been absent during the first months. It is therefore particularly gratifying to sink your teeth into the second album from Dagfinn Övstrud's projects Circle Of Indifference. Welcome To War moves gracefully in the borderland between brutal and melodic death metal, the focus of the riff-driven music is clearly on the heaviness. However, without compromising the properties of the songs that not quite seldom found inspiration from classic heavy metal.
The growls of Brandon L. Polaris is consistently high caliber, with lovely dynamics despite the straight forward interaction with the nice riffs. This mix is crazy fine, in terms of production, the record is pure pleasure. It's edgy roughness lifts the album and the interaction between the dirty and a little cleaner is phenomenal. There simply is not much else to do than to salute Övstrud who managed to sew together the year's by far most interesting underground release, a release that deserves far more attention than it has attracted so far!
A solid album by a multi-cultural band that invites us all to go to war to the sound of their sharp Melodic Death Metal.
After listening to the brand new concept album by Melodic Death Metal band Circle Of Indifference, entitled Welcome To War, you might not believe in what I’m going to say about this interesting project recommended for fans of bands like Death and Carcass.
Founded in 2013 by Swedish multi-instrumentalist Dagfinn Övstrud in the city of Hönö, Sweden, and having already released their debut album Shadows of Light, in 2014, Circle Of Indifference are a band where none of its members have ever met in person. I’m not joking. Apart from the band’s mastermind Dagfinn on guitars, bass and additional keyboards, Circle Of Indifference are Brandon L. Polaris on vocals directly from Belgium, Tyler Teeple on lead guitars representing Canada, and Kostas Vassilakis, a member of Progressive Death/Thrash Metal band Infravision, from Greece, on keyboards and drums. They use the Internet to communicate with each other, share their thoughts and ideas, record their separate parts in their respective homes, and everything is put together at the end of the recording process.
And although those four metallers are distant around 12,000km from each other in total, the final result is really good, sounding a lot more organic than many regular bands I know. The concept of the album, which presents the lives of two soldiers in World War II on either side of the conflict, starting from their enlistment at the early stages up until they come face to face during a battle at the end, helped the band members to stay focused and follow the same path while writing their parts of the music. The beautiful and melancholic cover art by Turkish digital artist and musician Aybars Altay, who resides in Germany and has already worked with another one of the bands reviewed at The Headbanging Moose (the excellent Norwegian Progressive Death/Black Metal act Maahlas), complements the intensity of the music in Welcome To War, putting a “face” to the story told by Dagfinn and his multi-cultural army.
Without further ado, it’s time to head to the battlefield to the sound of Conscription, bringing forward the heaviness of traditional Death Metal with the modernized atmosphere of Melodic Death Metal, not to mention how perfectly guitar riffs and keyboards complement each other. It’s a bit odd the name of the following song, Einbehrufung (Conscription), is the German translation for the title of the opening track, with its warlike ambience “torturing” the souls of the two main characters. In addition, the growls by Brandon L. Polaris lean towards old school Death Metal, reminding me of the vocals by Johnny Hedlund (Unleashed). Then a gloomy intro kicks off From This I Depart, before the amazing guitars lines by Dagfinn and the progressive drumming by Kostas suddenly fill all spaces in the music, getting more melodic than both previous tracks.
The storyline gets more and more exciting as it progresses, with the kick-ass Menschenmörder (Murderer Of Man), one of the most exciting moments of the album, also presenting a dark intro that evolves to a modern and heavy chant. Furthermore, the guitars by Dagfinn transpire electricity, effectively supporting the song’s lyrics about the torments inside the mind of a soldier (“Inside, a sea of mixed emotions that I still hide / I cannot show them what I really feel / Outside, I wear a mask of brutal terror untied / I cannot show them what I really feel / Inside”). The title-track Welcome To War begins by blasting some loud shots and explosions, giving the sense that we’re in the middle of a battle, with its straightforward Melodic Death Metal sounding working extremely well. In other words, Circle Of Indifference keep it simple and the final result is awesome, with highlights to the additional layers brought forth by keyboards and backing vocals.
In Kein Entkommen (No Escape), which presents a solid mix of harsh growls and clean vocals, Kostas maintains the energy at a high level with his unstoppable beats, while Tyler, who is beyond superb with all his guitar solos throughout the entire album, might have reached a new level of finesse in this tune. The second to last war anthem by Circle Of Indifference, named Veil Of Despair, offers a more modernized approach than usual, while yet again another great duo of guitars and keyboards lead the musicality. Moreover, Brandon’s voice sounds more polished in this case, maybe due to the song’s sharper sonority, therefore expanding the sonic range of the band. T
he last track, Ein Akt Der Güte (An Act Of Kindness), is obviously an epic conclusion to the story told so far, with the exciting keyboards by Kostas once again adding fire to the music, as well as the mesmerizing riffs by Dagfinn. The lyrics to the song couldn’t be more realistic, with Brandon declaiming a soldier’s final words full of sorrow and anger (“As I rest against the wall / I take a breath and close my eyes / The British soldier takes my hand / I feel at peace it’s time to die / It’s time to die”).
As previously mentioned, how they managed to be so concise even with each band member being located in distinct parts of the world is beyond my knowledge, but that’s absolutely irrelevant when the final product sounds as compelling as Welcome To War. This is another great example of how heavy music unites us all, no matter where we come from, and if you want to know more about Circle Of Indifference go check their Facebook page, YouTube channel (where the full album is available for a listen) and SoundCloud page, with Welcome To War being on sale at the band’s BandCamp page, on iTunes and on Amazon. I guess their only “problem” right now might be finding a way to get together for live performances, because if there’s one thing that those gigantic distances didn’t stop those guys from doing was creating powerful and dynamic Melodic Death Metal.
Best moments of the album: Menschenmörder (Murderer Of Man), Welcome To War and Ein Akt Der Güte (An Act Of Kindness).
Worst moments of the album: Einbehrufung (Conscription).