Peering into your soul
It’s few and far between that a debut LP makes an impact. Outside of all the classics, so many modern metal releases just don’t pack the same punch they use to. That doesn’t seem to be the case for Calligram, the London-based blackened metal/hardcore band with a handful of freakishly talented musicians from Brazil, France, Italy and the U.K. After two epically heavy EPs, their first full length The Eye Is The First Circle is one of those records that’s dialed into utter perfection—blackened riffs hit so hard they’re crispy, oral contributions are delightfully petrifying they cause shutters, and that D-beat styling of hardcore lays the perfect backdrop for their encrusted grind. What’s even better is they don’t hee and haw around to get to it. It all begins as soon as play is pressed.
Double kicks and tremolos drive “Carne” toward total carnage. It’s a strong track, but it’s not as though they’re showing their hands to early on in the game. Calligram has a certain way of keeping the same energy from seconds into the record until its final moments. That ability maintains cohesion throughout the tracks, despite some leaning more towards their black and grind metal side, while others toward a dark hardcore. “Serpe” and “Vivido Perire” are good examples of exactly this, respectively.
Then there’s “Kenosis,” which is relentless in its high level of dread. It’s slightly doomier than the other tracks, with a particularly ominous hook that feels like impending death. “Anedonia” is a bit gentler, for lack of a better adjective. It teeters on acoustic, though that slightly slower nature doesn’t detract from the album’s grim presence. If anything, it adds to it—Calligram uses this track to foster a bleak atmosphere worthy of a hall of fame. Its resonance hits a little bit different.
For a band with just two EPs tucked under their belt thus far, The Eye Is The First Circle is incredibly promising, speaking largely to what this band is truly capable of. The record is dismal and macabre in all the best ways.