Review Summary: Isis and Neurosis knock off adds enough experimentation in their sound to make a solid album, but not a superb one.
Callisto’s sound is lumbering. It’s like watching a movie clip on repeat. While metal tinged with a slow dynamic build up is something Isis and Neurosis perfected, Callisto is a band that’s willing to take the rule book their influences written for them and add a few new regulations. With the inclusion of subtleties such as saxophone playing and female vocals, Callisto helps step outside the lines of what is a pretty tired genre. Markus Myllykanga, lead vocalist pretty much sounds the same as every other vocalist in his brand of metal, but at times he does show the influence of black metal in his growls. Basically, Callisto is able to take the basic sound of their genre and add enough new elements to their sound to help them sound fresh.
“True Nature Unfolds” is a mix of prolonged progressive epics, atmospheric interludes and the occasional just plain metal song. While the album is obviously designed to work as an organic unit, the quality of the tracks lend the listener to be able to listen to them completely with drawn from the album’s context. In essence though, like their contemporaries, Callisto’s work sounds very much like one long stretched out track. The riffing and tones on the album are all very similar and gorgeous, and it’s tough to pick a highlight, but if pressed, I must say the beauty that the track “ Caverns of Khafka” possesses is significantly different from the mood of the rest of the album. Most of the time when I find Callisto’s brand of sludgy metal beautiful, it’s because of the intimate relation between the detuned rhythm section and an airy guitar part (Mare’s “Tropics”), but Callisto’s sound is much more reliant on the epic build of post-rock, which is clearly evident in “Caverns of Khafka”.
Important to note is the production of “True Nature Unfolds” which is overseen by Nasum guitarist, the late Miesko Talarczyk. Callisto’s sound could’ve easily been botched had Talarczyk chosen to take the route of over produced progressive metal, or the route of the lo-fi grindcore sound he is known for. Instead, Callisto’s sound is giving just enough leverage to make room for the barrage of vivid and aggressive tones, while still not having the typical sheen of most modern metal. Because of the expert production, Callisto is given the chance to be extremely heavy when called for, as well as being very subtle and beautiful when it is called for.
Although, “True Nature Unfolds” hypnotic and repetitive nature is a clear mark of its genre, it certainly can be a bit underwhelming at times. Had the band chosen to experiment with some different genres, or perhaps even some different styles of riffing, they could’ve created in my opinion, a flawless record. While this is certainly part of their genres’ sound, I do find at times bands like Callisto are more willing to sacrifice substance for style. Despite this, repetition issue Callisto is definitely an interesting and provoking band in the genre of “post-metal”, with a bit more fine tuning and a little more eagerness to experiment, they could in my opinion rival the sounds of the other two legends in their genre, Isis and Neurosis.