Written by: PP on 14/02/2007 16:59:33

Every now and then albums arrive in our mailbox that just seem artistically incomparable to any other efforts in the recording industry. The beauty of it all is that the masterpieces barely ever originate from the same geographic location: Sweden's got Opeth and Cult Of Luna, US boasts with Mastodon and Tool, and now Finland has their underground heroes Callisto. Their newest album "Noir" is a follow up to their debut "True Nature Unfolds" which caused quite a stir in the underground music scenes for being remarkably similar to their Swedish colleagues from Cult Of Luna.

"Noir" certainly fortifies this belief. Callisto too has taken a seemingly quieter and more relaxed approach to their newest music like their Swedish counterparts, though without forgetting their depressingly heavy guitars and painstakingly slow growls, that are sparsely scattered across the eight mammoth-length tracks on the album. Many other bands in similar genres use vocals as their leading force to carry their music forward, but Callisto is not one of these bands. The tracks on "Noir" instead take use of impressive instrumentation and melancholic atmospheres to demonstrate incredible growth on all aspects from their debut album.

It would serve little purpose to go through the six to ten minute tracks each on their own, because the band's attention to detail on chord progressions or mood- and tone-switches is simply too accurate. While listening to one of the more orchestral tracks like "Latterday Saints" you are able to hear the detailed perfection on the vast soundscapes the band creates by using unconventional structures and everlasting progression, without forgetting to mention the cleverly constructed interlude passages mid-song.

The few times Callisto's vocalist opens his mouth you immediately think of Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth) and his ability to use his voice as an instrument instead of just as a tool to deliver the lyrics with. This is also true on the "Noir" songs, where the lyrics--inspired heavily by Christianity by the way--are few and far between, and can indeed pass by unnoticed as the roaring growls blend together with the heavily down-tuned guitar distortion. It's a shame though, because the talent in the lyrical department is there. Just read this quote from the short interlude track "Backwoods", which I find best demonstrates the lyrical capability of the band, regardless of your stance on religion and Christianity: "Measure the gifts that have been given to you / Either you choke or cherish him".

With all the above considered, you shouldn't be surprised when I state that Callisto isn't for everybody. To truly be appreciative of their kind of complex doomy atmospheric metal, one must place a lot of effort not only because the songs are over six minutes in length each, but because on the first couple of listens it's simply impossible to note all the tiny details that make this album what it is - a true beauty in the dark world of metal.


Download: Pathos, Latterday Saints, The Fugitive
For the fans of: Cult Of Luna, Saturnus, Neurosis
Listen: Myspace

Release date 16.05.2006
Fullsteam Records

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