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Calyces – Impluse to Soar

Impluse to Soar
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 17 September 2020, 7:03 AM

CALYCES are the sepals that form a protective layer around a flower in bud. It is also the name of an Athenian four-piece Prog Rock/Heavy Metal act, built around Manthos, who assumed the guitar and vocal duties, consisted of Alexis Stavropoulos (drums), Giannis Golfis (guitar) and Stelios Tragos (bass), all of them already being key members in Greek bands such as INSECT RADIO and REVENGE OF THE GIANT FACE. “Impulse to Soar” contains eleven tracks.

“False Awakening” opens the album. Dissonant guitar tones open the album with a thick cadence. The vocals are shouted for the most part, which is actually my least favorite vocal style of them all. I hear some Progressive elements, but also a bit of a disconnect from the vocals to the music. The melodic passage is very nice, however. “Ego Dries up the Ocean” opens with some choppy guitar, bass, and drum work, and that dissonance is still pretty present. I hear some Alternative elements here as well. At times, they sound like GOJIRA, while other times they sound like ALTER BRIDGE. The sound here is dark and thick, like trying to find your way through and overgrown forest in the dark.

“Those Flames are Dancing Wild” features some meter shifting and some hard guitar strikes. Here they flex their muscles a bit, with some detail to the riffing and some very tight synergy. The sound is still fairly cold and sterile, but the Progressive elements come through here. “Parasites” has a running guitar riff that ventures out here and there, but I am again picking up on some Alternative elements here, mostly coming from the vocal cadence. It’s an odd combination that so far isn’t really working for me. “The Great Void” is a shorter song where again the cadence of the vocals is just rubbing me the wrong way. But, the instrumental passage is surely very tight and these guys are accomplished musicians either way.

“Wired Crown” opens with some dexterous guitar, bass, and drum work, climbing up and down the scale in a frenzy of sorts. One thing that the album fails to deliver on is a chorus. I don’t think I have really heard one yet. At least, not one that was memorable. “Home” is a shorter, three-and-a-half-minute song that opens with a dissonant riff and some discernable bass guitar work. It doesn’t last very long however. “Beyond Sight” opens with more of those off-putting vocals again. I’m not necessarily faulting the vocalist here, but it’s more the method of delivery that I have the biggest problem with. They do let in a little melody here, which is always important in the Progressive Metal genre.

“Uneven Loops” is an instrumental, approaching the seven-minute mark. Here is where the band can really show their skills. Without the vocals, it’s clear that they have accomplished musicians who are skilled at their craft, and also know how to create song structures that are intricate and interesting. This song is very creative, going in many different directions, while still retaining the central core sound. “We’re Lost, but it’s OK” closes the album…a brief three-minute song consisting of some light acoustical guitar notes. It seems out of place when you consider the album as a whole.

Overall, the album left me quite perplexed. The band is talented for sure. They play together tightly and can jump from note to note with a marked precision. But the vocals are in my opinion the worst part of the band. Not the vocalist, mind you, although I am not crazy about his voice, it’s more of the vocal delivery style. I’m certainly OK with harsh vocals, but am not crazy about shouts as a way to deliver vocals, and there is something about the cadence that for me sounds more like Alterative than Progressive music. As this is their first outing, perhaps they can figure something out, because it would a shame to waste the talents that the band has a whole. But, give it a try and make up your own mind…every album deserves at least that.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 4
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. False Awakening
2. Ego Dries up the Ocean
3. Those Flames are Dancing Wild
4. Parasites
5. The Great Void
6. Wired Crown
7. Unfair Labor
8. Home
9. Beyond Sight
10. Uneven Loops
11. We’re Lost, but it’s OK
Manthos Stergiou – Guitar/Vocals
Giannis Golfis – Guitar
Stelios Tragos – Bass
Alex Stavropoulo – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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