Release DetailsLABEL Candlelight
RELEASED ON 1/25/2005
Forbidden Empathy (2 Discs)
posted on 1/2005 By:
In the realm of melodic death metal there exist accomplished bands just below the exposure level of the primary Swedish bands that get all the attention, like In Flames, Arch Enemy, and At the Gates. One of these second-level bands are the Dutch metallers of Callenish Circle. Most people are only familiar with their two albums released on Metal Blade records, Flesh, Power, Dominion, and the excellent 2003 release My Passion//Your Pain. Those two albums contain strict, by-the-book melodic death, descended from the choppy riffs utilized by At the Gates, but what I had no idea about was that their earlier works were quite different. That’s where this release comes in.
For devoted or curious fans of the band, Candlelight Records has decided to release all of their prior recorded material in a double-CD package entitled Forbidden Empathy. The first disc contains the Graceful…Yet Forbidding album and the Escape EP, while the second disc contains their debut album Drift of Empathy and demo Lovelorn. These works span the 1995-1999 period in their tenure and reveal a major development of their sound.
The first disc is of their more recent material, and it bears a close resemblance to their current style. But, right off the bat, you can notice that they embrace guitar melodies and shredding more here than they do nowadays. The Graceful… album is a mature release, with capable songwriting and decent production – the kind of album that would attract the attention of a major label like Metal Blade. It features a few exceptional tracks such as “No Reason”, “Beyond”, and “Broken” that make frequent use of clean guitar breaks and slowdowns to break up the swift pace of their typical riffy romp. After this album, they took a decidedly heavier turn, while simplifying the composition slightly. The last four tracks are off of the Escape EP, but two of them are already on the disc, while another is an intro, leaving only one unique track, “Mirror of Serenity”. This song fits in well with the Graceful… material.
Disc #2 is profoundly different than disc #1, as it appears that Callenish Circle were a doom/death band in their earliest incarnation. The general pace of this album is much slower than anything else they’ve done, while the guitarwork is boiling over with somber melodies. Patrick’s vocals are deeper and more hollow than his typical bark. Select pieces remind me of Sentenced’s North From Here, but that’s far from a direct comparison. This is more refined. “Disguised Ignorance” is a standout track here, with a strong finishing solo capping off a song with epic riffing and mellow reprieves. The production has that early-90’s feel to it, clean but not sharp, with a stronger bass presence than is usually heard in the present. This material doesn’t match high watermarks like the early Katatonia releases, but it’s certainly competent.
Forbidden Empathy is a necessity to a Callenish Circle fan, to see the path they’ve traveled to become the band of today. As for the rest of you, over two hours of respectable metal, some melodic death, and some doom/death, for the price of one album is always a worthy deal. Kudos to the band for making good on the abundant promise they showed early on.
Register to post comments.
1/10/2006 Callenish Circle
My Passion // Your Pain
5/20/2003 Callenish Circle