I’m not one for subgenres. I mean, I understand why they exist and how they appear to explain why Exodus sounds differently from Sleep all while still operating under the Heavy Metal umbrella, but I think we’re too preoccupied with the minutiae of the subgenres; we’re too busy defending the merits of our style against the perceived weaknesses of the others. That’s why it very refreshing to attempt to make sense of the sounds on Calligram’s Askesis (Basick).
I was passed along Askesis with the notion that it was a Black Metal album. Cool, I like Black Metal and most of its niche sub-categories, but I notice that this album gets its affairs over within just half an hour. Strange, I thought Black Metal was too self-serious for shortened run times. Then I play ‘Della Mancanza’ and immediately take in riffs and tempos in the vein of a Converge or Zao single. The mere thought of Metallic Hardcore mingling with Black Metal riffs is grounds for exile in certain pockets of the internet. Perceived blasphemy aside, you cannot deny its catchiness and impact.
While attempting to readjust my brain, I get hit with ‘Sinking into Existence’ which also indulges in frostbitten tremolos, only to segue rapidly into Gojira levels of groove and staccato pound. Expect the unexpected has now become the mantra and when the Thrash Metal sneaks into ‘Scourge’, I am slightly more prepared, but still floored by the attack. ‘Murderess’ acts as an acoustic palate cleanser for the grindcore power-surge that is ‘Entwined’.
Album closer ‘Lament’ is probably the closest to conventional in terms of song structure, but its certainly not a knock. Bassist Smittens leads the mid-tempo charge and is backed up by rows of sawing rhythm guitars and crashing cymbals.
Under what category, classification, or what have you does Calligram fall under? I don’t know, that’s for the dummies in the comment sections to decide. Just know that its awesome and we need more of it.