While not as well known as some of its contemporaries, Dutch boys CALLENISH CIRCLE have built a reputation as a band that consistently makes quality, Swedish-style melodic thrash/death metal. Following 2003's "My Passion // Your Pain", new album "Pitch.Black.Effects" (the band's fifth) continues that fine tradition. At this point I'm finding that it is a better all-around album than the prior release.
Those of you unfamiliar with the band's sound should think in general terms of an aggressive, yet melodic, mix of current-era GOD DETHRONED (especially Pat Savelkoul's rough-edged vocals) and, to some degree, early SOILWORK. The most noticeable difference on this album is the more extensive use of programmed effects and synthesizer, courtesy of producer Gail Leibling (GAIL OF GOD). Fortunately, this does nothing to lessen the impact or douse the fire of these typically up-tempo ragers. "Ignorant" is probably the best example of a straight head mix of bubbly synth and chunky riffs, while a cruncher called "Schwarzes Light" utilizes the female vocals of Kaleen (GAIL OF GOD), programmed bits, and a mid-tempo stomp that's got the feel of AMON AMARTH. The stop-start rhythms of "Guess Again" blends quick blasts and synth effects quite well, this time with a hint of IN FLAMES. "This Day" and "Blind" are full-on slammers. "As You Speak" also speeds along nicely without sacrificing melody.
Thick riffs and driving, muscular rhythms with just the right of amount of melody are the heart and soul of this album. You'll also hear the occasional guitar solo or vocal changeup. Tue Madsen's (THE HAUNTED, MNEMIC, EXMORTEM) mix is well rounded with lots of crunch and clarity. In short, CALLENISH CIRCLE breaks little new ground, but does deliver a competent release with well-written songs and a whole lotta heavy.