Review Summary: Masters of apocalyptic punk return after the end of the world with a vengeance
Well, it’s here. After eight long years, Circle Takes the Square have finally unleashed their sophomore tour de force on the world, gaining the much-coveted title of Second Longest Anticipated Album of Twenty-Twelve (Wintersun’s Time is our obvious overall victor). Now, attempting to directly address the music is, as you probably know if you have actually listened to it, a futile endeavour; it has been specifically written in order to be as obscure, coded, convoluted and generally unlistenable as possible, so writing a review to explain it would be akin to slapping the band right in the face (and although reading Speziale’s smug, oh-so-eloquent lyrics makes this seem tempting, I am a loyal fanboy through and through, so I will refrain from writing such a rude passage). Instead, I will tackle a much more important issue; that of the first impression.
The artwork is, as ever, excellent – and let’s be honest, about half the band’s fans are only onboard because of the artwork; given the choice between staring at deep, meaningful images and listening to music that does its absolute best to simulate what would happen if an earthquake was combined with a swarm of hornets that had been combined with an deleted scenes video from an extreme adult film, who wouldn't take the first option in order to be able to associate themselves with the honoured kings and queen of the hyperbole mound? Although the red crescent on the left seems a little naff amidst Speziale’s customary detail (maybe it would have been better if they had taken another year off to work in it), the rest is nice and the inclusion of antlers is always worth respect.
The music is completely impossible to describe unless you look at it this way; think of As the Roots Undo as a young orchard, newly planted and full of virgin trees, chaste blossoms and trippy raccoons that ran around the roots all day long. Now, imagine that this orchard was left alone for a century or two (funny, huh) and that the trees grew really tall but became twisted and dark, blocking out all the light below and giving a generally hostile, alien impression to anyone that happened to pass by. The flowers wither, die and decompose, and the raccoons either lose the will to live and leap from the highest branches of the trees and die or suddenly become ravenously hungry and eat each other, until eventually only one raccoon is left, which becomes known as the Illustrious Epoch of Enlightened Might and lives in an enlarged rabbit hole, where it is attended day and night by a troupe of badger table-dancers. This is the world of Decompositions Volume One, and although it’s weird as ****, it’s a good place to crash when you’re feeling down.