Five Foot Thick

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Circles Review

by Alex Henderson

Depending on which sociologist you talk to, an album as angrily violent as Circles either encourages hostility or decreases it -- the sociologists who contend that albums like Circles are beneficial would argue that by being cathartic and enabling listeners to deal with their demons, they ultimately promote a healthier state of mind. One thing's for sure: Five Foot Thick expresses a great deal of rage on this scorching debut album, which was originally self-released in 2000 and was reissued by Eclipse in 2004. Five Foot Thick had been together for three years when they recorded Circles, and in their hometown of Spokane, WA, they had acquired a reputation for being headbangers with a major hip-hop obsession. Indeed, Five Foot Thick's love of hip-hop is impossible to miss on this CD, which draws on rap-metal/alternative metal influences like Rage Against the Machine, Limp Bizkit, Korn, and (hed) pe. From lead vocalist Bryan Dilling's searing, mad-as-hell raps to Matt Vansteenwyk's sampling and turntable tricks, Circles is obviously the work of metalheads who had been raised on a combination of rock and rap. The material isn't groundbreaking by early-2000s standards; when Circles first came out in 2000, rap-metal was an extremely crowded field -- and Five Foot Thick doesn't bring anything new or unusual to the style. But what Circles lacks in originality, it makes up for with pure, unmitigated passion; one can't accuse Dilling, Vansteenwyk, guitarist George Silva, bassist Kris Demers, or drummer Silas McQuain of sounding bored or uninspired on these blistering, confrontational performances. Circles falls short of exceptional, but it's a decent, if less than distinctive, footnote in the history of rap-metal.

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