Home > Albums > View

Callenish Circle Pitch.Black.Effects

[ 6,707 views ]
Callenish Circle - Pitch.Black.Effects
1. This Day You Regret
2. Ignorant
3. Behind Lines
4. Schwarzes Licht
5. Sweet Cianide
6. Blind
7. Guess Again
8. Self-Inflicted
9. As You Speak
10. Pitch Black
2006 Metal Blade Records

OUR SCORE
5
Reviewed by: Dave Fonseca   //   Published: 4/26/2006

In my mind, there are two albums that capture all the possibilities of the "second wave" of melodic death metal. They are, Nightrage's Sweet Vengeance and Callenish Circle's My Passion // Your Pain. Both albums took the formula laid down by At the Gates on Slaughter of the Soul and brought it somewhere entirely unique, modern and worthwhile. Last year, Nightrage's Descent into Chaos was almost unanimously received by fans and critics as a decent, but unworthy follow-up to their classic debut, due to it's streamlined and ironically Americanized sound. And, I'm guessing reactions to Callenish Circle's latest, Pitch.Black.Effect, will be similar.

For the past five years or so I've considered Callenish Circle melodic death metal's best kept secret. And it's somewhat sad to me that as this band's star has slowly started to rise, the genre they so skillfully and unabashedly represent is getting put on the back burner by metalheads looking for something a bit more intrepid. Either way, there's not a band out there that has played this style more honestly than Callenish Circle. Their early works are an interesting footnote in the mid 90s melodic death metal scene, fitting comfortably alongside the works by bands like Dark Tranquillity, Embracing, or Eternal Tears of Sorrow. However, 2003's My Passion // Your Pain was the band's definitive statement. More thrashy and undoubtedly more influenced by At the Gates than their earlier work, the album saw the band stripping every unnecessary influence and playing the kind of melo-death they loved, and playing it very well.

Think of Pitch.Black.Effect as My Passion // Your Pain on decaf. The sleek, modern production is there, and so are the tight performances. Unfortunately, the certain X-factor that allowed this band to get away with playing obviously derivative music and still sounding like they invented the form is gone. The riffing here is almost embarrassingly stock; not all that surprising, as there's really only so much you can do on the fretboard in this style. But, not only have I heard these riffs before, I've heard them from Callenish Circle before. Disappointing, as I have always considered these guys some of the best riff writers in the genre. The concise pentatonic riffing on songs like "This Day you Regret" and "Guess Again," are performed ever so faithfully, but sound dreadfully dated. Pretty bad, considering this genre was only solidified ten or so years ago. Other tracks seem to lurch forward devoid of the intensity that is this band's real selling point. Listening to "Ignorant," the main question that comes to my mind is, "What's the point"

However, there are other points where the band's natural talent shines through and almost redeems the rest of the album. Almost. The riffing on "Behind Lines" is undeniably Gothenburg, but is also so bright and fluid that I can't help but enjoy it. "Self Inflicted" actually presents a break from the formula, as a serpentine lead slithers all over a churning guitar riff. But these songs are the exception among a group of solid but forgettable tunes.

Bottom Line: This is regression, plain and simple. It's not a sell-out: there's no clean singing or breakdowns. There's no female backup vocals or nu-metal riffs, either. But, there's also no ambition either -- just a band riffing through the motions. Die-hard fans might be able to enjoy this, because there's really nothing awful about it. However, for a band that has traditionally challenged themselves and improved with every release, Pitch.Black.Effect sounds to me like an under achieving disappointment.

Comments
anaturaldisaster_   posted 5/1/2006 6:28:07 PM
Good record, riffs get a little repetitive on occasion but still above average.
you_are_the_experiment_   posted 4/27/2006 8:24:06 PM
nice review, shit band.
I_AM_FUCK_   posted 4/27/2006 7:56:11 AM
This band has always been f*cking average at best.
hxcobd_   posted 4/27/2006 4:06:07 AM
Callenish Circle's older album is f*cking great.
Coley Thrash_   posted 4/26/2006 8:58:41 PM
STOP TALKING ABOUT AT THE GATES!

view all 6 comments