Since 2011 the guys in what has become ‘Calligram’ have been writing aggressive, alternative hardcore in London. Morphing through members and band names, the current diverse line-up hailing from France, Italy, Brazil and the Basque Country, have started to garner some recognition from their EP, self-titled and self-released in December 2014.
However Calligram have reached this point, their collective experiences are now on fine display. This EP sounds like a band much further into their career, with a few releases and tours under their belts. It’s absolutely insane that this is their debut. To be at this level so early on in the bands life makes it look from the outside like they are taking short cuts with their music, but this EP is incredibly technical, and honestly far more advanced than it has a right to be.
Calligram have presented a wonderfully atmospheric, adventurous, and brutally heavy EP, akin to early 2000’s melodic thrash metal. Waves of epic post-hardcore and metal-core blend seamlessly with what sounds like a black metal background. Even after referencing all those genres, I would still refer to Calligram as primarily a hardcore band; the blend of styles have a feeling that’s encompassed under what is unmistakably a hardcore umbrella.
As musicians the band are obviously accomplished and purposeful in their song writing and all have the requisite skills to fully express their ideas. Some of the drumming and guitar playing in particular are top draw, offering multitudes of tremolo riffs and double pedal, never crossing the line into genre cliché. Third track ‘Strength In Numbers’ is a great example of a heavily immersive, aggressive experience, flowing through lavish sections like some kind of pissed off, rampant Mars Volta.
Production is spot-on, suiting the blend of styles well and accentuating intricacies that would otherwise go un-noticed. Calligram are mercifully tight as a band, which is vital to do these songs justice. A first EP usually shows potential and direction but fails to fully commit the listener due to sloppy playing or cheap sounding production, but Calligram have totally skipped this stage and moved straight to awe-inspiring first album territory.
My only gripe with this EP is that it is over too quickly, and as such you don’t get to fully appreciate what these guys indicate they are capable of. I would love to hear where they could go during a full-length release, which I’ve heard they are working on at the moment. You can see them live on Saturday the 8th of August in London, at Rooz studios. If you make it along come say hello to me, as I’ll be there with (metal) bells on.
(8/10 Kane Power)