The London-based Multinational Extreme Metal quintet Calligram are back with a follow-up to their 2020’s debut studio full-length, The Eye Is The First Circle, in the shape of the eight-track, forty-one-minute sensory assault, Position | Momentum. Once again, Calligram are brutally melding Black Metal with Hardcore.
Calligram – Position | Momentum (Prosthetic Records)
Release Date: 14 July 2023
Words: Jools Green
As with the predecessor, the vocals are delivered in vocalist Matteo Rizzardo’s native Italian, which works so well. Delivered with passion and anguish, the deranged screams tear through you, making it an uneasy but rather brilliant listen, a fact Matteo wishes to make clear from the offset.
Position | Momentum is not about catharsis through music. This is not his therapy. “The hardest work for was done away from the band as he walked along a path of acceptance and self-analysis,” the band said. “As the burdens on his shoulders grew heavier and the darkness became all-consuming, he set out to understand, embrace and reclaim the darkest parts of himself.
“Position | Momentum documents his feelings looking back at troubled times – with clarity, acceptance, and yes – joy. Reflecting on his experiences with some emotional distance meant that the lyrics came easily, describing them as ‘flying out’ – a purging of sorts.”
Position | Momentum is “a caustic celebration of pain, death and chaos,” and Calligram throws you in at the deep end with opener Sul Dolore (On pain). A brutally fast, claustrophobically intense and overwhelming piece to open, dropping back to a bleak passage a minute and a half in, turning unnervingly sinister, and gradually building again in pace and anger as it progresses.
Frantumi In Itinere tears out of the back of its predecessor in an intense blackened assault on your senses, the driving riffs overlaid with a sea of tormented screams, midway through, plunging back into the darkest doomiest depths imaginable, the screams still echoing out of the blackness alongside a bleak melodic element.
Eschilo opens in complete contrast to its predecessors, on quiet, contemplative clean guitars but building with dark intent two minutes in into a blackened driving beast overlaid with superb protracted acidic screams, ebbing away towards the close, possibly my favourite track.
Tebe is another up-tempo driving beast from the offset, with maniacal leadwork and screams, made all the more dramatic when the pace drops back suddenly to a more reflective mood, but there’s still a fabulous intensity to the sound.
Per Jamie is a surprisingly ambient instrumental piece, slightly bleak but very reflective. But don’t get caught off guard as follow-up track Ostranenie arrives as a wall of drum battery, swiftly joined by searing riffs and acidic screams. But despite the flat-out delivery, a melodic undercurrent gives it an engaging quality. Then, just as you are grooving along with this frantic pace, it suddenly plunges into a bleak reflective swathe that, in some respects, reflects aspects of the previous instrumental.
It ebbs away to almost nothing, only to be replaced by another intense wall of riffs and acidic screams that develops an engulfing, suffocating intensity. An impressively varied track that surprises at every turn.
Ex-Sistere packs a punch from the offset. It’s intense, driving and filled with complex twists and turns, drops and builds and snarling acidic vocals, but always maintaining an almost overwhelming intensity to the sound.
The final piece, Seminario Dieci, has an extended hauntingly hypnotic and reflective opening that rapidly gathers pace as the restrained vocals arrive, dropping back in pace just when you think it’s going to go all “aural assault on your senses.”
Then just as you are reflecting on that, it does what you initially expected, breaking into an intense driving wall of riffs and screams, ebbing back to an unnervingly jangly passage before building again with the return of the vocal screams and snarls. I absolutely love this piece because it is so dramatic, so brutal and achieves such impressive extremes.
Position | Momentum will be available as a comic purple and blue vinyl, CD, cassette or digital download from Bandcamp and to stream via Spotify and Apple Music.