Review Summary: A terrific attempt at originality, brought down by the lack of skills to truly execute it.
"Callahan" is a six-piece Post-Hardcore band based out of Vancouver, Canada. They consist of drums, bass, two guitars, keyboards, and of course, vocals. Influenced by bands such as Alexisonfire, Thrice, Misery Signals, and the Bled, Callahan has a unique style that sets them apart from other hardcore acts. Currently in an artist development deal with Moshpit Productions, also based out of Vancouver.
In a music scene over-run with breakdowns, scene kids, hardcore dancing and of course a serious lack of originality, Vancouver based band "Callahan" aims to break this sour trend. In hindsight, the band actually does break the typical routine that occurs in most metalcore/hardcore songs. The problem is that despite the fact that the idea is there, the band doesn’t actually make it sound as great as its potential suggests. The vocal style theoretically, is exactly the same as in every other metalcore band. The sing/scream/yell is still there, which could be a major turn off right away to anybody looking for good new music. To actually understand how different the vocal style is, one would have to actually hear the songs instead of just reading about them. Even the expected breakdowns and keyboard parts are still there but, again, is done so differently than anything I have ever heard that it's just not in my vocabulary to describe it. That being said, this is a music review and I will do my best.
"You're no daisy" starts off the album with an In Fear and Faith style, piano intro. The expected screaming then begins as the bands self titled album kicks off. The song is a good album opener but really holds nothing special. It clocks in at little more than a minute thirty. I must condone the band for the intro however because it actually had vocals in it. It seems to be becoming a trend in modern music to start of the album with a dull and useless intro that is nothing more than a throwaway track, with no base or foundation whatsoever. “Texas chain wheel” starts off with some God awful yelling vocals that are most likely only placed in the song to encourage crowd participation. The screaming itself is nothing special and really the song doesn’t get interesting until the clean vocals enter. Fortunately, we only have to wait about thirty seconds for them. The chorus is ridiculously catchy and likely to be a fan favourite at live shows. “You foul beast” follows up to the song and kicks off with some more awful spoken word vocals, not even yelled this time but spoken, in a very nasally voice that takes away from the songs energy before it even begins. The instruments are very well done in this song, making the otherwise boring vocals, somewhat exciting.
At this point in the review it dawned on me, this band could go very far if they found a new vocalist. The idea’s are there but are done poorly up to today’s standards.
“Zombie walk- cellphone talk” is the albums fourth track and in my opinion, the best track on the album entirely. Once the listener endures the poor vocals and even poorer lyrics at the beginning (lets get those panties off), we are met with a tempo change that you just know will encourage those skinny jean wearing scenesters to start swinging their arms around in circles. The track features guest vocals from Protest the Hero’s: Rody Walker. They are spot on and catchy enough for me to hike my balls up and try to sing along to Rody’s high pitched voice. The lyrics may be bad but the song is a lot of fun to listen to.
The next few tracks are very melodic and very well done. There are no extreme lows to them but no high’s either. A good listen but not very memorable. “Oswald cobblepot” may be my second favourite track off of the album. The instruments and even the vocals are great at the start and the pinch harmonics that enter later on are a nice touch. The cleans’ in this song sound oddly passionate compared to the rest of the album, almost like he sings from personal experience instead of last minute lyrics written on the back of a napkin the day of recording. The song is capable of giving the listener chills and though holds some sadder lyrics, finishes with a moment of triumph as if the speaker has overcome a great challenge. The breakdown also features many bass drops which fit perfectly to be honest with the emotional roller-coaster of a song that the listener just heard. “You had me convinced” does a good job of ruining any hope that the previous track just gave me as it kicks off with the lyrics “you don’t know me” being screamed with some more raspy vocal work.
The next few tracks are throwaways until we get to the albums conclusion: “Say goodnight and go.” The instrument work is enough to re-inspire the emotion I felt during Oswald cobblepot and is a good fit to end the somewhat mediocre album on a high note.
To me this album is really worth a 2.5 but I just can't give it that low of a rating since Callahan is a step in the right direction for the dying metalcore scene. I just hope they build off of the right aspects of the album and don't become another generic metalcore band in the future.
Zombie Walk- Cellphone Talk
Say Goodnight and Go