Circle Takes the Square
Rites of Initiation


4.0
excellent

Review

by Dustin S. USER (10 Reviews)
September 4th, 2011 | 60 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Controversy and hyperbole be damned, Circle Takes the Square are back.

Think back to 2004 when Circle Takes the Square released their debut LP, As The Roots Undo. Think back to the hyperbolic claims surrounding the album, both positive and negative. Think back to how much controversy the album caused across the music-based interweb. Alright, now forget about all of that. Circle Takes the Square are back with their first release in seven years and they're an entirely different animal, a much darker, heavier, and more haunting one to say the least. Rites of Initiation showcases the band finding themselves in new terrain, and they're entirely comfortable with it.

In a press release, vocalist Drew Speziale stated that Rites of Initiation would be the darkest and heaviest release to date by Circle Takes the Square, and he certainly was not exaggerating. In Rites of Initiation, we find the band further exploring aspects of their craft that they only touched on in earlier releases. In "Interview At The Ruins," what Circle Takes the Square presented us with was slow, pacing guitar lines which led up to the chilling chant of "a murmur from the ruins that go softly as the roots undo, and the branch becomes.." Circle Takes the Square have taken the idea presented in that and choose to include it throughout Rites of Initiation as an ever-present motif, utilizing it throughout "Enter By the Narrow Gates" and allowing it to poke its head on many occasions throughout the album. By doing so, Speziale and co. craft a wall of cold, haunting vocal melodies, creating an atmosphere resembling that of a dark storm cloud.

Not only is Rites of Initiation darker (as Speziale said), but it is surely the heaviest thing they have ever written. Often, it seems to border on post-rock influenced metalcore (much like that of Trenches). Shifting between slow, chugging guitars and crashing cymbals to fast-picked wankery backed by blasting drums and angry, lower vocals than what we've become accustomed to from Circle Takes the Square, Rites of Initiation manifests itself as an entirely different animal indeed. Much of this is to be found in the tracks "Spirit Narrative" and "Way of Ever-Branching Paths," which seamlessly mesh together to create the most memorable piece of the album. By using these two approaches to their own controlled chaos, Circle Takes the Square allow Rites of Initiation to remain captivating, preventing themselves from dragging their own knuckles in the dirt.

With Rites of Initiation, Circle Takes the Square seem to be giving their all into creating exactly what their previous fans wanted, and exactly what all of the naysayers would expect from them. They may not be winning over very many new fans, but as a whole, Rites of Initiation is an excellent release. If this is a peek into what the rest of the Decomposition series will entail, then we are all in for one hell of a ride.



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user ratings (277)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
RossWolfe (1.5)
If this album is a labyrinth, then consider me Theseus. I know I shouldn't have featured this but I ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
whywontyoudie
September 4th 2011


3063 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Neg me MJ, neg me all night.

Apollo
September 4th 2011


10340 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Didn't read cuz lol

whywontyoudie
September 4th 2011


3063 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

but I like your couch Apollo

fuckthatnoise
September 4th 2011


1479 Comments


i'll pos but MJs review is still better.

Rev
September 4th 2011


9438 Comments


finally an actual review

whywontyoudie
September 4th 2011


3063 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

MJ's is hilarious cause he's actually serious about it.

RosaParks
September 4th 2011


14936 Comments


Didn't read cuz lol [2]

botb
September 4th 2011


9722 Comments


this is more like it.

Digging: Solstafir - Ótta

Apollo
September 4th 2011


10340 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

nah wwyd is pretty cool and good review but still....

whywontyoudie
September 4th 2011


3063 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks guiz

cvlts
September 4th 2011


8968 Comments


did u just rec Trenches? lol

iFghtffyrdmns
September 4th 2011


7047 Comments


never listened to this band and I'm not starting now

LOOK AT ME I'M ALL SUPER POSI AND DEFIANT WOO YEAH

YetAnotherBrick
September 5th 2011


4476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

2011. THE YEAR OF CTTS.

psykonaut
September 5th 2011


3913 Comments


special as fuck

AsspaiN
September 5th 2011


29 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

finally an actual review. thanks! well written also. Since the day they released this I haven't
stopped listening to it. Its atmosphere is amazing, so haunting... can't wait for the rest of the
album

Redman54
September 5th 2011


96 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

About time this got the review it deserved
pos'd

reservationsatdorsia
September 10th 2011


1 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Two things:

-Controversy?
I may have been fairly young when As the Roots Undo was released, but I don't remember much controversy back in those days...in fact, from '04 - '06 I just remember CTTS as a very positively received band, though not a particularly widely known one. I can't really recall much negativity or controversy surrounding them, but that was a long time ago so I'm sure I could be forgetting some of it. The only "controversy" about this band that I know of started around '07 and continued over the next 4 years and even then it mostly just seemed to consist of snarky internet comments from random elitist hipsters who would call out CTTS for taking too long to release another album or would decide they were no longer a fan and that CTTS was suddenly "pretentious" and "overrated" etc. But practically every band gets that sort of feedback thanks to mindless internet commentary and hipster elitism, so I never thought much of it.

-Darkest and heaviest record to date?
I kinda have to disagree here. The clean singing vocals were featured only sporadically in their previous releases but are fairly prominent in this newest record. At first I wasn't so thrilled about this but have since changed my mind and in fact think they make for the best parts of the final two tracks (Way of Ever-Branching Paths and The Ancestral Other Side). But in any case, the new songs don't strike me as particularly "dark" or "heavy" -- or at least, those wouldn't be the first two words that'd come to mind when describing the new EP. It's not necessarily due entirely to the prominent clean vocals, but they do play a fairly large role in it. I can see how the songs "Spirit Narrative" and the majority of the song "Way of Ever-Branching Paths" could be interpreted as heavier than their previous releases, but when looking at this EP as a whole compared with the bands' previous 3 releases (Self-titled EP, split with pg.99 and As the Roots Undo) I'd say those earlier releases presented more heaviness in their conveyance of raw emotion (vocally and lyrically) and intense thundering riffs and sequences. But "dark" and "heavy" are judgments that are ultimately up to whoever's listening to it, I suppose.

And yeah, this comment was probably way more on-topic and in-depth than most comments on this site are expected to be, but whatev, deal with it. Pretty good release IMO but not quite deserving of the high praise it's been getting and still can't top their earlier work (though it's not too far behind).

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
September 16th 2011


22024 Comments


EP is meh. a few pretty sweet bits but mostly bored me

Digging: Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2

botb
September 21st 2011


9722 Comments


nah this rules

sixthgoldenticket
October 13th 2011


1176 Comments


so excited for next month when the whole album drops



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