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Callenish Circle - Pitch Black Effects (CD)

Callenish Circle
Pitch Black Effects
by Chris Downie at 04 February 2006, 9:41 PM

If any of you feel disillusioned with the melodic Death genre, to the point where you feel inclined to dismiss the latest Callenish Circle release on a whim, just back up for a moment, for the talented Dutch act have surpassed themselves this time and are finally showing their true potential. They are confirming what many have secretly known for a few years now and are now capable of taking their rightful place alongside the likes of Soilwork, Dark Tranquility and Darkane at the top of the melodic Death tree.
After long-standing label problems which plagued their early recording career, such as the split with Hammerheart Records, Holland's Callenish Circle have been signed to the legendary Metal Blade Records for a number of years now, releasing quality (but largely overlooked) melodic Death albums such as Flesh Power Dominion (2002) and My Passion Your Pain (2004). Now they offer up their fifth full-length album, which consolidates their position as major players in the extreme Metal scene.
Fans of the band's previous work will find that, although they have definitely made a noticeable progression on this album, the elements which made their earlier efforts so compelling are still present. Rather than trying to distance themselves from, or indeed re-invent, the genre from which they spawned, they have succeeded in consolidating their position within it, while adding many compelling twists and turns along the way. The finest example of this is on standout track Schwarzes Licht.
While many of their contemporaries have resorted to heavy use of keyboards and electronic elements to embellish their sound, Callenish Circle's real strength is the way in which they use such elements sparingly. As a result, they stand out significantly more and never detract from the overall impact of their signature sound. The vocal delivery also eschews the harsh-verse-with-clean-chorus approach that is so prevalent among their peers, choosing instead to alternate between high-pitched screams and lower-end growls, at times reminiscent of Death in their heyday. It is an approach that really sets them apart.
Ultimately, what we have here is a record that, while not attempting to re-invent it's genre, does carry a considerable impact. It is a rare skill, to successfully strike a fine balance between progression and strengthening of one's existing musical foundations without losing sight of their strengths, yet it is something which Callenish Circle manage with ease. On this showing, they have not only begun to show their true potential but have also given a much-needed shot in the arm to a sub-genre which has shown recent signs of flagging.

4 Star Rating

This Day You Regret
Behind Lines
Schwarzes Licht
Sweet Cyanide
Guess Again
As You Speak
Pitch Black
Patrick Savelkoul - Vocals
Ronny Tyssen - Guitar
Remy Dieteren - Guitar
Ren? Rokx - Bass
Gavin Harte - Drums
Record Label: Metal Blade Records


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