Out of the many topics I speak about over and over on this site, the power of metal is one that gets pretty regular representation. There’s no secret to the fact that this music can be empowering and make you feel bigger and stronger than you are, though the assertion that it’s time to grab a sword and head into town on a rampage always is meant tongue in cheek. Also, I’m terrible with a sword.
But that power you feel inside is legit, and it can happen for many reasons. I always get a charge from bands who perfectly encapsulate the time in which I first discovered metal and let it take over my bloodstream. I remember my formative years listening to Helloween, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Mercyful Fate (all of which were sources of amazing guilt brought on by my Catholic education, funny enough) and realizing this stuff took me somewhere. This dork loser with a handful of friends of the target of plenty of jeers had a place to feel safe and alive. This is all a very melodramatic way for me to introduce Encyrcle and their stunning self-titled debut record that should make you feel that raw, primal power of heavy metal. Genre tags and trends and all of that don’t matter at all hearing this Danish band speed through this 11-track collection that brings to mind all of those aforementioned groups. They also can help you bask in the power of their sound, which, yeah, can make you feel like taking up arms and fighting the good fight for metal. Just be careful with that sword and all.
Encyrcle have been mounting their assault ever since forming in 2012, with this record being the first entry on their resume. The group—vocalist N Hydra, guitarists S. Rose and S. Klem, bassist R Koldby, drummer A Edalis—has a rawness and energy that’s infectious, and despite debuting three decades after many of their perceived influences first made their marks, they present and honest, true sound that is raucous, a ton of fun to absorb, and should have you basking in the glory of metal’s old gods.
“Chronoboros” leads you into the chaos, a fiery, yet calculated intro track that bleeds right toward “To the End,” a powerful, rampaging cut that sets the tone early. There are epic, thrash-style vocals, with Hydra reaching higher registers (which he is wont to do) and the rest of the band mashing you with riffs and adventure. “Evoke the Night” is chock full of empowerment and we-fight-together sentiment, with punchy tempos, glorious guitar work, and crunchy thrash, with Hydra urging, “Leave your masquerade behind.” “Bloodbasker” is a total killer, and it should be a great live staple for the band. The track is drenched in speed, the vocals reach high and wail, and the chorus is rousing, with gang vocals you’ll be dying to shout back. Awesome, classic-style anthem. “En Trance” is a moody, burning interlude cut that flows right into “Dizzy Me Deadly,” a track built on fast-moving clobbering, great power, and a simple, memorable chorus. The track really erupts, though, when Hydra howls, “No survival! Go!” right as a fire-breathing guitar solo rips out and scorches.
“Serpent’s Dream” is a mystical but powerful instrumental, mixing in classical elements with their overall metallic haze, and it feels like something inspired by Savatage. Then shit blows up again on “Deathlust,” a track that gallops hard, recalling Helloween during its “Walls of Jericho” phase, and it storms heavily during its run. “Facelasher” brings even more crunch to the picture, with the band piling up killer melodies, and Hydra demanding, “Turn this night into terror,” as the cut surges even more aggressively and opens up new avenues to get wholly decimated. “Black Dust” is the longest cut at 8:16, with the band taking its time to set the mood and letting the atmosphere expand. But then it’s off to the races, with speedy bashing and vocals in colorful storyteller mode. The band chugs along, creating serious smoke in the song’s first half, though in the final few minutes they stretch out their playing and take their time to spark some different shades of color and go out on a reflective note. But closer “Obliteration Eyes” brings demolition back to the forefront, with the drums crushed (reminds a bit of the intro to “Painkiller”), howls unleashed, and the band taking off. Lower singing mixes with siren wails, another strong, sticky chorus establishes itself, and the band goes out all guns blazing, leaving you high from your journey.
Encyrcle’s speed-driven, powerful sound is a real treat, and their self-titled opus takes me back to when metal first bore its way into my heart. It’s a fun listen, an engaging collection of songs, and a call to arms (even if only metaphorically speaking) that should rekindle your initial feelings for this type of music and make you want to ride this fiery chariot all the way to the gates of end time.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/encyrcle
To buy the album, go here: http://www.unspeakableaxerecords.com/purchase/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.unspeakableaxerecords.com/