Saturday, 11 April 2020

Calligram - The Eye Is The First Circle


Labels: Prosthetic Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 10 Apr 2020

Tracklist:

1. Carne
2. Serpe
3. Vivido Perire
4. La Cura
5. Kenosis
6. Anedonia
7. Pensiero Debole
8. Un Dramma Vuoto E Insanabile

I last featured London's Calligram back in 2017 when I reviewed their Demimonde EP. Following the release of their second record Askesis in 2018 and fast-forwarding two years, they're now part of the seemingly ever-growing Prosthetic Records roster and have just (yesterday in fact!) released their latest work The Eye Is The First Circle. Despite that band having to cancel their April album-release tour for obvious reasons, they're still receiving plenty of support from afar.

Driving, blackened mayhem is what I think of when I think of Calligram and the band does not disappoint on The Eye Is The First Circle. The unnerving and downright defeated sound they create on opener ‘Carne’ is ridiculous. They’ve dialled up the black metal with blasting drums, almost-symphonic guitars and shrieking vocals that won’t just send chills down your spine, but will grab it and rip it out.

Calligram isn’t a band known for writing and performing songs that go by in the blink of an eye. Each song is a sonic journey that will either invoke madness or elation. ‘Serpe’ picks up where ‘Carne’ left off by once again painting the halls an unpenetrable shade of black. The multi-vocal attack takes it to the next level as well, sounding like demons coming up through the very soil that’s encased them.

Even when shorter songs like ‘Vivido Perire’ take hold, they do so with the same energy and raw evil that exists within the rest of the record. The intensity is even more noticeable as it leads into the dramatic majesty of ‘La Cura’, which contains melody that’s not so much comforting as it is menacing. The layers that Calligram are able to weave are nothing short of breathtaking, even for such a heavy and seemingly chaotic band. That being said, even the chaos seems to be reined in and controlled, showing how the band has matured and grown as song-writers.

You’re dragged into the second half of the album with no chance to breath as ‘Kenosis’ comes at you almost instantly and when it’s caught hold of you, it doesn’t let go. The grim spectre of death floating over you at all times, it’s blasting and blackened ferocity is constant, though it never feels like a test of endurance.

‘Anedonia’ is the longest song on The Eye Is The First Circle and it’s the most mournful, and the darkest due to it’s slower tempo and melody. It doesn’t stay that way for long as slowly the noise builds. First the drums come in and then the dissonance from the guitars add to fray. Mid way through it explodes into black metal that’s more atmospheric than it is icy and with subtle d-beat and crust, harking back to the bands earlier sound. 

You could call ‘Pensiero Debole’ pensive but only because the instrumental interlude builds nervous anticipation for album closer ‘Un Dramma Vuoto E Insanabile’, which itself is more of a march than a frenetic sprint. The pace is slower here and it has a kind of funeral-doom/industrial feel during the opener passages. That feeling is banished soon after and normal service resumes with abandon. It pummels you for it’s final minutes and you’re left paralysed in awe.

This is a masterpiece. It has all of the elements you want to hear in a chaotic, blasting blackened hardcore/metal album yet the atmosphere and ambience it contains helps to keep it grounded and constantly listenable. I think this will be on repeat for a long time to come!

You can stream and purchase The Eye Is The First Circle via Calligram's bandcamp page below:-



You can also buy on both CD and vinyl via the same page.

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