As a rule, bands that have anything to do with black metal are not known for irony. They take their obsession with the dark side quite seriously, which is definitely a contrast to the irony and sick humor that early grindcore/death metal bands such as Cannibal Corpse and Carcass were known for in the early 1990s. But Dance Club Massacre is a rarity: a band that has both a strong black metal influence and a decidedly ironic approach. On Circle of Death, the Chicago-based outfit offers a blistering yet atmospheric mixture of black metal and death metal that gets a lot of musical inspiration from the Scandinavian extreme metal scene. But unlike most of the well known Nordic black metallers -- unlike, say, Gorgoroth, Marduk, or Dark Funeral -- Dance Club Massacre come across as very tongue in cheek. Circle of Death thrives on a mixture of horror themes and decadent, hedonistic sex/party lyrics, and there are definite parallels between Dance Club Massacre's over the top goofiness and the shock antics of GWAR, Carcass, Haunted Garage, and Cannibal Corpse; those who get the joke won't find originals like "Have You Ever Chopped a Wolf?" and "Ode to the Barracuda" to be genuinely disturbing. And anyone who doubts that Dance Club Massacre have a wild sense of humor should check out their nutty 26-minute version of "99 Bottles of Beer," which is a hidden track at the end of this 60-minute CD. "99 Bottles of Beer" drags on about 20 minutes longer than it needs to, but it's still funny and entertaining (if self-indulgent). Matter of fact, the entertainment value is consistently high throughout the memorable Circle of Death -- excesses, self-indulgence, and all.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson