Callahan

Callahan

Written by: AP on 13/01/2009 22:47:40

Let me begin this review by pointing out that no, this is not the Ohio-based pop rock band. Despite some conflict as to who adopted the name first, confusing the two would be an insult to Callahan's Canadian self, whose self-titled debut album quite frankly scrapes the floor with even the more established bands in the post-hardcore circles. In fact, to label it merely post-hardcore would do its ingenuity no justice as we shall see.

One defining difference between Callahan and most, strictly post-hardcore bands is a prevalent rock n' roll attitude that we rarely hear within the bitter wailing about broken hearts and revenge that are characteristic of the genre (no offense intended). Another is that the signature brootal note (1-0-1 on the E, A and D strings in drop tuning) and discord (3-0, 4-1 et al on the G and B strings) is used with much more caution and as much as it pisses me off, it works here to create a fine and often brief contrast to the melodic and clean parts. Speaking of melody: we're talking everything out of the ordinary here, because six songs in there has yet to be a boring part and it only gets better from there.

You see, these boys have quite the wit for writing songs. As soon as it even remotely sounds like now there can be no escape from repetition, they gear into outrageous mode with clever and playful passages that very few other bands can pull off with any conviction, and the progressive nature of the songs more or less guarantees that no song or part sounds quite like the other. A welcome, and in these circles unusual, add-on is a keyboard player, who, for the most part, takes on a supporting role in the sense that the keyboards aren't noticeably audible, but were they not there, one would instantly notice their absence. Their presence is, however, accentuated in the more progressive-minded and experimental parts and as such make all the difference between Callahan and your average whatevercore outfit.

The vocalist is at least as impressive as his band, able in most forms of vocal delivery from the deranged, if somewhat typical screaming to clean singing, and although the latter lacks range in the higher pitches, he sings with such conviction that it's hard to put him down for it, and given the drop tuned instruments, his voice never drowns in the music. That is, even though the band's guitarists play more or less two leads for much of the album and unleash a barrage of riffs the likes of which I bet my balls you will never have heard before. No, these are riffs in which every note matters, so if like me you're more than just a little tired of the ongoing battle to out-brutal and out-speed each other while ignoring the power of a tasty lick, prepare to be blown away.

Indeed, their innovative and quite frankly amazing guitar work makes you wonder why it is that across the border bands tend to settle for recycling each others' muted melodeath riffs and breakdowns, yet in Canada no band sounds quite like the other; even two like Callahan and Protest The Hero who stylistically have so much in common, yet musically share very little. As obvious as it is that the latter's music is a huge source of inspiration for Callahan, it's impossible to put a finger on any plagiarism of, or even, as pompous as it may sound, testimony to them here.

Callahan takes the creative drive and unpredictability of Between The Buried And Me and the youthful defiance of Protest The Hero, and puts them in a context that should be as scene-friendly as it should be interesting to fans of progressive metal. Had this album caught my ears earlier, it would almost certainly have found its way to my list of the most important releases of 2008, so the least I can do now is to hype this band to the skies and encourage each and every one of you, musical preferences aside, to buy this album.

9

Download: Zombie Walk - Cellphone Talk, Oh Chatwin, Where Art Thou?, Davenport, Say Goodnight And Go

For the fans of: Between The Buried And Me, Misery Signals, Protest The Hero

Listen: Myspace

Release date 08.05.2008

Moshpit Productions

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