Callenish Circle - [Pitch.Black.Effect.]
Metal Blade
Melodic Death Metal
10 songs (43:27)
Release year: 2005
Callenish Circle, Metal Blade
Reviewed by Al

I’ve been a fan of the Swedish melodic death metal scene for a while now. After originally cutting my teeth on the likes of Arch Enemy and In Flames and later delving into bands such as Soilwork and Dark Tranquillity (to name but a few). In my frenzy to experience as much of the genre as I could in the past few years I have heard an incomprehensible amount of music from a wide variety of bands. Some of it has been fantastic, Dark Tranquillity’s most recent masterpiece Character for instance, some of it absolutely dire such as Arch Enemy’s latest effort and some of it simply average. Unfortunately my experience of Callenish Circle’s previous output has struck me as the latter and with hope that they would develop into a more original, interesting proposition, I picked up their latest album, the bizarrely punctuated [Pitch.Black.Effect.].

The Dutch five piece features a traditional line up of vocalist, two guitarists, bassist and drummer. [Pitch.Black.Effect.] is the band’s follow up to third full length release My Passion, Your Pain which while having some decent moments, left me uninspired. I found their take on the genre competent but nothing about their sound leapt from the speakers and grabbed me. Moving on from my past experience, I approached the new album with an open mind and after repeated listens it has unfortunately failed to drastically alter my opinion of the band.

In comparison to their last album, things have generally slowed down a bit as well as becoming a lot more accessible, by heavy use of synths and samples which will undoubtedly anger long term fans. The blastbeat thrashiness evident on My Passion, Your Pain is all but gone, replaced with a slower, deeper sound. There are moments of breakneck speed such as Behind Lines but they are vastly outnumbered by songs featuring the aforementioned style. This in itself is no bad thing but a lot of the songs do tend to plod along a bit without any real energy behind them.

The sound is very typical of the scene, with twin guitars providing the riffs. Unlike the duelling lead guitars of Arch Enemy, the riffs on offer here tend to stay firmly on the side of simplicity and rhythm. There are few solos featured, as one guitar tends to adopt a lead riff while the other continues the rhythm section. The few solos which do feature, particularly in Sweet Cyanide, are very good if on the simplistic side. The drumming is adequate but displays none of the pace and flair that other bands in the genre so often do.

The vocals are standard melodic death fare and vary from deep growls to higher pitched snarls quite effectively. There is very little variation in their delivery throughout the album but enjoyable nonetheless. The only occurrences of variation come in bizarre clean spoken sections in some the songs such as As You Speak which completely miss the mark with me. They do little to add to the songs and infuse them with a quasi-goth pop sensibility. It simply does not gel with the music.

None of this is especially bad, it is simply average with the odd inspired moment. Songs such as Guess Again and Behind Lines are fantastic cuts and I did find small bits of enjoyment in most of the songs on the album. One thing that did detract massively from my enjoyment however was the aforementioned spoken word snippets and the largely pointless use of techno-esque sampling on some of the tracks. Schwarzes Licht is the worst offender in this regard. Completely over using these aspects and resulting in a track which feels disjointed.

This an album which failed to truly impress me in any way. It is a merely adequate example of the genre and while there are good songs, riffs and hooks the album as a whole is unlikely to pry me away from sticking Character in my stereo and rocking out. I do feel however that I am in the minority as the album has been given more positive reviews elsewhere, so there is the disinct possibility that I 'just don't get it'. regardless, I will stick to my guns. An average album.

Killing Songs :
Guess Again and Behind Lines
Al quoted 68 / 100
Other albums by Callenish Circle that we have reviewed:
Callenish Circle - Forbidden Empathy reviewed by Alex and quoted 82 / 100
Callenish Circle - My Passion Your Pain reviewed by Alex and quoted 92 / 100
Callenish Circle - Flesh_Power_Dominion reviewed by Danny and quoted 80 / 100
4 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 6 replies to this review. Last one on Fri Jan 27, 2006 11:46 am
View and Post comments