October 21, 2021
Digital pre-order & stream: https://kimuraofficial.bandcamp.com/album/circle-the-prey
CD Pre-order: https://kimura.bigcartel.com/product/circle-the-prey-cd
I don’t know what they put in the beer over in Western Australia but after listening to the latest release from Kimura, Circle The Prey, I know I’m never going out of my way to piss any Sandgropers off!
Billed as the band’s darkest and heaviest offering yet, the first thing that strikes me about Circle The Prey is the whopping 13 songs contained within, and after already having a taste of the brutality of Kimura with lead single Sharpen The Bones I know before even pressing play that I am in for a war of attrition!
Kimura don’t disappoint, with opener Cliff & Step lulling you into an early false sense of serenity with the sound of gentle drops of rain soon being bludgeoned by a wall of sound that is as measured as it is aggressive.
From the outset it is evident that Kimura are a band who play together rather than against each other. By that I mean the mix is even between the instruments and vocals, with nothing tangible competing or drowning out the rest of the band.
Vocalist Joshua Kelly attacks his music with restrained aggression, the power and emotion in his voice lifting Kimura beyond the standard metal outfit and into a league that many strive for, but few achieve.
One track in, and I’m already sweating, so it must be Jack time and the sting of gas as I crack open a can is soon drowned out by Sharpen The Bones. I loved this track the first time I heard it and even after repeated listens it still sounds fresh as I listen to the whole album. Dead set, this track could make Ghandi put his fists up, it is that ferocious.
Now THAT I would pay to see.
Digital Mercy roars to life with machine gun drumming courtesy of Gordo Steinberger and has an almost militant precision that makes you look behind for flying bullets. A nice breakdown midway through that fades to subdued guitar before gradually rebuilding into battle is possibly there to give the listeners breathing space, and the gang vocals of “We’ve had enough” pretty sum up the feelings of the entire nation in one hit.
If I was looking for flying bullets listening to Digital Mercy, then Suffer Slow has me pulling on the camo gear and lacing up the boots, with an almost ambient intro lulling you into a false sense of calm before the drums and guitar take over in a two-man war waged on each other. Kelly steps in to soothe proceedings, but the battle rages intensely in the background while the rhythm section throw insults back and forth at each other.
A touch of spoken verse is a nice touch and proves that Kimura are unafraid to stray from musical convention to great effect.
Damnare Part 1: Judgement eases things down ever so slightly, with a more rock based intro announcing this tune will not be as loud or in your face. You almost expect clean vocals to come in and totally fuck things up but before long I realise that isn’t going to happen, mainly because this song is instrumental and a nice segue into Hangman, which starts on the tamer side with more rain lashing moody guitar play before Kelly screams, I cringe, and it’s on all over again! This is definitely music you could play Murderball to.
Serpents & Worms throws up the first major surprise, with Kelly delivering an almost demonic vocal tone that is barked and spat with venomous intent. Scrap that, actually, as upon closer inspection it turns out that Kelly may not be the antagonist after all! Extra vocal delivery is provided on this song by Sorcha Savage from local outfit Kalvath in a poignant and devilishly inspiring guest appearance that adds yet another dimension to Circle The Prey. I love it more for the seamless transition of a guest artist without fanfare or commotion. Savage is but another cog in the well-oiled collection of songs that throws up more layers the more you immerse yourself in Kimura’s world.
Sciolist and Tracks deliver more brutality before Company We Keep enters the fray, full of anger – yet still controlled and focused rather than thrown about for the sake of it – and at just on the two-minute mark sounds like a song that is directed at someone who probably wisely would be best served to steer clear of the band when they come off-stage…
Vultures once again shows differing sides of Kelly’s vocals without impacting the overall feel of Kimura’s music. These boys definitely have a firm grasp on who they are and what they want to play, and refuse to cheapen their music by adding elements that may make them more appealing to the masses.
Hell Is Coming (this might have been better served as the opening track because by now we fucken know because we have just listened through it) but maybe it was more meant as a warning to the respective band members that Hell is coming to re-cage the beasts that somehow made it out to make this album.
Damnare Part 2: Sentenced closes out Circle The Prey by again breathing to life to the ambient sound of raindrops, but is quickly evaporated under the sheer weight of guitar in a song that is much more urgent and frenetic than Part 1. With a mass of double kicks, huge riffs, timing changes and breakdowns, it almost seems like Kimura are making a statement here. If, like me, you can sense there is something different to these two instrumental tracks – beside the absence of a vocalist – that’s because a gentleman by the name of Graham Greene has put his stamp on proceedings, supplying his guitar talents with a touch of panache.
With Circle The Prey, Kimura have delivered an emphatic statement of intent and God help anyone who dares stand in judgement.