Divine Circles - Oblivion Songs
Paradigms Recordings
String based atmospheric Americana
5 songs (26'01")
Release year: 2014
Paradigms Recordings
Reviewed by Alex

Divine Circles, a solo venture by USX violinist Meghan Mulhearn, is probably as far away from metal as it is from any easily described genre. This is a fact at least on a five-song long release Oblivion Songs, as far as I can hear it. Taking her main instrument and bending it in many different ways, adding her simple vocals, tribal percussion and electronic effects, Meghan creates five diverse snapshot soundscapes. Connected little between themselves in a way of a common sound approach, all five tracks showcase a certain Appalachian folky motif, suitable to Americana music promoted recently by such labels as Pesanta Urfolk.

From there every composition on Oblivion Songs takes its own route to reach the goal. Leave creates a tangle of layered strings, which, when coupled with the voice, creates a silly image in my head of a long-haired maiden wallowing in some distant meadow, wasps and bees buzzing overhead. Midwest takes that handbeating percussion as foundation and weaves in the strings and forefront vocals, the whole composition so fresh and produced so vividly you will have a feeling it is being played in your living room on a freshly erected stage. Ingenue is a super-slowed string based waltz, if you carefully listen to the 1-2-3 rhythm.

I am not going to sugarcoat everything and will say that in spots Oblivion Songs got too static for me. Taking a single snapshot per song makes some of the compositions themselves one-note, not progressing enough (The Prayer and Ingenue, to some degree). In that light the closer Hymn, with its pronounced electronics, growing bass levels and something like a xylophone dropping notes as cold water droplets, is the most advanced full-fledged composition. Instead of a static snapshot, Hymn is a multiple level collage, approaching one of my favorite artists Katai Tamas. Hymn and Midwest were certainly my favorite tracks on the album, the latter unbeatable with its gentle touch and beauty.

Metal fans would have to chalk one up to openmindedness if they will pick a copy of Oblivion Songs, but if the softer interludes of Agalloch and Wolves in the Throne Room appealed to you in the past, then Divine Circles is certainly a worthy listen.

Killing Songs :
Midwest, Hymn
Alex quoted 70 / 100
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