Alarum are without a doubt the pinnacle of Australian prog-fusion metal bands. They have been around for over 20 years now, done pretty much everything you would want to tick off on your band checklist, and continue to release incredible album after incredible album. Circle’s End is far from an exception to their historical output, in fact it may be their finest moment yet.
I will try to keep this as short as possible and avoid going into too much detail, but I can simply say that if you’re a fan of diverse styles of metal then this album will certainly feature in your top releases of 2020, and being only in June I can confidently put this statement to print. Everything one would expect from Alarum is ever present throughout the 10 tracks that make up Circle’s End. We are treated to some of the most beautiful guitar tones and playing that you will hear this year without doubt. The way these guys put forward such technical proficiency without boggling the mind to the point of confusion is completely masterful, and the rhythm section is testimony to this in every song.
It is worth noting as well that Mark Palfreyman’s voice has been honed to perfection over the last several years since they released Natural Causes back in 2011. His cleaner singing parts seem to be more fluidly meshed to the style of the unclean vocal sections, allowing seamless transitions between the two styles.
Favourite moments for me on this album would be the heavier ‘War of Nerves’ and the outro the final track Sojourn, which has some fantastic expressive and what could only be assumed as improvised guitar noodling to remind us of the high level of musicality on display.
This will be one of my favourite albums of the year I would imagine. Check in again in December.
Dinner For Wolves
Reviewed by Chris McEwin