Five piece blackened hardcore act CALLIGRAM exploded into people’s consciousness back in November 2016, when their Demimonde release captured the imagination of the likes of Metal Hammer, Terrorizer and even Kerrang Radio. Fast forward twelve months and the band are now releasing their debut album on Basick Records, Askesis.
Just six tracks on this album, and opener Della Mancanza is a decent barometer of where this album generally resides. Somewhere between the the frenetic anger of hardcore and the primitive rawness of early black metal. With this is second track Sinking Into Existence, the band switch between furious noise for the first part of each song before they both settle down and take on new forms. The former remaining calmer while the latter bursts into life for one more eruption of noise towards the end of the song. Scourge opens with a more traditional black metal sound, something that wouldn’t be out of place on a release by someone like IMMORTAL, and again this track takes a big diversion deep into the song, this time indulging in some big grooves that should be out of place, but it works really well.
The album takes a little breather next, with the calming ninety second instrumental that is Murderess, that gives you just enough respite before Entwined roars into life. Another ninety second song, but a very different beast, probably the most straightforward song on the whole release. This new energises you up perfectly for the closing Lament. An epic way to finish the album that after another raucous beginning takes on a huge doom laden sound that crushes its way to the end of the album, leaving you a shell after taking a short but brutal battering.
Askesis is very much a release of two halves, but rather than two different styles of songs, each track has its separate characteristics that seem to contracts but work really well together. It’s ridiculous to think that CALLIGRAM are releasing an album like this so early into their career, with material that contains so much depth and quality. Six tracks may not seem like a lot, but they have managed to fit so much into them that each song develops in its own way, and bar the two shorter tracks, they really don’t seem like six or seven minute songs. With so much on offer on this release, who knows what CALLIGRAM will be capable of further into their career. Watch this band, they could end up becoming something quite special.
Askesis is out now via Basick Records.
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