Picks: A Perfect Circle, Cancer Bats, Encircling Sea

Thanks to Cancer Bats, who decided this was the week to drop their surprise new album, we’ve got rather a lot to get our teeth into in this week’s Picks. We’ve whittled it down to three as dictated by the format. Were we to allow ourselves four, you’d also be getting a recommendation for Lace’s album Human Condition.

A Perfect Circle
Eat The Elephant
A Perfect Circle/BMG Rights Management
[Spotify]

Wow. What a beautiful album. We’ve seen mixed reviews elsewhere but our view is that Eat The Elephant, the new one from A Perfect Circle, is enchanting. There’s not a ton of guitar on it but in its place there is fragility, originality and soul. The title track is gorgeous and the rest of the record is engaging to the end, with a number of peaks even amongst this unique collection. Billy Howerdel and Maynard James Keenan have created something incredible here, and ‘So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish’, ‘Hourglass’ and ‘Get The Lead Out’ are at its summit.

Cancer Bats
The Spark That Moves
Bat Skull Records
[Spotify]

When you hear that an unnamed band is going to drop a surprise album you throw a bunch of names around and never get close to the right one. So we didn’t see The Spark That Moves coming last Friday. Cancer Bats never disappoint, do they? This new album continues that fine tradition just like it continues the tradition of dirty, sludgy riffing with a hardcore heart. Opener ‘Gatekeeper’ sets the tone and ‘Brightest Day’ adds proof of the Bats’ grip on groove. ‘Headwound’ throws snarl into the mix and there you have it: the essential component parts of Cancer Bats all present and correct.

Encircling Sea
Hearken
EVP Recordings
[Spotify]

Hearken, the fourth album by Australia’s Encircling Sea, isn’t an album so much as an atmosphere. The long, slow intro of ‘Bloodstone’ breaks suddenly into the gritty, deathy doom riffing that makes up the darker bulk of the album, a change that’s deftly repeated frequently within these five tracks. The other songs are equally epic, layered with thick chunks of noise and intense aggression throughout. This is one of those albums that you need to listen to fully and attentively in order to extract its best. Do that, and you’ll discover there’s plenty to enjoy about Hearken.

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