Circa Survive – Violent Waves

I think this album comes personally with a few loose memories. I had gotten into it when I was 17 or 18, when I had obtained my first car coupled with a summer without school or work to roam free. I had a friend at the time I would spend all the time with. Her parents had quite a nice house compared to mine: a nice half cabinet piano, a living room with at least a 60″ television and four black leather recliners. And all the food you could eat. We had a bit in common and that always made for fun nights watching shows and laughing our asses off at all the dumb jokes we’d make, or messing around in fighting games squeezing out every ounce of fun we could have. I would go home and watch what she recommended or play through games so the next time I saw her I’d have more to talk about. Going over there always felt like I had just transferred over to my second home.

There was one problem though:

I liked her. (Like, a lot).

But I didn’t quite know how to say it. I was still young at the time, and not having really any experience, I didn’t dare jump into it. I wish I had, but I can talk about that later. I’m sticking to the story here.

When I had started harboring these feelings, but with no way of wording or releasing them, that was when this album lit up for me. I think it really is a great “release” type of album. It starts soft, inches its way into a heavier sound, and immediately you get a taste for the vibe of the record. This record is special, because it’s so aggressive in an atmospheric way. I’ve always been into heavy music, but I hadn’t found true solace in any until this record. I think Suitcase, the third song, is a perfect place to start if you want a feel for what this album is. It has a heavy vibe, but I imagine it as it’s dragging its feet along the ground. The drums, the reverb and overlaying guitar parts, and Anthony’s voice. They’re all dragging around in unison. For a full year I was so stuck on the looping guitars, the melancholy droning through the slower paced songs, and the emotion in Anthony Green’s voice with what he was saying.

“Every body wants to see the worst in you, shadowed by the actions of the path you can’t undo,

who’ll get left behind?

I didn’t want to be left behind. So I stayed close and kept this in my pocket only to take it out on my drives home in the dark (we lived about 40 minutes apart – almost perfect for a full listen each time). It was a self defeating type of situation – so for the record I want to say I don’t think that’s a path anyone should take at all. But this album never lost its charm because of it. It’s a callback to who I know I will never be again. Timid. Afraid.

This album had a way of sitting with me when I was afraid of losing the friendships I held so dear, and then telling me to stand up and walk forward. It ends with I’ll Find A Way and is mostly where I find my solace.

“Don’t give in to wild currents … I want to carry it all, I’ll find a way to carry it all for you.”

Despite all that I’ve been through and what I’ve praised for this album, I still don’t think it’s the best. It’s situationally the best, but in the terms of Circa Survive’s musical reach, there are far better albums of theirs. Juturna is a classic, and Descensus, the album after this, really brings together their straightforward harder tracks to atmospheric tracks directly influenced from Violent Waves (I feel that, at least). Sovereign Circle is a track to behold, and Nesting Dolls is one to sit back to. There’s Your Friends Are Gone from On Letting Go I found after finally setting Violent Waves down for a bit. I thought that was funny.

So in review, this isn’t a perfect record – Anthony Green said himself it doesn’t perfectly reflect what Circa Survive can do with their sound, so my advice is this: listen to it, but give the other albums a listen as well. Juturna to Descensus actually sounds like a neat idea to a new listener – first to most recent, and see how they’ve grown.

You can listen it stream for free on various platforms. If you wish to buy anything of theirs, the store for it is here.

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