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Callisto - True Nature Unfolds CD (album) cover



Experimental/Post Metal

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4 stars Just a short review: this album is essential for all the post-metal/sludge/doom/prog-metal fans, who enjoy bands like Isis, Cult Of Luna, Neurosis, Pelican and so on. There's actually very few bands (in comparison to other genres) who play this kind of music, and it's a good thing, because you should definitely check all of them out.

But this is a very good album on its own, so even if you're new to the genre, don't think twice before buying it. It's not extreme in any way (I mean, there's nothing that puts you off instantly, like blast-beats, heavy growls, 250 tempos), so most people will be able to appreciate it, yet, of course, it is a post-metal prog "whatever" album. What I meant by saying it's not extreme is simply that Callisto's music, while being really intelligent and interesting, remains quite accessible (in a non-pop way). You should just sit down, turn all distractions off and indulge. Sure, the music is quite weird, but believe me - you haven't heard anything like this before. It's divine and heavenly.

The music on this album in a nutshell is "basically" (not the right word as it's anything but basic): There's a central theme which slowly develops but rarely changes significantly, which is a very interesting concept, if you're new to this. I know it sounds boring, but try listening to it. It hooks you instantly: that's the magic. It starts slowly, with maybe a riff or a drumming pattern and then little-by-little, all the pieces get added to the flow, and then everything collapses on you with heavy distorted riffing, harsh vocals, then it goes back.

Songs maystart out with a heavy doom-ish riff coupled with some harsh vocal (it's neither really a scream not a growl; as I said, nothing extreme and it sounds appropriate to the music...), then goes into a melancholic melodic section, then back and so on. Again, sounds boring, but give it a try and you'll see how great it really is.

Basically, a long song kind of develops throughout the track, if you know what I mean. It's not so much separate sections, as in most prog and prog-metal, but a continuation and a development of one central theme.

Though some songs (especially on this album) have a standard kind-of intro-verse structure, yet it's still very original. Songs may have and generally do have several really beautiful sections, but that's the point, the overall feeling rarely changes significantly! I think that's great. Some prog just dashes from one section to another, and most of them are poorly if at all connected between each other.

Post-metal takes something, twists and changes and adds to it, but you still kind of feel the overall concept. So all the 9 minute songs really do flow effortlessly, unlike some self-indulgent prog. There's just not a point within a song where you can say, "Ok, this is too much. Next!". It's a more or less solid piece.

But I don't really know how else to describe this kind of music. When I discovered the genre, it seemed weird, a bit monotonous and kinda boring, but it took only a couple of listens (or, rather, one PROPER listen) to really appreciate the magic here. Sure, you need to be in the right mood to really enjoy this, but when the mood does strike, there's no substitute.

It's prog in a sense that it's "weird" (in a good way) and original, not in the complexity of the music. That's the key: there's none of that. Any more of less adequate guitarist will be able to play post-metal, but that's the point: to PLAY, but not to COMPOSE. This really is the key to understanding why Isis, Callisto and all the other post-metal bands are here, while being anything but your typical prog. They are prog in compositional terms, not in technical. There's no sweep picking and very few speed passages. Sometimes there's just a 3 note melody, but for God's sake - it's a godly melody, and I might be a bit excited, but with all due respect, Petrucci and Co. will never be able to compose any of this (same as Callisto will never be able and will never want to compose DT stuff). I just wanted to give you an understandable description of the genre.

This music is truly ATMOSPHERIC and enjoyable without being self-indulgent and daunting, like a lot of prog sadly is.

Ok, so basically my review is both a review of this album and short introduction to the genre, which I feel is required seeing how obscure it is even by ProgArchives standards (no reviews of this milestone album).

The album is highly recommended and is definitely a masterpiece of the genre (not of all prog, of course). In some ways it's much better than Isis, to be very honest. It's also more "direct" than Isis' latest album and much more "European" with lots of minor/dissonance harmonies. The song "Cold Stare" features a really cool and doom-ish sax solo. That ought to make you want to listen to the album, if anything. My policy is not to write a track-by-track review, because we have an ALBUM here, and it's not pop-music. You should consider this an ALBUM, a solid piece, rather than a collection of tracks. Sure, the tracks do differ, and it's anything but a concept album, but still... This is mostly atmospheric kind-of music, so it flows and develops nicely (both within the tracks and within the album).

This isn't a 5 star album, because it just isn't by the standards of this website. It's a very "special" kind of music even for prog-fans and so it's not gonna become something like The Dark Side Of The Moon or any other prog masterpiece. And it doesn't compare to them. It's just very different.

Yet I am going to give this album 4 stars (technically it's more like 4.5 but I can't give it 4). Of all the post-metal I have listened to, this is one of the best and one of the most original works. Sure, it has its flaws, but that's what makes it so good. Post-metal bands do tend to follow a strict kind of pattern, created by Neurosis and then Isis, but I feel "True Nature Unfolds" is a strong effort because it manages to be all that post-metal and atmospheric doom is, while still being kind of raw and, well, metal. Their sophomore album "Noir" is a bit more atmospherically, so give this a try. It's heavy enough to make you, well, \m/, yet it really is interesting enough for prog-fans.

Regardless if you're a fan of Isis, Neurosis or Cult Of Luna or other similar bands, or a person who accidentally stumbled upon this page, give this album a good try, if you enjoy truly touching music. I guarantee you are going to be impressed. Maybe not become a fan, but at least say, "Wow, this IS cool". Besides, it's so rare and underground even by prog standards (bar Isis, who are becoming kind of big), so you're gonna be some sort of pioneer.

A very, very enjoyable 4.5 star album recommended for everyone because it's a great representative of one of the most original metal and prog genres ever.

Report this review (#127904)
Posted Sunday, July 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Finnish band Callisto's first album presents a nice set of post-metal songs, many quite similar but still enjoyable. I'm not really that much experienced in the genre, nor usually a fan of it, but there is something in the mood Callisto songs give me that I notice myself returning to them every now and then. One thing I really dig in their style are the quiet parts, while often labelled almost a distraction or a necessary evil to have in metal (at least what I can tell from the writing style of some metallists), are actually many times the real essence of the sound of them. I also like the vocals which are not on the forefront and are sort of less growly than most growls in the heavier side of metal (not a fan of those, either). Songs on "True Nature Unfolds" usually evolve from the nice, peaceful moody parts (like the ones in "Storm") to banging, slow eight-note riffs which while interesting tend to be too repetitive for my tastes. While overall pretty enjoyable, as I said, there is nothing very memorable on this album. Therefore I would not recommend this album as a starting point for those wanting to check the band out, I much prefer their second "Noir". This is a nice album of "chillout evening metal" as I call it (some of you must know what I mean). Nothing more, nothing less.
Report this review (#921497)
Posted Saturday, March 2, 2013 | Review Permalink

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