Album Review: Angist – Circle of Suffering

Angist - Circle of Suffering

Angist [Iceland]
Circle of Suffering
2011/2014 (Reissue)
Hammerheart Records
Death Metal

After the recent encounter with the brilliant Icelandic tech-death band Beneath, here we are with another dosage of Icelandic brutality with Angist‘s debut EP. While originally released independently by the band in 2011, Angist‘s Circle of Suffering gets vinyl treatment this year by Hammerheart Records, adding to the growing repertoire of extremity of Iceland, not exactly a location known for its extreme metal.

Fitting to its climate, Circle of Suffering kicks off with the title track, and one is thrown into a cold, hostile atmosphere before the first riffs of Gyoa and Edda hit the listener, with a lone, distant lead guitar ringing away at the background. Soon enough the band launches into a mid-paced style of death metal, and the suffocating atmosphere that the band has managed to set up, along with the cold soundscape easily brings to mind bands such as Immolation or Blaspherian. The comparison is further reinforced with the heavily trem-picked playing style of Gyoa and Edda, and the tone of the guitars that they have utilised, providing an ominous darkness that looms constantly throughout the release. That doom pace that the band often adopts on Circle of Suffering as well as that melancholic lead guitar works on the album even brings in some early Paradise Lost or My Dying Bride moments.

At the same time, the band makes use of various playing techniques, such as the intentional bending of the notes almost out of tune, as well as the inclusion of abrasive, complex moments to constantly create, and recreate that sense of unease that one feels as the record progresses, and this disturbance sounds like a less complex, less technical Demilich as well.

Included on the reissue of Circle of Suffering is also the band’s 2010 2-track promo release, displaying the evolution in the band’s music over a short year, with the tracks from the promo featuring a sharper, and crisper production quality, as well as a slight Swedish touch, especially on Rotten Mind. Furthermore, Our Ruin is a fast paced, aggressive track that is unlike the later doomish style that the band takes on Circle of Suffering.

With quality releases such as this and Beneath‘s recent full length effort, the Icelandic extreme metal scene is certainly getting more attention that it deserves. While it has been 3 years since Angist‘s last new material, I am certainly paying attention to any news of new releases by the band.

[xrr rating=4/5]

Angist on the internet:
Hammerheart Records

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