Mammothfest in Brighton this year threw up a plethora of local talent that opened my owl eyes wide on first listen, so much so, that you may find a few Spotlight recommendations stemming from this two-day UK event.
The first of which, are Stone Circle on what appears to be their tenth anniversary as a band. How the hell have I not heard these before?! Either they’ve been playing one gig a year, in their bedroom, invite-only, or Brighton promoters need to clean their bloody ears out.
Boasting references including metal and prog illuminati Morbid Angel, Opeth, Gojira, Porcupine Tree, Katatonia and Sikth, means had I seen a flyer advertising them, I’d have been all over it like a white man on chips, staring aggressively and awaiting the usual crushing blow to my psyche when yet again, a delivery on such promises leaves me looking like I had been forced to clean public toilets at Download.
A Progressive death band really, REALLY needs to do the Adam Ant (Stand and Deliver, and what?) for my very particularly picky Prog Death loving ears to melt and cause my inner lions to roar, and by golly, Stone Circle really delivered, and not only that, they did it with all the flair, technicality and precision of their revered peers.
The Progressive Brighton quartet have a huge death metal wallop, combining deep growls with mid range cleans and the odd harmonic pinch and feedback delay thrown in between the battery of expertly crafted riffs and distinctively written melodies of the frequent refrains.
The main selling points to your ears is headbanging and grimacing, the third main selling point is originality. Yes, the influences are clear – as with all Prog bands – however, the tracks have a life of their own and meander seamlessly into a variety of territories yet remain that all important word – purposeful.
Emerging Prog often becomes a fret wanking noodle of a mess, not so with Stone Circle. Yes you get the Meshuggah stylings of dissonance, however it’s tempered with what The ‘Shug sometimes lack, listenability for long periods of time without sacrificing the brutality of death metal delivery.
You’ll also find stoner style riffs morphing into Gojira-esque blasts. And bass groove to help you do the overbite. So yeah, maybe you’re beginning to understand why I think you should really listen.
Plus, they put on a helluva live show to boot. Clearly very comfortable with each other on stage after a ten-year alliance. What is not to like!?
The band’s second album which follows “Myth” their debut full length in 2010 is due to drop at some point – hopefully – in 2014, and even possibly will reach you for free.
If you don’t keep an eye on this band whilst they are still playing intimate venues, you’ll kick yourself when in fifteen years, they are playing alongside their aforementioned peers and you only get to experience them from 100 rows back, watching them on a big screen. Like ants on a pixellated scone.
Don’t let that happen.
|Members||Joe Ashwin – Lead Guitar and Vocals
James Pearce – Bass Guitar
Sam Hill – Drums/Percussion
Tom Skelton – Harmony Guitars