posted on 3/2006 By:
Callenish Circle’s ability to create a distinctive sound in a genre that’s so flooded with hacks and pretenders is without a doubt one of their greatest achievements. Put Pitch.Black.Effects side by side with the latest releases from In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, The Haunted, or Soilwork and there’s an immediate sense of uniqueness that sets it apart from its contemporaries. Callenish Circle take a more muscular, blue-collar approach to melodic death metal, and on their latest release (the third on Metal Blade), it works wonders.
The poignant guitar melodies that have been a hallmark of European metal since the beginning of time are in full force (tasteful full force, thankfully), but accompanying them is an absolutely devastating – and entirely unexpected – crunch. Not a “crunch” of the New England hardcore variety either, but rather one that delivers a punch and a sense of heaviness that’s actually deserving of the comparison to a snorting, snarling, bestial creature. Make no mistake: while Pitch.Black.Effects places a great deal of emphasis on melodic leads and riffing, it has no trouble holding its own in terms of heaviness.
Adding to the appeal of the overall package is a sparse arrangement of industrial elements that make infrequent appearances in songs like “Schwarzes Licht”, “Sweet Cyanide”, and closer “Pitch Black”. Normally, I’m fairly averse to industrial touches, but since they are used so sparingly and placed so perfectly here, I found that they added to the atmosphere rather than detracted from it. Vocalist Pat Savelkoul spends the majority of the album leaning towards the Tomas Lindberg section of the vocal spectrum, but – dare I say it – I think he sounds better than the man himself. As with the rest of the music, Savelkoul’s style is heavier and more muscular than his contemporaries – his growls are deeper, his screams more controlled and more powerful.
The single issue I have with Pitch.Black.Effects is that some of the riffs seemed to make multiple appearances on the album (“This Day You Regret” and “Sweet Cyanide”, along with “Guess Again”). However, all of the parts are so well done that I actually didn’t mind hearing them over again, which says a great deal of how much effort Callenish Circle put into writing each individual riff.
The bottom line on this one: check out Pitch.Black.Effects if you like heavy music in the least bit. This Netherlands metal band doesn’t get near as much credit as the other genre titans mentioned at the beginning of this review, but with any luck Pitch.Black.Effects will net them some of the credit they so clearly deserve.
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Forbidden Empathy (2 Discs)
1/25/2005 Callenish Circle
My Passion // Your Pain
5/20/2003 Callenish Circle