Callisto - _Noir_
(Fullsteam Records, 2006)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (9 out of 10)
The origin of a band definitely has an effect in one way or another on its music, and in the international metal scene, Finnish metal has made quite a name for itself. However, Callisto is a band that floats swiftly from mellotron rock to crushing sludge distortions, from growling vocal deliveries to sax-lead jazz segments. The level of musicianship among those six guys from Turku has significantly matured since the band's inception. The coherence of the composition of _Noir_ (their second full-length) elevates Callisto's music to unexpected heights that impulsively take the listener on a 50+ minute ride of musical diversity.

_Noir_ is an eight track masterpiece carrying a myriad of spine chilling moments. While the vocals are generally sporadic all around the record, the chemistry of the band is vibrant and captivating. "Wormwood" (the first piece) witnesses the introduction of the first unconventional rock / metal instrument: the saxophone. The sax leads with a nocturnal, gloomy melody with a background akin to Mogwai. The flute is introduced on "A Close Encounter", you wouldn't guess it would fit so perfectly after those formidable growls and those thick sludge chords but it does. "Latterday Saints" endures a two minute build up to make way for the vocals and unleash a deep crushing riff followed by a beautiful staccato which rides along a crafty drums & bass section. And speaking of the bass, the eight minute "Folkslave" has the best bass guitar work on this effort.

If one were to go from the highs to the lows of this album (not that there are many lows), "Pathos" would be the mid-point. It basically sums up all their good qualities with is continuously flowing melody, the thick wall of sound from the guitars and that post-rock feel you get at some points of it. Perhaps the most emotional track is the last and longest one: "Woven Hands". It soars through the heart with its poignant melodies and its thick sludgy chords stomp the ground, vibrating the very speakers playing it.

If you have a hard time trying to categorize this album, then you've probably been listening intently enough to get a glimpse of the worlds-apart influences portrayed on this compelling record. _Noir_ is more than just a bunch of tracks put together or some chords and lyrics; it's a dexterous display of fusing the influences of a band so versatile and open to varied dimensions of music.


(article published 24/10/2009)

11/4/2009 A El Naby 8 Callisto - Providence
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