Richard Dawson & Circle
RICHARD DAWSON & CIRCLE teamed up to record an epic album together recently called ‘Henki’. Richard Dawson is the Geordie troubadour whose moving songs have been described as state-of-the-nation addresses, even - or perhaps especially - when he’s singing about pre-medieval peasants. Circle are the genre-straddling pioneers of The New Wave Of Finnish Heavy Metal, known for wearing spandex and singing in a made-up language. Together they are… Richard Dawson & Circle! Their epic joint record might seem a departure to those who are most familiar with Dawson from recent solo albums like 2017’s Peasant and 2020. In fact, ‘Henki’ fits comfortably into the bigger picture of two acts who have always strived for uninhibited originality. Inspired by Circle’s guitarist Janne Westerlund instructing the group during recording to be less straightforward and more “like a plant”, ‘Henki’s seven tracks deal with special plants throughout history. The result is a towering flora-themed hypno-folk-metal record of gargantuan proportions.
Dawson & Circle have intricately crafted their sound, with imaginative, constantly evolving arrangements that highlight Circle’s prog credentials. There are also unexpectedly euphoric choruses too: the instrumental mid-section of Silphium makes like a more dissonant take on Xanadu-era Rush, then gradually builds momentum before exploding back to life again just before the 11-minute mark. Methuselah gallops along like a flora-fixated Iron Maiden as it tells the cautionary tale of Donald Currey, a researcher trying to find the oldest tree on Earth who only realised he’d found it after he’d cut it down in 1964. Throughout, there is so much going on that it takes many listens to absorb everything. A tour de force of botanical rock!
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