Indonesia Week: Day 2: Circlet – Absence

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Artist: Circlet

Release: Absence

Label: Independent

Release Date: 3 July 2021

Location: Bandung, Indonesia

Digital Price: Name Your Price

Length: 45min 29s

For the second day of Indonesia Week, we take a look at Robert Rayvid’s independent progressive metal project Circlet and its latest release Absence.

Circlet is one of those one-man projects where everything was done by one man. Robert Rayvid singularly wrote, arranged, composed, and recorded all music on this album. This is some progressive metal with a djent flair, and some influences from metalcore that pop up throughout. Rayvid does an excellent job throughout Absence, demonstrating his own capacity for composition and instrumental skill. Incredibly, Circlet is a fairly small indie project, and yet this is the sort of stuff good enough to be headlining gigs.

The level of talent and depth in the Indonesian metal scene is just astounding, from the smallest, little known acts to the big headliners. Circlet is emblematic of that – a lesser-known progressive metal act built entirely by one man, and still, in this writer’s opinion, one of the better instrumental prog releases of 2021. There are aspects of a few different kinds of metal in Absence, brought together by Rayvid’s creativity, and nothing here ever feels like it leans too hard into any one genre to be distasteful. If you don’t listen to djent, or metalcore, or traditional progressive metal much – not to worry, as these are all simply aspects of an album that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Mea Culpa is a track on this album that’s just such a great example of that. It starts off as a djenty banger, complete with the wubs and low, distorted guitars. It quickly takes on a progressive sound, with traditional heavy metal shredding complete with guitar wails. Finally, the djent is amped up while a more progressive shred fest ensues in the final seconds. Just some great, diverse stuff all round here.

The track Elijah is a great example of just some classically great prog metal, with a slightly jazzy instrumental breakdown a few minutes in. This occurs right bang in the middle of some exhilarating shredding that had me hanging on every note in anticipation, keenly listening to see where Circlet would take me next. The next stop was Time and Tide which started off with the sound of static and a simple, quiet guitar, and evolved over the course of its seven minutes into a variety of different sounds. Three minutes in, we have some great, soulful strings and guitarwork before breaking down into some electronic chaos that sounds like a fusion of djent and dubstep. As with anything on this album, this lasts for some enjoyable moments in Time and Tide before the track continues to evolve in a new direction.

There is just so much to like about Absence – it is just such an easy listen. It has been a great listen in a variety of settings. There is a great energy and creativity about Absence that some instrumental releases lack, and Rayvid clearly has the chops to ensure that listeners will never get bored or feel like any given track is a repeat of another. This is a diverse album that just continues to incorporate brilliant sounds, like the peppy guitars and piano heaviness of Caterpillar, or the delightful bass-and-piano sound of Generic Beauty. Circlet is a project you absolutely should pay attention to and represents some of the great skill and creativity that Indonesian artists bring to the table.

I hope you enjoy Absence.

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