Darkness Everywhere
The Seventh Circle EP

While newer bands like Countless Skies or Hinayana have given Melodic Death Metal a somewhat renewed amount of energy and attention, for the most part it takes a release from the genre’s seasoned veterans to gain any kind of real hype ahead of its release. We’re talking, of course, the likes of At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity, Insomnium – the arguable masters of the sound that countless bands have derived their work from. So when a brand new band celebrating the sounds of 90s Swedish Melodeath hits the scene and is already getting the kind of attention that Oakland-based Darkness Everywhere are getting, it makes you take notice.

Of course, it helps when the band is essentially a sort of mini-supergroup featuring members of some of America’s finest examples in the genre. Ben Murray (Light This City, Heartsounds, No Chemistry) is here holding down vocal, guitar and drumming duties, along with lead guitarist Cameron Stucky of the excellent Crepuscle, and renowned producer/engineer Zack Ohren on bass, whose endless list of production credits include the likes of All Shall Perish, Machine Head, Carnifex and a murderer’s row of other iconic bands/albums. That’s a lot of quality work racked up by even just the three of them! So sure, it’s probably safe to assume this ain’t gonna suck.

It’s probably somewhat safe to assume what this is kinda gonna sound like as well, and The Seventh Circle wastes absolutely none of your time to prove your assumptions correct. Specifically, you can certainly hear a whole lot of Light This City wrapped up in here, albeit delivered in an even more direct, distilled form. A glance at the track list reveals a total run time you’d expect more from a punk or hardcore record, with only a pair of tracks exceeding the 3-minute mark. Listening to the main riffs on “Reign of Chaos,” and most certainly on the opening guitar harmonies of “Survival of the Sun” (featuring a guest appearance from LTC’s Laura Nichol, no less) it really is almost like listening to Terminal Bloom or Stormchaser on 4x speed. But the brevity of the tracks also lends itself to adding an extra sense of urgency and energy to Darkness Everywhere’s attack, bringing Darkest Hour’s brand of MeloCore (yes I believe such a middle ground exists) directly to mind. Darkest Hour’s John Henry even manages to lend his distinct vocals to “The Grand Impact,” a move about as on-the-nose for this project as I can imagine.

Of course, with Ben Murray handling a good chunk of the duties on The Seventh Circle, it’s probably not much of a shock to anyone how familiar this all sounds. And let’s be clear: this is not a bad thing. At all. The Seventh Circle is exactly what you wanted to be, delivered with laser-like focus. The blistering gallop riffs and layered melodies of “Lost Dimension” may not be the most original thing you’ll hear this year, but it hits with the same kind of balanced satisfaction you’ve gotten from this genre for years. And with the future of Light This City seeming somewhat in flux, knowing that I can scratch a similar itch with Darkness Everywhere is a welcome development. That said, it’s always tough to know what the future holds for a project like this, given all the band’s other responsibilities. Whatever the future holds, this is a super-solid start from these dudes, and can’t wait to see where they’re able to take the band from here. Whatever your position on Melodeath is in 2022, I suggest you give The Seventh Circle the chance it deserves. It’s not like it’s gonna waste a whole lot of your time.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
March 4th, 2022

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