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Well it's been a while since I made a review for my series of Portuguese metal albums. I know I promised to keep it a little longer in the northern shores of my sunny country, but alas I have to make a quick jump to the deep south. Talk about sunny, this is where the yellow and brown plains of cereal paint the landscapes that takes hours to cross, and where houses are scarce and abroad. This might well be the perfect opposite to the icy and grim Norwegian plains.
Still the vast wasteland rules alone and this is the perfect scenario for another great doom band to emerge. We have a lot of doom bands here in Portugal and as a friend of mine says "Portuguese bands have that kind of emotion that they put into doom songs, that extra something". I guess that we always had a tradition of being sorrowful, so much that we even developed our own special word which hasn't got a translation in any other language. It’s "saudade", a word which means to long for, to hope for, to miss something or someone. Alas we are a sorrowful country.
It's in this vast, and no less grim, wasteland that Process Of Guilt emerge and although I love their two full-lenghts I chose to start by reviewing this remix album because it's a recent one for me. I bought it directly from the band and nothing's better than a 300 copy only edition that is as cool as this one. The slipcase is really nice and the artwork is amazing. The cd and packaging both encompass the concept perfectly. So what's The Circle all about? They took out the final track of their last album, one that already felt a bit alien on it, and twisted it beyond recognition with the help of some friends and people from the music world.
The first track is a remastered version of the song, done by the band itself, in all accounts similar to the one found in Erosion. Little or no differences are to be found except for the mastering. From there you go on a ride through the blue summer sky that later on plunges into a dark abyss! Part II done by Sanford Parker already shows the vastness that this single song has, providing for a more atmospheric and laid back approach, with the keyboards soothing the passage of time. Part III by Echoes Of Yul is one of the best versions, carrying vocal samples as if it was preaching to you and making you go on and check if it's really only one song present here. This is the best part here and it closes brilliantly with the next one (IV) done by DJ Mofo, known for his work with industrial project Bizarra Locomotiva, and what a wonder it is. It's easy to lose track of yourself while listening to this album, and when it reaches this far that single song has been deconstructed to a point of no return. So much that the next part (V) is a pure ambient piece, brought by drone/ambient project Bosque, where you can almost listen to the birds chip and imagine yourself walking through the southern landscape during the dusk hours, roaming endlessly.
And then suddenly...night falls down on you, you're lost in the middle of the woods and there's nothing but an abandoned house on sight. You enter it and suddenly you realize that your journey is over as the teetering shadows come closer and closer, with the sound of screeching nails over slate making your weary heart faint with fear. You fall down into bleak silence and suddenly all is complete. The deconstruction is over and you witnessed how something so beautiful and majestic can suddenly and rapidly turn into a soaring nightmare. A drone piece, courtesy of Sons Of Bronson.
This is an unusual album, with only one song being remixed by six different artists, and showing the amount of quality songwriting that POG possess. When a 5 minute song can be treated like this and give rise to one of the most pleasant surprises I had this year, I can certainly say that the future is there for the taking and that I expect nothing but the perfect album in the future. Expectations are really high at this point and I'm sure they won't disappoint.
Stay tuned for more Portuguese metal in the near future. In the meantime enjoy The Circle.