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Circa Survive – The Amulet

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from chorus.fm for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    By all accounts, Circa Survive shouldn’t be here. The band’s frontman, Anthony Green, sometimes can’t even believe that the band has survived all the demons and turmoil over the course of their career. But Green and his bandmates have continually persevered through it all, alive and thriving with their sixth full-length album (and Hopeless Records debut) The Amulet, the band’s darkest and most personal piece of art yet.

    The hazy opener, “Lustration,” begins with Green’s familiar croon before erupting into an unshakeable groove provided by drummer Steve Clifford. It’s a warning of sorts (“Beneath your finger nails/they’ll find small pieces of stone/you’ll face the sun/cut with the pressure point”) mixed in with Green’s desperate pleas (“I don’t want to be the anchor on your chest“ and “I don’t want to see the moment you forget”). Elsewhere, the album’s ominous vibe penetrates on tracks like “Premonition Of The Hex” and “At Night It Gets Worse,” with the latter being a career highlight. Its glacial pace slowly picks up as the implied dread increases, leaving the listener feeling uneasy. We also get some of Will Yip’s best production work ever – the thrilling guitar riff that kicks off “Stay” is incredibly crisp and Nick Beard’s bass work across the record (especially on the Juturna-esque “Tunnel Vision” ) is thoroughly killer, providing the backbone to the vast majority of The Amulet. Frangicetto and Brendan Ekstrom’s dueling guitar acrobatics are a pleasure as well – “Never Tell A Soul” never lets up the pace as Green tears through the chorus.

    On each of The Amulet’s ten tracks, Green displays perfect precision and control over his vocals, ebbing and flowing within the rest of the band’s masterful compositions. His voice soars on the ripping “Rites of Investiture” and teases on “The Hex” and yet he saves his best for the album’s final two tracks. “Flesh and Bone” is a haunting number that showcases Green’s voice in an intimate setting usually reserved for his solo records. It’s the perfect appetizer for the closer – the album’s title track slowly builds until the frenetic end as Green empties his soul in those final few minutes.

    The Amulet’s artwork (once again done by Esao Andrews) is visually striking – a nude woman carrying a giant seashell across a harsh terrain, trying to preserve something beautiful. The art’s essence is essentially the overlapping theme throughout the album’s ten tracks – shit is always gonna be tough but it’s still worth suffering and fighting for. And there’s a certain resolve to Green’s lyrics on The Amulet as he’s accepting whatever’s dealt him – it’s not complete hopelessness but he doesn’t promise some unrealistic utopia. After a decade-plus of continually searching, Green seems to have found a certain kind of a peace within his life. And with Green operating within that headspace, along with the best performances ever from his bandmates, Circa Survive has released the most immersive and challenging record of their illustrious career. What doesn’t kill you only makes you better – The Amulet is the resounding evidence.

     
  2. bmir14

    Regular Supporter

    Well written review. I can't get into this album at all. Aside from never tell a soul and the end of rites of investiture, i found it extremely bland
     
  3. Helloelloallo

    Regular

    I still have not decided where I would put this album in their discography. I am not even sure I really enjoy it that much. Completely different ends of the spectrum but Never Tell A Soul and Flesh and Bone are the 2 that on every listen I've enjoyed, whereas all the others I'll like one listen, and dislike another.
     
  4. pianostuff

    Newbie

    Pretty sure the stay riff is brendans and not Colin's.
     
  5. Drew Beringer

    @drewberinger Moderator

    You may be right
     
  6. Drew Beringer

    @drewberinger Moderator

    Thanks for reading

    To be fair this album took a lot of listens for me to really get into it and appreciate it. I had the benefit of being able to listen to it repeatedly since July
     
  7. Helloelloallo

    Regular

    Wow, you got a super advanced copy. I am hoping it grows on me. They are my favorite band to the point where my first tattoo 7 years ago was the Juturna album art but this just isn't grabbing me yet. For context of their prior albums, I liked Descensus immediately on 1st listen and disliked and still dislike, most of violent waves. I also really enjoy blue sky noise despite the difference in production and style.
     
  8. BKO5950505

    Regular

    Can't remember the last time I spaced out so much during a first listen as I did with this album.

    Will have to give it another couple of tries.
     
  9. estacey99

    Oh yeah, oh yeah, everything is terrible.

    I love the album a lot; it feels perfect for those late cool fall nights, especially the last 2 tracks
     
  10. defmytones

    Regular

    I've listened to it at least 15-20 times and I just can't find my groove with it. I will say its probably my favorite of theirs since BSN though.
     
  11. skullbird

    Newbie

    Solid album. Some of the songwriting structure was not as free as I would've liked, but almost each song had a distinct feel. Tunnel Vision, The Hex, & Stay will keep me coming back. I think It's my favorite since BSN as well.
     
    defmytones likes this.
  12. mattylikesfilms

    Trusted

    I still don’t get how they release a record as superb as Blue Sky Noise and then release three records in a row that are overall lackluster (in comparison). It’s a legit bummer for me. Just like Violent Waves and Descensus- there’s a few songs I enjoy on Amulet but there’s nothing that wows me personally. Nothing that makes me feel something like BSN and OLG still do. Oh well.
     
    waterloobeam and defmytones like this.
  13. Sybil

    Regular


    Yeah, this whole album just kind of makes me glaze over. For some reason it just feels like auto-pilot Circa to me.
     
  14. chewbacca110

    Trusted

    Great review.

    This is my favorite Circa album, by far. Perfect mix between their poppier song structures with intricacies of what makes Circa “Circa”.
     
  15. Ellite25

    Regular

    What’s weird for me is I enjoy this album a lot and have listened to it a ton, yet I can hardly even pick out individual songs. I can’t really name any of the songs individually because they all blend together to me. The thing is, it’s a very good blend.
     
  16. Sybil

    Regular

    Yeah, I've never had this hard of a time figuring out my opinion of a Circa album before haha.
     
  17. mattylikesfilms

    Trusted

    Exactly.
     
    Sybil likes this.
  18. aoftbsten

    Trusted Supporter

    Great review. The final paragraph hits the nail on the head in summing up the album.
     
  19. efp722

    Regular

    Circa has been a band that I feel like I should love but just never was able to get into. And I think it's Anthony Greens voice. It's like nails on a chalkboard.
     
  20. Sybil

    Regular

    I find the people that often say this(and similar about Julien Baker, Nicole Dollanganger, Thomas Diaz, etc) are usually people who like very straight forward vocals. They generally wouldn't be Bjork fans, let's put it that way haha.
     
  21. Jared Luttrell

    Regular

    This is exactly how I've felt. The last thing they created I really loved and come back to was the Appendage EP after BSN. I haven't checked this album out yet so maybe it'll stick for me, but I can't seem to get into either of their last two albums at all.
     
    mattylikesfilms likes this.
  22. efp722

    Regular

    Hm.. can't tell if that's a jab towards me or not. Fair enough. ALthough, I will say Julien Baker's voice is beautiful; not really sure if I get the comparison
    .
     
  23. Sybil

    Regular

    No jabs, I'm just talking idk haha. Excited for that new Julien!? :D Guess we should stay on-topic though.
     
    efp722 likes this.
  24. SchoolZoneSpeeder

    Newbie

    It took me about 3 listens before it just clicked for me, and I absolutely love the album now.
     
  25. thesollopsist

    Pro Sleeper Prestigious

    Absolutely love this album. They're so back on form with these last 2 now, they actually sound like Circa again.