[11th January 2013]
02. When The Colors Bleed Away
03. Into The Dreamstate
04. You Were The Tempest
05. As The Horror Unfolds
06. An Awful Image Of Calm Power
08. An Ending Without A Story
10. The Serpent And The Static Between Thoughts
11. The Curse Of Consciousness
12. If The Day Should Come
Having re-realized why I love instrumental music – after posting during Instrumental Music Week last week – I was rather ecstatic to have recently received this promo just before the weekend. Bandcamp once again reveals itself to be a trove full of hidden wonders; this time with the hidden gem that is progressive instrumental act Encircle – a solo project of one Anthony DiGiacomo. Encircle’s latest offering, Into The Dreamstate, takes us through the many tenets of instrumental music that have popularized the movement over recent years, but emphasizes different areas in such a manner that the listening experience becomes unique unto itself. Guest appearances from Sarah Longfield of The Fine Constant, Plini of Halcyon, Dan Wieten of The Omega Experiment, Chris Vogagis of Wide Eyes, and Mark Hawkins of Devolved/LVM Trio are added bonuses, and whether it’s the massive riffs, the catchy solos, or the atmospheric interludes, Into The Dreamstate is a rather well-rounded album experience that one would be foolish to deprive oneself of.
What is truly impressive about this album is that everything seems to mesh together in ways that make sense. Each track emphasizes on something different, which keeps the album well-paced and balanced. It’s not overly extravagant but it’s also not too simplistic. It certainly has the best of all worlds coming together. Starting off, the second track, “When The Colors Bleed Away,” gives a pretty good approximation of what the album has to offer in terms of its heaviness. Heavy and fast chugging guitar riffs are interwoven seamlessly with smooth guitar solos and tasteful breakdowns. Imagine djent-esque grooves without the signature djent sound.
The middle portion of the album focuses more on the melodic nature of Encircle’s songwriting…and what mighty impressive songwriting it is. The heavy chugging riffs previously mentioned become more varied in their disposal; broken up by softer passages that consist of either acoustic guitars or ethereal soundscapes. Look to tracks like “You Were The Tempest” or “An Awful Image Of Calm Power” for these softer passages. The latter half of the album takes all the ideas presented in the first half and just mixes and matches them in different ways. The results are pleasing, to say the least. If you’re looking for the one track that best represents the album as a whole, look to the second to last track, “The Curse Of Consciousness,” since it ties together every technique and hook that the album successfully accomplishes into its 9 minute span.
I’m hard-pressed to make any hard hitting criticisms about this album, to be quite honest. It’s not say, however, that this album has reinvented the wheel. It certainly hasn’t. Perhaps the biggest Achilles heel of Into The Dreamstate is that sonically, the riffs and solos found here will sound all too familiar and generic, in a sense. In this way, the overall sound of this album will start to blend together a bit once you reach the midpoint of the tracklist. That’s not what will be at the forefront of your mind, though, once you’re done listening through this album for the first time. While the overall sound and tone of the album may be something you’re already very acquainted with, the compositions are what really shine through and are worth listening for. Encircle has made it clear with Into The Dreamstate that it is certainly a force to be reckoned with.