If you’ve been out of the loop for the last couple of years, you’ve missed the emergence of the fastest rising and one of the highest quality labels in metal: Unspeakable Axe Records. What makes the label so great is that every single release sounds different. While they primarily deal in old-school metal sounds (speed, thrash, death), no two bands on the roster sound the same. Even better, nearly every band on their roster has something unique about them, even when compared against the rest of the metal world. In this case, it is the Danish speed metal group, Encyrcle. The speed metal formula is largely in place at this point in metal history, but as with most of their labelmates, Encyrcle manages to put their own twist on this style. They primarily do this through a sideways, twisted style of riffing. A great example is the opening of the first full-length track, “To The End”, which has a strange tremolo-picked riff that makes use of some uncommon intervals. This sound is a common theme on the record, as Encyrcle consistently finds ways to surprise the listener with interesting riffs.
Of course, at its core, the primary elements of heavy metal are still here. The riffs hit hard and support the energetic rhythm section. Most of the songs are pretty speedy, though Encyrcle is able to mix up the tempos within the songs to prevent them from becoming one giant blur. Their vocalist is an excellent complement to their sound. He’s more of a singer than a screamer, but he doesn’t utilize an absurdly high range. Instead, he’s like a more subdued version of a more insane singer like John Cyriis. This approach is effective because it allows the guitars to shine a bit more, and given the distinctiveness of the band’s sound, this is a good thing.
One thing about “Encyrcle” that is a little surprising is that the songs haven’t really stuck with me. Despite having given this album numerous listens over the past week, I still couldn’t pick out any of the songs or riffs just by the titles. It’s not so much that the material isn’t good, but more that the song structures and melodies aren’t that conducive to being picked up easily. All of the elements are executed effectively, but it might take a bit longer than normal to be able to sing along to anything on the record. Nevertheless, as with all Unspeakable Axe Records releases, it is an essential purchase!
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All of it
3.8/5 or 76%.
Written by Scott