15 Aug 2023 - Thorsten
Blackened Hardcore | Black Metal | Prosthetic Records | Release date: 14 Jul 2023 | Favorite song: Ostranenie
Not even one breath, not even one second, not even that long – and you‘re already sucked in deep into Calligram‘s second full-length Position | Momentum. Amazingly the record holds up to that phenomenal pull effect.
What do you get if you throw five guys from four countries across two continents into a room? Well, Blackened Hardcore or Atmospheric Black Metal, of course! Calligram and their music is quite a wondrous work, because the guys deliver with each record, heck even with each song, no fillers included. Position | Momentum does not stray from that sentiment in any way, because there is something to love in each track.
To explain the opening sentence: The opening track ”Sul Dolore” (Italian for “About Pain”) opens with exactly that: After a tiny fraction of static waitfulness we can hear Matteo Rizzardo take a short breath and then it all unloads in the first moment of full blast mode attack. This war-like approach lasts for more or less exactly a minute and then one witnesses a clever shift towards a highly atmospheric part with many swirling, semi-crescendo guitar lines delivered by Bruno Cambiaghi and Tim Desbots who effectively notch it up a bit again going through the second half of the track. Matteo is either whispering seductively or screaming willfully into our ears about the pain we all endure during our time here on Planet Bound-for-Extinction. Both ways make sense.
Matteo is using his mother tongue Italian for his vocal duties and even though one might only understand parts of the songs or song titles (they should really come with a translation) one half of his intentions become obvious: the world is a dark and lonesome place and one should better beware of its fear-inducing, soul-crushing anger and meanness. Nevertheless, Matteo also tries to deliver another side to it all: Where there is darkness, there must be light, for one cannot be without the other. Thus, there must be a beacon at the end of all of this pain, we just have to get to it without losing our minds.
Musically, the record follows a similar pattern – where there is D-Beat there must also be some lighter moments, some pauses. Not only for taking a breath, but also in order to make sense of all the things we have heard before, all the pain that we were splattered with. On Position | Momentum these are the calmer moments within the tracks but also more obviously two tracks called ”Per Jamie” and “Ostranenie” (something like “alienation” or “estrangement”) and both tracks not only follow each other, but both form a certain kind of duality in itself: ”Per Jamie” is the shorter one with only 2:23 minutes and is basically nothing but a Flugelhorn composition delivered by Freddie Benedict. ”Ostranenie” is nearly thrice as long with 7:02 minutes but also containing three parts: The first one is a blastbeat bite that slowly creeps up on you but you can’t hide from it anyway, the second part is another Flugelhorn passage by Freddie and the third one is another full D-Beat disembowelment. So we basically get the following sequence: calm Flugelhorn – angry blast beat – soothing yet ominous Flugelhorn – disastrous D-Beat-blast. The synchronicity is striking and undeniable, this is what makes record more than “just good” - this kind of thing makes them outstanding.
That the record ends on the melancholic ”Seminario Dieci” (“Tenth Seminar”) and not on a raging riffage-wreckage is a sign that Calligram totally understands that records that only know full-throttle, pedal to the medal are only fun once, but that “fun” effect surely wears off in most cases. You need some change and dynamics otherwise you must either be masters at what you do or you will refrain in oblivion and vanish in darkness. This record knows dynamics, effect and even has a kind of positive message – and will be remembered. For more than a second or a breath!