Ladies, gentlemen, and those people that do high-kicks in mosh pits, welcome to the fuzzy soundtrack of the apocalypse. In the vein of Guilt Machine and Mastodon , Callisto have created a doomy, melancholy album (mostly consisting of tracks over the 5 minute mark) that resonates with the angsty voice in the back of everyone’s heads with an undulation and proggyness that will leave you staring out of many a window in the rain.
‘Pale Pretender’ immediately sets the tone for the trip ahead, with distorted bass, commanding vocals, and rock-solid percussion. With small eastern inflections reminiscent of early (actually-good) Breed 77, it does not leave a listener left wanting. Callisto proceed to throw a spanner in the works with ‘Backbone’. The 6/4 intro coveys a feeling of unease that stays throughout the next few tracks. The vocals here are a mixed bag – spectacular ethereal cleans juxtaposed with the unfortunately weaker screams.
There are a few opportunities afforded by Callisto that really allow the music to speak for itself and solidify the melancholy vibe. The euphoric build-up of ‘Acts’, followed by the otherworldly soundscape of ‘The Dead Layer’ would be right at home in a Beardfish record. This is echoed in ‘Old Souls’ – albeit slightly marred by a sub-par screaming section.
‘Lost Prayer’ is more about the bass than Meghan Trainor and chunkier than a good peanut butter. The extra percussion is one of a myriad reasons this is the absolute gem of the album, with its tendency for minor reprises and swelling guitar work complimenting the reverb-heavy vocal performance. ‘Breasts of Mothers‘ follows, with ominous swells and a big finish that I had been waiting all album for. It is where, however Callisto’s formula starts to become a little repetitive, with the overuse of syncopated snare rhythms becoming a minor distraction from otherwise sterling work.
It is the tail end of the album that feels a little lack lustre in places. An honourable mention goes to ‘Grey Light‘, which has an artful mastery of almost making the listener bored, but bringing them right back to attention through clever stylistic choices and odd vocals. This may sound like a bad thing, but that’s not the intention – Callisto have managed to create a big fuzzy monster that is only scary when you look at it. This is an album for train journeys, long walks alone, and quiet introspection. You owe it to yourself to pick this up and go outside for a while.
I’ve never heard of Callisto, but they sound great! Their album, Secret Youth, will be available via Svart Records on February 2nd. Check out their Facebook. They also look like a nice bunch of lads.
Jani Ala-Hukkala – vocals
Juho Niemelä – bass
Ariel Björklund – drums
Arto Karvonen – keyboards
Tero Holopainen – guitar
Markus Myllykangas – guitar