Arizmenda
Without Circumference Nor Center


4.0
excellent

Review

by Kyle Ward STAFF
July 6th, 2011 | 121 replies | 10,593 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An atmospheric black metal release with real substance

One can’t fault American black metal act Arizmenda for not trying to branch out too far, not only for the introverted nature of atmospheric black metal to remain locked in its own closet but also for the fact that Within The Vacuum Of Infinity was a fine example of how to play the genre correctly. The mood was not so much a product of the music as the music was a product of the mood. Think of it this way: for an atmospheric black metal to really be a success it is vital for the atmosphere to be palpable, not some contrived veil that is as thin as a sheet of paper and as durable as one as well. That’s where Arizmenda succeeded, because instead of building some bull***, cliché sense of melancholy and desolation that anyone even relatively familiar with the genre can pinpoint in an instant, they created something that was dynamic and changing, taking the music along for the ride. With the release of Without Circumference Nor Center, Arizmenda took what they had and ran with it. The same dissonance and that familiar meandering pace is back, and for better or worse the album does what it can without stepping away from familiar territory.

Underneath a production that is notably worse than Arizmenda’s debut, the mash of the guitars with the drums and bass cycle through seemingly endless riffs that slide themselves in behind a high mixing of bass guitar that coats the production in a muddy, distant tone that suits the music itself rather well. The rawness of the album lends Without Circumference Nor Center a whole set of positives, beginning with that notably bleak tone that suited the atmosphere of Within The Vacuum Of Infinity so well. The riffs themselves are so buried that when the occasional tempo shift makes itself known and all the instruments die down save a reverb-laden string of notes it adds a huge sense of variety to what otherwise could be seen as a monotonous, hour-long grind of no-frills black metal. Alongside the distorted chords and ringing melodies the vocals remain much the same as they had previously: smartly set far back so that the unintelligible wails seem like an instrument themselves and as such are treated with no special emphasis. To that end, the tone of the album is more or less spot-on, and while some may be swiftly reaching for their speakers to turn down the bass, they will miss out on an integral aspect to the whole experience of the album.

The compositions themselves aren’t extraordinary in terms of their content, but instead the way they are arranged allows for a, relatively speaking, smooth listening experience that lacks the harshness of more intense, rawer black metal. Without Circumference Nor Center is a surprisingly varied album, with tempo shifts littered across its six tracks that allows for the building and cresting nature of the album’s longer numbers (that is to say all of them) to run their course in an almost natural way. Nothing feels forced or out-of-place here, an interesting and almost confusing notion considering the kinds of useless arrangements and attempts at variety seen in other atmospheric black metal releases. The guitars rise and fall along with the extremely buried drums that cycle through the obvious blast beats and even the more adventurous rhythms that would benefit from an increased role in the finished product.

I wasn’t so sure about Without Circumference Nor Center after the first few tracks I heard. Things seemed jumbled and incoherent beneath that sea of bass guitar, and the riffs didn’t want to get along with each other. After a while, though, things began to fall into place, and the two-part album (divided into three-song sections called “Odes of Prurience” and “Odes of Satiation”) really showed its colors. The songs complement one another and form a complete album that, while not quite as refreshing or well-written as Within The Vacuum Of Infinity, comes damn close. For that, I couldn’t be happier, not only because of the bombardment of low-quality atmospheric black metal albums as of late, but also because of the fact that Arizmenda have a good thing going for them. This is a complete package when it comes to the genre, and is the second in a row from Arizmenda that I can easily recommend as more than worthwhile listens for anyone wanting an immersive piece of atmosphere that proves its strength and backs it up with a listening experience that leaves little room for criticism.



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user ratings (31)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2011



16263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

First time I've written anything in what seems like forever, album is excellent but I still like the debut better.

Digging: Ulver - Bergtatt

Maniac!
July 6th 2011



26246 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yessssssssssssssssssss

Maniac!
July 6th 2011



26246 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm going to pretend I'm going to like this better than the debut, that way when I actually listen to it, there's no way I'll be objective about it.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2011



16263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

don't even listen just 4.5/5

pizzamachine
July 6th 2011



12571 Comments


Avoiding 'cause of hilarious album cover.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2011



16263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

satan wears a red cape what of it

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2011



30892 Comments


I won't lie, track 6 is my main slow jam ballad

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

Maniac!
July 6th 2011



26246 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I wonder if I'm gonna like this

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2011



16263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

that's what i'm talking about that's the sputnik way right there

ev0ken
July 6th 2011



586 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review.

@pizza this cover art rulez.

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2011



16134 Comments


Great review. Agree with most everything.

MoosechriS
July 6th 2011



4803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome review dude pos'd. Still waiting for both my arizmenda tapes to arrive along with a few others from black twilight. Although my worship black twilight comp and BHOTL 7 inch turned up today.

liledman
July 6th 2011



3826 Comments


got the tape but my player is fucked so annoyed i want to listen

ShadowRemains
July 6th 2011



20252 Comments


great review

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
July 6th 2011



7021 Comments


Glad this has a review. Very impressed with what they released here.

Digging: Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2011



16263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I should probably order this on tape but I'm in one of those "cheap bastard" moods so I don't want to spend money on anything. Thanks guys.

Maniac!
July 6th 2011



26246 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So far I like this better than the debut, genuinely

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2011



16134 Comments


Very excited for what I have coming in the mail...

MoosechriS
July 6th 2011



4803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

What you waiting on?

ev0ken
July 6th 2011



586 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@angel what do u have coming in the mail? just got new exhumed in the mail today. still waiting on the new samael, the us release date got pushed back til july i think and i ordered in at the end of april, it was suppost to come out in may.

i might get this, moose gave me some great links where to buy bm.



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