Circa Survive
The Amulet


4.1
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
September 25th, 2017 | 145 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A tightly woven, thoroughly gripping experience that continues to reveal its depth with each successive listen.

The Amulet is the kind of release that’s capable of capturing a new audience. I would know, because this is my first legitimate experience with Circa Survive after years of sample-listening and vague intrigue that never culminated in a full, proper listen. There are plenty of reasons for that, and I’m entirely to blame, but there’s still something about this album – perhaps its overwhelming maturity and beautiful cohesiveness – that seems to elevate the entire band to a new level worth investigating. As a new listener, it is admittedly impossible for me to make any sort of summative declaration about The Amulet with regards to Circa Survive’s discography, but I can tell you this much: it’s a damn good record, and it’s well worth your time regardless of your previous familiarity with the band.

Swirling within the confines of these ten songs are some of the strongest alt-rock moments of the year. Passion emanates from every corner of this album, and there’s a nice blend of immediacy– like the screamed vocals ‘Never Tell a Soul’ culminates in – and more subtle layers that take a few listens to unravel, such as the delicate balance between the driving percussion and resplendent guitars that sprawl across the six minute run time of ‘At Night It Gets Worse.’ Throughout The Amulet, a unifying ambiance is created from these intricate guitar/drum interlays, a strength that is only bolstered by the record’s pristine production and Anthony Green’s ever-fervent vocal/lyrical delivery. It’s the feat of a band rolling on all cylinders, delivering from every angle as they craft a layered experience that’s truly worth sinking your time and imagination into.

Despite the record’s remarkable consistency across the board, there are still two tracks that seem to rise above the rest. ‘Premonition of the Hex’ stands out as the first highlight, with an ominous and forlorn melody that sets a tone for The Amulet's mysterious atmosphere. In what might be Green’s best performance on the album, he also offers a chilling omen: ”be careful of what you desire (the thorn in your paw), you can't predict what's coming.” The way the band follows through lyrically on the closer/title track ‘The Amulet’ represents yet another sign of maturity, as well as the record’s other towering moment: a dire realization that brings the aforementioned premonition full circle. Scored by a heavy rock outro, Anthony Green desperately wails “you wanted it so bad, that you didn’t see how fucked it was.” There’s plenty of themes running throughout The Amulet’s lyrical pages and enough ambiguity to afford listeners the opportunity to fill in the blanks – another distinct draw-in for a record that is already such an immersive listen. If ‘Premonition of the Hex’ sets the tone, then ‘The Amulet’ marks an incredibly fulfilling resolution; one that will likely make you want to spin the entire thing again from the beginning.

The Amulet won’t necessarily bring instant gratification to all of its listeners, and it’s difficult to assess how it will be perceived by dedicated Circa followers. However, it is certainly one of the most well-composed alt-rock/post-hardcore albums of the year, and it seems to bring a newfound sense of maturity to both the songwriting and production aspects of the group’s sound. The end result is a tightly woven, thoroughly gripping experience that continues to reveal its depth with each successive listen. Whether or not that catches you off-guard most likely hinges on your level of experience with the band. For me, it’s one hell of a pleasant surprise.



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user ratings (232)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
LightChaotic (4.5)
A beautiful and cohesive experience that is constantly driving forward....

Abscurat (3.5)
Oh Anthony, you will never disappoint me, right?...



Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
September 25th 2017


25173 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

My newest obsession. Now I gotta go and listen to every single album by these guys, fuck.

Digging: Belle and Sebastian - How To Solve Our Human Problems Pt. 1

Aberf
September 25th 2017


1617 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh well, I think you might want some guide for these guys.



Blue Sky Noise > Juturna = This > Letting Go > Descensus > Violent Waves.



I guess the most solid one as a whole album is BSN. Honestly, the strong points in Juturna & On Letting Go are better than the highlights at BSN. Imo, 'Stop The Fucking Car' is still the best Circa's song period.

Digging: Life on Venus - Encounters

SnakeDelilah
September 25th 2017


20010 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i kinda disagree i thought BSN had stronger points with individual songs, the first three songs off BSN is easily the best stretch of this band's career

Digging: Glassjaw - Material Control

Toondude10
September 25th 2017


11741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good music, good review



also, this isn't the flagged review

Digging: Machine Head - The Blackening

GreyShadow
September 25th 2017


1937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the easiest thing is to probably just go in order for these guys or just go BSN first and then go in order cause you just need to hear all of BSN. I can see you taking a liking to On Letting Go also.

Digging: Icarus the Owl - Rearm Circuits

coldheaven
September 25th 2017


523 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I look at Circa Survive with Juturna-Colored-Glasses

Digging: Hundredth - Rare

Winsomniac
September 25th 2017


8482 Comments


Great review Sowing!

This album didn't really hit me the way I expected it to, but that's alright. The singles got me very excited, but I felt like it dragged a lot of the color-by-numbers listlessness that the latest Saosin had too in the middle.

Maybe it'll grow on me :D

coldheaven
September 25th 2017


523 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I'll totally agree Sowing, "Premonition Of The Hex" and "The Amulet" are the albums strongest songs, by farrrrrr.

TundraL5Z
September 25th 2017


499 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Freaking love this album, the combination between the beautiful instrumentation and vocal, like silk over fine linen, is frickin heaven

Digging: The Dear Hunter - All Is As All Should Be

3waycrash
September 25th 2017


191 Comments


Nice to see you give this some love, Sowing! I fell off from listening to these guys after Blue Sky Noise, which I still find to be my favorite from them, but with this new album I've been getting back into them. Really great stuff!

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 25th 2017


25173 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

I've actually heard (all of? ) Blue Sky Noise but it was back when Chan reviewed it however many years ago that was, I think I rated it but probably didn't actually give it any time to sink in or anything. But to be honest if I'm going to bother with the whole discography I might as well start at the beginning. Should make for a good way to pass those slow weeks at the end of the year.

rufinthefury
September 25th 2017


2954 Comments


solid album all the way through. glad it's only 10 songs too.

dmp3131
September 25th 2017


1213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I listened to all of their albums in order today at work (besides Violent Waves, even though it's my favorite album cover I'm not that into it). But yeah it was a good time. Hard to rank them though, super consistent group.



Nice review btw! Glad you're getting into this band.

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 25th 2017


25173 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

I love the covers of every single album. If I decide to actually buy them and not just stream Spotify or whatever I'm definitely ordering the physical CDs.

c0ffee
September 25th 2017


297 Comments


I'm pretty sure all/most are painted by the same artist--Esao Andrews.

LoLifant
September 25th 2017


1269 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm alone with this opinion but Juturna is their worst.

Taxt
September 25th 2017


1060 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

God, Blue Sky Noise is so overrated.

(Great review by the way. This is in my top 5 this year, no doubt)

Wructy
September 25th 2017


8 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Violent Waves is my favorite so maybe take everything I say with a grain of salt. But I'm not a Descensus fan at all and expected this to be a continuation of Descensus at first and I'll be damned if this isn't one of my favorites of theirs already.

Evokaphile
September 25th 2017


6516 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sweet review. I took a cursory listen of this and really enjoyed what i heard

Digging: Less Art - Strangled Light

bananatossing
September 25th 2017


481 Comments


Sounds like Violent Waves but with better production. Really digging this so far



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