Circa Survive
Descensus


4.5
superb

Review

by Dillon T. USER (9 Reviews)
November 21st, 2014 | 218 replies


Release Date: 2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A fantastic effort by Circa Survive that epitomizes the strengths of the band and blends together the very best of their past.

Circa Survive are back for their fifth LP 'Descensus'. It's been two years since they released the self published 'Violent Waves' and the band has decided to go with a new label this time around. Circa has become a relatively divisive group among fans. Some enjoy their first two releases and feel that their newer material isn't up to par. Others believe that their last few records have had a more refined and enjoyable sound. If you want some free entertainment, all you need to do is grab a bag of popcorn and ask a group of Circa fans what their favorite album is. Personally, I've always found it hard to grasp how anyone could adore one Circa album and vehemently despise another. With all of this in mind, how does 'Descensus' fare?

Pretty damn well.

The album begins with the single "Schema" and it's not hard to hear why. It's difficult not to get pumped up to the vicious guitars, furious drums, and wailing vocals. Anthony Green has described this as their heaviest release yet and "Schema" gives us little reason to doubt him. It's a fantastic opener with a roaring chorus and a breakdown reminiscent of their early years. While the rest of the album doesn't quite keep up this frantic tone consistently, there is plenty of intensity to be found throughout. Songs like "Always Begin" and "Quiet Down" serve not only as the other heavy hitting tracks here, but also as wonderful callbacks to 'On Letting Go'. The guitars sway and swing in ways that only Circa can deliver and Anthony's vocals guide them beautifully.

Then there are tracks like "Phantom" and "Nesting Dolls" that serve as breaks in between the madness. They're both mellow and experimental in the best of ways. "Phantom" in particular is unlike anything Circa has done before and it's a fantastic triumph on all fronts. This is some of the best vocal work Anthony Green has ever produced on a technical level. His lyrics aren't as direct as they have been in recent years, nor are they as cryptic as they have been in the past. This will be judged differently from person to person. The passion in his delivery however, has never been better. "Only the Sun" and "Child of the Desert" are prime examples of this and of the entire group's growth in general. These are two of the best tracks this band has ever come up with. The former having an incredibly captivating tone and the latter seeping into your mind and lodging itself there for days.

The flaws found on "Descensus" are more akin to slight disappointments. "Who Will Lie With Me Now" is nothing more than a short but sweet interlude. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but this is already the smallest tracklist of any Circa LP with only ten songs. It would have been nice to have another song in it's place or perhaps in addition to it. This is slightly alleviated by the fact that the rest of the tracks found here are quite meaty with no wasted space. The other disappointing facet of this record comes in the form of the title track 'Descensus'. This is actually a great track on its own and a departure from the expected, but it doesn't quite compare to the closing tracks of Circa's past like 'Dyed in the Wool' or 'I'll Find a Way'.

Still, it's impressive how Circa manages to blend both the variety and consistency of all their past works on this one release. It's a happy middle ground that perfectly demonstrates the strengths of this group. Whether you'd consider that a return to form or just another addition to an already amazing discography is up to you.

4.5/5

Recommended Tracks:
- "Always Begin"
- "Child of the Desert"
- "Only the Sun"
- "Phantom"



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Descensus showcases Anthony Green at the top of his game and also proves to be some of the band's be...

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An undeniably beautiful but ultimately unsatisfying and empty mess of an album....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
LightChaotic
November 21st 2014


197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well the album has been released in full on the Sumerian Records YouTube channel. Excited to see what people think of this one. Always interested in feedback on the review itself. I tried to move away from the track by track method of writing so I hope that's a change for the better.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
November 21st 2014


24898 Comments


If you want some free entertainment, all you need to do is grab a bag of popcorn and ask a group of Circa fans what their favorite album is.


pos'd. about halfway through the album now but not getting as many blue sky noise vibes as i was hoping for :/

Digging: Together to the Stars - An Oblivion Above

GreyShadow
November 21st 2014


3366 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think the title track is far better than "I'll Find A Way". One of my songs of the year. Still, it's let down by the best moments of it being short lived.

GreyShadow
November 21st 2014


3366 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Overall I think the album does a lot of things right. Like "Nesting Dolls" is what songs like "Think of Me When They Sound" or "Brother Song" should have been. Also, it's hard not to appreciate the experimentation.

But on the other hand, the majority of choruses on this album just don't have the same impact as one's on BSN or Violent Waves to an extent.

Still, I definitely am loving the album and can see it growing even more on me.

LightChaotic
November 21st 2014


197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I can see where you're coming from Grey. Though I do think there are some amazing choruses here on songs like "Only the Sun", "Phantom", and "Child of the Desert". I also feel like this is some of the best stuff they've put out when it comes to their bridges, breakdowns, etc. so maybe by comparison the choruses seem a little lacking?

Atari
Staff Reviewer
November 21st 2014


24898 Comments


opening track kicks ass. i probably like this more than their last album

Mongi123
November 21st 2014


20548 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sooooo stream? Where it at?



Oh nevermind haha excuse my stupidity.

KevinBaecon
November 21st 2014


263 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

alot of this album is really bad

Mongi123
November 21st 2014


20548 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The opener is pretty sick yea. The video is so fucking weird though lol

VaxXi
November 21st 2014


4413 Comments


This is a very meh album :/

Mongi123
November 21st 2014


20548 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like this and it's heavier than usual. Some of the song lengths are longer than usual so I hope their lengths are warranted.

Taxt
November 21st 2014


1356 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Child of the Desert is the standout for me, but the whole album is pretty solid.

amanwithahammer
November 21st 2014


585 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh hell yeah this is out, will get it later

jimmykidd
November 22nd 2014


640 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

im trying so hard to like this. hopefully it grows on me. 'who will lie with me now' just irritates me. 54 seconds of meh. would have been excusable if it was a little outro on the end of a track, but a whole song? cop out.

loveisamixtape
November 22nd 2014


7773 Comments


really likin this so far

loveisamixtape
November 22nd 2014


7773 Comments


nesting dolls starts off so meh but gets so good and just keeps going

Atari
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2014


24898 Comments


the music video for that opening track really is a trip lol

KevinBaecon
November 22nd 2014


263 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

hopefully theres new reviews up by tomorrow

loveisamixtape
November 22nd 2014


7773 Comments


this gets better every time

album literally sounds like the album cover

StKiyo
November 22nd 2014


384 Comments


Sounds pretty cool, but I can't stand the vocals.



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