Dark Circles is a Blackened Crust band from Montreal, Canada. On their 2014 album, the band plays, as one would expect, a mix of Crust Punk and Black Metal. The sound is dark and raw, which allows the band to fill the record with a feeling of despair and anguish. The album consists of 9 tracks, but is quite brief, clocking in at just 25:46.
Taking a closer look at the musical composition of the album, the band maintains a high tempo throughout all of the songs except the Dark Ambient Interlude and the ending of the last track, The Coldest Year. The album is full of excellent guitar work and the musicians do well to alternate Punk and Black Metal riffs in different parts of the songs. Honestly, this album seems like a perfect balance between the two. The drums typically utilize d-beat to set the rhythm; there is just something about combining this drumming technique with the Black Metal riffs that makes the music sound energetic, yet mournful. The vocals are generally growled, as you would expect on a Crust record.
Overall this is a really good album, but not perfect. There are 5 songs that are around 2 minutes long or even shorter. These shorter songs simply race past the listener without making any lasting impression. This is a shame because every single song has interesting ideas, but they are all left in a half-developed state. The result is that few of the songs on this album work on their own and the listener must commit to the whole record to get the most out of it. With a bit more work, this album could have become an essential release on the Blackened Crust scene, but it will just have to remain a strong effort from a talented band.
In the end, this album is well worth the little time it takes to get through it. When I first heard it in October of 2015, it made a really good impression and will likely remain one of my favourite albums for the next while. The band has since released a split CD with Abstracter and it’s quite good. I am really hoping for a new full-length record that would sport more mature song writing while maintaining the same energy and dark atmosphere.