Album Review: Circa Survive-Descensus

With Descensus, Circa Survive have finally lived up to their potential.??

Circa Survive's past albums weren't in anyway bad, however, it's just that they've kind of occupied his weird place in the offshoot blend of post-hardcore that they're more or less responsible for. Circa Survive and, more specifically, Anthony Green, have spawned countless imitators with their original and hard-to-pin down sound.

At the same time, they've never really put out an album that was viewed as the genre's mission statement or been viewed as its untouchable golden boys. Sometimes they were even outdone by the bands that shamelessly borrowed from them.

??The problem that Circa Survive rectifies with Descensus goes something like this: the band's signature sound has always relied on space, which isn't bad in or of itself, but at times they could simply meander too much. This problem was amplified when considering in context with some of the bands better moments, like "Act Appalled" that "The Difference Between Medicine and Poison is the Dose," where they excelled at showing this ever-so-slight undercurrent of rage that could make itself apparent solely by the rising infliction of Green's voice.

There wasn't enough of these moments in Circa Survive's back catalog, but Descensus is full of them. ??

The way opener and lead single "Schema" comes crashing out of the gate is a perfect example of this and sets the *much heavier* tone for the rest of the album. That said, the album doesn't succeed on the sole basis of being more aggressive/less boring.

Somewhat paradoxically, "Phantom," one of Descensus' quieter moments, is also one of its best, sounding something like In Rainbows-era Radiohead backed by Explosions in the Sky.

This song, along with the ambitious title track (clocking in at 8:53) see the band living up to the often misapplied "prog" descriptor, and makes better use of the "meander" dynamic than anything else in the their career.??

"Child of the Desert" uses the same kind of post-rock guitar and makes it way more danceable/rhythmic.

That's a pretty bad description, but you'll know what I mean when you hear how perfectly in synch Green gets with drummer Steve Clifford's 5/4 snare on the track.

To touch again on Circa Survive's weird little offshoot genre - the one that includes bands like Tides of Man, Emarosa, etc. - Descensus is probably the closest thing it has to a bonafide classic, which is a little strange because it moves away from said genre's trappings at the same time.

At the very least, it's the best Circa Survive album to date.