Arctic Circle - Forcing the Astral
Profound Lore Records
Blackened Thrash
11 songs (28'26")
Release year: 2006
Profound Lore Records
Reviewed by Alex

A quick story unrelated to music. Our babysitter back in a day, who used to be from Canada, once showed up in her friend’s car bearing Alberta license plates. From under the hood she had hanging an electrical plug, no less. When asked why such device is necessary on a car, she quipped that while parked outdoors in the Alberta winter, the car might need the extra juice to get started, so the plug will have a mating outlet provided straight on the public parking lot. It is cold out there, folks. Manitoba is, perhaps, even worse in terms of climate pleasantries, so calling the band Arctic Circle fits right for this Canadian trio from this frigid Canadian province, at least in the winter.

Forcing the Astral, the band’s full-length on Profound Lore Records, delivers a blast of the black/thrash metal underground style. Not a chaotic and icy Norse affair, you can also forget about polished production and triggered metronome locked drums of the recent Swedo-Norwegian scene. Forcing the Astral sounds throwback and so authentic as if it was recorded all in one take in some half-warmed smoke filled bar in Winnipeg. Dripping with dirty and grimy energy, cantankerous vocals and empty can snare drums – such music does not require a perfect recording studio. Instead, it requires a bucketful of arrogance and that quality Arctic Circle has in surplus.

A thrash band at the core, Arctic Circle can go into a headbanging groove one moment (Wandering Killside Vapour), be nutty and nasty at the same time blasting their way through(Aurora Furnace, Bloodrush), but all of a sudden get serious and atmospheric in an instant (Mirror out the Window). Arctic Circle atmospherics, however, never lose their rough edges, the band combining the spiritual and carousing all in one song (Pull the Knife Outta Me). The songs are being banged out like the freshly poured bullets, a little fuzzy around the contours, but no less steely and deadly. Mostly up tempo thrashy rhythms find room for quirkiness (Storm of Sand) and crazy solos to top it all off (Man Must Know). Amidst this crusty muck, the band finds room for a couple of short introspective instrumentals, but most unusual is a funeral doom beginning of Horrible, Impossible. It is too bad the band finds it necessary to take off midway thus somewhat trivializing the mood.

Forcing the Astral is one unpretentious album that almost flaunts its rawness in the face of the listener. Dedicated to late Piggy, the album does have similarities with the early less popular and less known Voivod albums, but I happen to liken it even more to Celtic Frost, especially because of the aforementioned arrogance the Swiss masters were so full of.

Killing Songs :
Man Must Know, Pull the Knife Outta Me, Horrible Impossible, Wandering Killside Vapour
Alex quoted 74 / 100
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There are 1 replies to this review. Last one on Mon May 22, 2006 7:42 am
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