Album Review: Circa Survive’s Descenus


circasurviveEvery once in a while you find one of those bands that has been so prominent for so long,

they really know how to do things right. Circa Survive earned their spot in this category with

their new album, Descenus. Circa Survive started in 2004 when lead singer, Anthony Green, was

home for the weekend. When he was flying back to his band, Saosin, he realized that he just did

not want to sign to a major label with them. So he returned home once again and thus Circa

Survive was born. They are one of the very few bands who have stayed together for ten years

without breaking up or taking a hiatus. Their time and work really shows in Descenus.


I have to be honest with you, I wasn’t such a huge Circa Survive fan. But when I heard

the first song on the record, Schema, I was mind-blown. Probably the most frustrating yet best

part about this song is when I looked up the lyrics, every stanza made me feel a different way

and I couldn’t pick out just one meaning. Although, I would say the line that stands out most to

me would have to be “Pull out your teeth (until) There’s nothing left (at all) Immediately I feel

relief from dragging this vessel around” and to be honest, if that line does not pick your brain, I

don’t know what does.


Another track that really stands out to me is track six, “Nesting Dolls”. It’s slow and

peaceful and almost meditative. And then when Anthony Green starts saying “I don’t want to feel

this way” is exactly the reason why we listen to music. That line hits home for everyone, and yet

it has no depressing effect on the rest of the track. At the end of the song, lyrics and guitar riffs

start overlapping and create this giant build up and just like that the track is over.


The album closes out with the title song, “Descenus”. It’s a weird mix of slow hardcore

guitar riffs and pop-punk vocals. Although once again the lyrics are a bit unclear, it is definitely

certain that there is a level of disdain in his voice. Remind me to not get on Anthony Green’s bad

side. It almost sounds as if due to the lifespan of the band so far, they have reached a level of

musicianship where they know how to create something horribly messy and mold it into a

blissfully chaotic mesh of words, chords, and beats.


I supposed I had read into Circa Survive wrong in the past. This mess of music isn’t a

mess, it’s just on such a different level of what many artists do that I just didn’t recognize it.

Descenus is pure magic. There are songs for rainy days, songs for punching things (things, not

people) to, and songs to play while you’re coasting down the highway with your windows down.

Circa Survive should definitely be proud of themselves for this one because it has found it’s way

to my heart, and the hearts of thousands of others. I would give it a 9.5/10.

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