Callenish Circle - Pitch Black Effects - 2006 - Metal Blade
1. This Day You Regret 2. Ignorant 3. Behind Lines 4. Schwarzes Light 5. Sweet Cyanide 6. Blind 7. Guess Again 8. Self-Inflicted 9. As You Speak 10. Pitch Black
Callenish Circle's new album "Pitch Black Effects" is a perfect example of how a producer can make or break a recording, or extend the lifespan of a band or artist. Callenish Circle have made some waves coming into this studio session, but in my opinion have never quite broken into that marquee of stars, headlined by the stage extraordinaire Soilwork. While plenty of bands get really close to the bright lights and big city, CC thus far has fallen just a "wee-bit" short. Their previous two albums in "Flesh, Power, Dominion" and "My Passion/Your Pain" were well received and garnered the band heaps of press praise, leading the band to several large tours and a gig at Ozzfest in Europe. Now the group return to the studio with what I would consider their most mature work to date, a winning formula that is soaked to the bone with a rich, textured atmosphere that is both enduring and entertaining.
Without producer Gail Liebling (Gail Of God), "Pitch Black Effects" would probably be just "okay" if not "good". It has the bombastic drum drills, the high and low screams, a great sense of melody and groove, and some thought provoking lyrics. At times the band extend well beyond the delights found on their last two albums, really moving into more complex and well arranged structures that really define today's "thinking man's metal". But with Leibling behind the control panel, the good turns great.
Leibling of course gives this whole recording an awe inspiring production job, completely understanding the mechanics and technical precission needed for an album like this. The whole record sounds absolutely amazing, almost as if one is competing for sonic authority in a factory of tumbling metal gears. But beyond that extraordinary sound comes Leibling's injection of his own voice and vision. CC here hand some creative control over to their producer, allowing Leibling to insert some much needed electronics and synths, never enought to completely absorb the album, but just enough to allow atmosphere and depth. That is what these types of bands need at this point. Once they run the gauntlet of speed and power, they need something a bit more to extend their plays to the complacent listener. CC have done that and in turn changed the course of their sound into a whole new level of listening entertainment.
Bottom Line - Callenish Circle, with the help of producer Gail Leibling and mixing by Tue Madsen (The Haunted, Disbelief), have established a higher level of being. "Pitch Black Effects" is one for the ages, a powerful, emotional release that weighs in with the same leadership and authority as In Flames, Soilwork, and Opeth.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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