Callenish Circle - My Passion Your Pain
MetalBlade Records
Death Thrash Metal
10 songs (45'39")
Release year: 2003
Callenish Circle, MetalBlade Records
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

Those of you who pay any credence to my writings may remember that previous album by Callenish Circle Flesh_Power_Dominion was on my Best of 2002 list. Granted, it appeared towards the end of the list as the band was largely unknown to me at the time. As Flesh_Power_Dominion received continued spins in my CD player I have tracked down the band’s first full-length debut Graceful … Yet Forbidding and awaited the follow-up to Flesh _Power_Dominion anxiously.

While Graceful … Yet Forbidding was very much adherent to Gothenburg’s canons of technical melodic death metal, Flesh_Power_Dominion toned down the technicalities and saw a huge infusion of thrash and emotional fury. My Passion//Your Pain follows up in Flesh_Power_Dominion footsteps, yet represents an improvement for the band, in my modest opinion, anyway. Without letting up on speed, anger and rage Callenish Circle sounds a lot more cohesive and mature. Something that in 1999 was very reminiscent of old Dark Tranquillity raises the banner of At The Gates high and proud in 2003. The level of intensity throughout the whole album is unbelievable. Nevertheless, every song presents an interesting melody, arrangement or guitar hook. In a way, My Passion//Your Pain is an antithesis to Dimension Zero Silent Night Fever. Highly aggressive album, the latter album was almost entirely devoid of melody or leads. Callenish Circle, on the other hand, have extensive deliberate leads. Somehow it felt that they are placed towards the end of almost every song, so after taking a good dose of asskicking the listener can go into an autopilot mode. Moreover, if some songs on Flesh_Power_Dominion were of lower quality My Passion//Your Pain has no filler material.

First three cuts are an all-out sonic barrage of melodic blast beat tightness. Actually, the band uses three types of riffery in the album. Along with the aforementioned blast beat thrash structures, fast “helicopter” chops and slower death metal “hammer to the anvil” rhythm guitar playing lays the foundation for the music. Bass lines are booming and heard throughout the album. Drumming is tight, powerful and mixed just at the right level. Patrick Savelkoul vocals come at you from two planes. His higher pitch is as venomous as Tomas Linberg’s (At The Gates, The Crown, The Great Deceiver), and his lower tone is simply death metal perfect. I really liked the diversity coming from the vocal department. From the first three songs Soul Messiah is probably what Callenish Circle is all about these days. Excellent song to start an album!

After the first three more or less speedy tracks, the band slows down for What Could Have Been. Whatever is sacrificed in speed is gained in heaviness times three. If these chunky downtuned riffs don’t break your back, then you must have a steel plate inserted there. Another long (7 min) song My Hate Unfolds feels like it could have been the mixture of two songs. A bit disjointed it tries to marry two quite different time signatures. Misled has an attempt for a “bombastic” choir with a hint of cleanliness in the vocals.

The album is concluded with the “trilogy” My Passion, Conflicts, Your Pain. Conflicts is a short melodic instrumental. The other two tracks alternate between brooding melodies and mowing you down with heavy riffs. Such melodic broodiness also seems to be the signature of Callenish Circle these days. Their music is angry and tough on the surface, but it has those sensible moments that show vulnerability and hurt on the inside.

The fans of At The Gates, The Haunted, The Forsaken, Carnal Forge, etc. need to familiarize themselves with this Dutch quintet. I agree that Callenish Circle probably will not open up the new style (an opening riff to Forsaken sounds eerily familiar), but what they do is incredibly well played, and will appeal to all death/thrash lovers. One thing is certain. My Passion//Your Pain will make my Best of 2003 list, and it won’t be towards the end either. A regular CD, not promo, will also have a Pestilence cover. Oh, yeah, Mr. Salvador Dali of metal covers (Niklas Sundin of Dark Tranquillity fame) came out with another cover loaded with intrigue.

Killing Songs :
Soul Messiah, What Could Have Been, Misled, My Passion, Conflicts, Your Pain
Alex quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Callenish Circle that we have reviewed:
Callenish Circle - [Pitch.Black.Effect.] reviewed by Al and quoted 68 / 100
Callenish Circle - Forbidden Empathy reviewed by Alex and quoted 82 / 100
Callenish Circle - Flesh_Power_Dominion reviewed by Danny and quoted 80 / 100
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