The Dismal Circle

Taking a break form the recent onslaught of old school and Swedish death metal, Germany’s FDA Records have delved into the death-doom genre with the 4th full length album from Hamburg’s Ophis (“snake”), and it’s as successful and consistent as you’d expect from the label, despite the genre.

The aptly named The Dismal Circle is 6 songs, and over an hour of lengthy, rending, crumbling doom metal that has clear and obvious roots in the likes of early My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost and to these ears, Morgion. There is a little rending and knee wilting riffs like the Finnish scene here, as heard on “Ephemeral” and closer “Shrine of Humiliation”, but largely the tone is more  menacing and foreboding. There are no keys or clean vocals or tear inducing leads, just plodding mountainous lopes  and occasional death metal trundles imbue the likes of Hooded MenaceCofffins or some of Asphyx’s slower rumbles.

It’s a simple but effective sound and delivery, and while nothing jumps out or cries classic song or riff, the entire album is a solid listen with stout crunchy guitars, deep bellows and plenty of dismal riffs. The songs range from 7 to 13 minutes, but none of them drag on too long and have enough variety to keep your attention rather than drone on for 9 minutes with the same riff. This isn’t Bell Witch or Ahab like crawls either, as they add enough death metal heft to keep things from dragging into full on funeral doom.

None of the tracks are true standouts, but all 6 are solid examples of the style with “The Vermin Age” and “Shrine of Humiliation” being favorites. But that said there are better releases out there in the style, and I cant say I’ll be craving The Dismal Circle when I want something doomy, but if you want a no frill no nonsense slab of plodding death-doom, this fits the bill.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 15th, 2017


  1. Commented by: Jay

    You had me at Morgion. Killer review and I’m liking the preview track posted here, plenty!

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