Position | Momentum

rating icon 8.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Sul Dolore
02. Frantumi In Itinere
03. Eschilo
04. Tebe
05. Per Jamie
06. Ostranenie
07. Ex-Sistere
08. Seminario Dieci

If 2020's "The Eye Is The First Circle" was a concise act of scabby-lipped catharsis, "Position | Momentum" is what happens when the waves of vitriol never stop. CALLIGRAM continue to make some of the most vicious, black metal-adjacent music around, and when "Sul Dolore" erupts, it's instantly apparent that the Brits haven't mellowed in the slightest. It's a blizzard of icy hooks, delivered at crazy-eyed MARDUK speed and with a giant, swirling shit-vortex of crustiness and spite backing the whole thing up. "Frantumi In Itinere" is even more demented: from white-knuckle blasting to lurching, void-embracing doom, it's an object lesson in harnessing the spirit of the past and spewing it out with ruthlessly contemporary zeal.

When CALLIGRAM drop a melody, which they do with frequency, it becomes gradually or immediately enmeshed in the band's core of hateful, monochrome noise. "Eschilo" takes a more leisurely approach to slicing skulls open, but after an angular, artsy intro, it's brutal, blasphemous battery all the way, as a cyclone of blastbeats mutates into a stuttering, militant groove with ragged, post-punk trimmings. "Tebe" begins as a balls-to-the-wall blackened sprint, but is diverted down a strangely pretty backroad, dense with shadowy melody.

The second half of "Position | Momentum" is where CALLIGRAM really begin to flex their maverick muscles. Taut with sadness, "Per Jamie" is a brief but important interlude, with the screaming hostility dialed down for once. "Ostranenie" breaks the near silence, starting with another ridiculously pissed-off fast-blast with a queasy undertow. From nowhere, it veers off on a sickening D-beat and all blackened punk rock hell breaks loose, before a gorgeously bleak foray into doomy, brass-augmented post-rock melts every heart in the place.

CALLIGRAM are primarily concerned with ripping people's heads off, however. "Ostranenie" ends in grinding, slow-motion knife-fight mode, and leads into the frankly terrifying "Ex-Sistere": a startling collage of miraculous riffs and screams, and the closest thing this band have to an out-and-out black metal banger. The closing "Seminario Dieci" builds slowly, as if in a morbid reverie, but interrupted by a jolting burst of psychotic crust-punk that sets up a dramatic final riffing spree. As everything fades to hopeless black, non-Italian speakers may breathe a sigh of relief that they can't understand exactly what powerhouse vocalist Matteo Rizzardo is so incensed and tormented about. Whatever it is, it doesn't sound good. This album, on the other hand, sounds magnificent: abrasive, atmospheric and huge. Lord (Satan) knows what these maniacs will spew out next.

Author: Dom Lawson
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