Henry Kane
Circle of Pain

Henry Kane (AKA Jonny Petterson from Wombbath) has released two fine grindcore/crust albums under this Poltergeist-named project; 2017s Den förstörda människans rike, and 2020s appropriately named Age of the Idiot. Both delivering furious, Nasum-ish-styled Swedish grind/crust.

However, his third release is a completely different beast altogether. and you should probably brace for it a little bit. Isn’t that what reviews are for? Good. I feel validated now.

I knew this was going to be different when 5 and a half minute opener “Swarm of Idiots” kickstarted the album with orchestral/choral elements over the less Swedish, cleaner guitars, and then a Vallendusk-like atmospheric/melodic black metal chord progression shortly after.  Yep- Henry Kane is a different monster now.

To say Circle of Pain is a full-on atmospheric black metal release isn’t quite accurate, but boy, does it have a lot of riffs and tremolo-picked, melodic riffs. But even with some d-beat/crust power chords, boy it’s really fucking close. But for someone like me- that makes it a killer fucking release that really surprised me.

The epic keyboards again upon the second track “Fear is Rising”, (clocking in at nearly 7 minutes) and again more tremolo-picked searing melodies, that would be at home on a Downfall of Gaia album.

Witha curt title and at 3:50, I fully expected “Numb” to be a return to the grind/crust sound, and it sort of is riff-wise, but imagine if Nasum had epic black metal synths. And yes it does kick all sorts of ass.  The same with the title track, with a pummeling power chord gallop and, yes- even more orchestral elements, it’s the most old-style Henry Kane song on the album but still hits differently.

If the title track is the most ‘older’ Henry Kane-styled song on the album, “Wealth of Obscenity” (along with the penultimate number, “Weird Fiction Founded”) is the least- the riffs could be a Deafheaven song, except for Petterson’s gruff growls and shouts, complete with some female choirs (which show again in the finale “En önskan i mörkret”). Not even kidding.

Circle of Pain was a really pleasant surprise. When I first started listening to the promo I had to make sure it was still the Henry Kane promo, it’s that different at times and I applaud Petterson for making such a bold style shift. For me, it’s definitely for the better.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
June 28th, 2024

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