A Belgian take on this wave of hardcore in the vein of Converge (unsurprisingly released on Jacob Bannon’s Deathwish Records and recorded by Kurt Ballou), Our Circle Is Vicious, Rise And Fall’s third full-length, is an uncomfortably even balance of crowd-moving material and more experimental fare.

This style is a tough one to stick out in, but Rise And Fall distinguish themselves admirably, particularly on cuts like “Built On Graves” and “To The Bottom.” However, when Our Circle Is Vicious is most potent is more left-of-center material like “In Circles,” an ominous, tinny march. The spacey closer “Knowing” as well as the instrumental “Stillborn” is more than enough evidence that the straightforward, punky cuts—“A Present Tense” or opener “Soul Slayer”—while not bad, are obviously for moving bodies in a pit and while pretty good, could be much more than they are.

It’s a fair point—you need those songs—but Rise And Fall have some potential to position themselves as a more accomplished brand of hardcore, something they only flirt with. Let’s hope they hook up.

In A Word: Potential

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