Position | Momentum
Review by Ves on June 14, 2023.
Occasionally, you run into a band or album that reminds you of some of the earliest encounters you had with extreme metal. When I was a wee lad of but 13, into Slayer and Metallica and all that good stuff, a few friends played Cannibal Corpse and Necrophagist for me. I was smitten. I went searching for more similar bands and remembered that one of the friends had a cool hoodie that said the Faceless across the front. So I looked the band up and was soon facing the cover art of "Akeldama", their debut effort. More than 12 years later, I still revisit this album at least once every couple of months to remind myself of the glory days of tech-death. "Nice blogpost pal, what does this have to do with Calligram's upcoming album Position | Momentum?", you might ask. For some reason, it evokes the same feeling of nostalgia and makes my restless leg syndrome go into overdrive just as much.
This album, released on Prosthetic Records, is my first encounter with the London-based band. Having had it on repeat for the past week or so, I went back and listened to their whole catalogue - 2 EPs and a full-length titled The Eye Is The First Circle - which made me like their newest album even more. Namely, there is a steady logical evolution of the band's sound from the early days to present time. Drawing influences from the realms of hardcore, grind, and black metal, the listening experience over their discography so far goes from gritty and thick to razor-sharp and incredibly aggressive. Position | Momentum hardly offers release from the constant intensity of blasts, d-beats, tremolo melodies and riffs, and some of my favourite vocal work I've heard this year, but when it does it feels like sailing through the blissful oblivion of space, like on the track 'Per Jamie'. There are also more tenderly aggressive moments, such as 'Ex-Sistere' or the opening half of 'Seminario Dieci', which remind me of mellodic hardcore bands like Defeater and La Dispute. The main component of the band's sound, however, is firmly rooted in black metal. The various influences spice up the fairly straightforward way one may conceptualise black metal, with riffs maintaining a razor-sharp egde and blast beats hitting hard enough to satisfy even the most demanding of extreme metal enjoyers. The opening two tracks, 'Sul Dolore' and 'Frantumi In Itinere', will convince you if I haven't already. Production-wise, the album sounds crisp and clear, with an omnipresent layer of reverb which makes the songs expand into a healthy amount of empty space. One of those mixes that makes you feel like you're listening the band perform in a chapel or tunnel, which fits the general feel of the album perfectly.
I still cannot put my finger on why this album makes me feel like a teenager again but I am more than glad it does. The response it provokes has carved its place in my weekly album rotation, and I don't see it leaving any time soon!
Rating: 9 out of 10694