Callus – Through Blood,Sweat, Piss And Pain EP
Release Date: 26/03/2017
Running Time: 15:44
Review by Beth Jones
When I hear the words ‘Thrash’, ‘Stoner’ or ‘Doom’, I can be known to pull a face of overwhelming underwhelmedness. Its not usually my bag, but then you don’t usually get the whole lot in one fell swoop! Until now!
The debut EP from our tip for the top, Lancashire based CALLUS, is a weird and whacky meld of all of the above, with added classic heavy metal, and even a bit of punk to boot! It is 3 tracks of fast paced, grove laden, bass driven, riff loveliness, with an interesting concept intro and outro to book end the main tacks.
With obvious influences of Metallica and Megadeth, the first track, ‘Chimp Militia’, kicks off big time from the outset, in classic thrash style, with over driven guitar at a pace, being joined by bass and drums after a few bars. You think you are safe in the knowledge this is a solid thrash tune, then all of a sudden, the chorus comes and slaps you with some punk, with Louis Clarke and Ben Wormwell delivering ‘call and response’ style vocals. Then, as quickly as it started, it stops! If you weren’t listen at the beginning, you will certainly be giving it your full attention now!
‘Cycloid’ is up next – this is much more classic, very early Metallica, but with an added twist of Doom with Louis’ versatile vocal style; low growls to high screams, yet again ripping up the rules in favour of something new! One thing that Callus don’t seem to fuss about is intricate solos – there is no need for them in their music – but this one does have an extra little dash of guitar noodling half way through, as the tune cycles in a repetitive loop before speeding up, as the name would suggest! The rhythms really are the back bone of their music, not just in the percussive sense, but across the whole band, and that couldn’t be truer than in this song, which has very hypnotic qualities deep within its repetitiveness.
Then just as you were getting comfortable with thrash-doom, up pops a jaunty stoner-doom-thrash-sic piece, ‘The Root Of All Evil’, to really break your mind. A full on mix of the elements with some very slow, heavy stoner doom sections that give you an eerie sense of an impending apocalypse, combined with classic and thrash metal progressions, and Ben’s ridiculously heavy vocals, again backed up by insane rhythms, making the whole thing feel like you are going down a steep hill a bit faster than you probably should be, and suddenly have no control over your legs anymore. It is sublimely mental! I AM A HUGE FAN OF IT!!!
These three tracks, coupled with the soundbites from public information broadcasts of the cold war era, really take you on a journey into some odd, hallucinogenic, nuclear armageddon of the mind in a way that I am not sure I have seen a band of their young years do before. They are certainly musically very wise and create pieces to a standard way beyond that which the relative infancy of their band would suggest. I have to remind myself sometimes when I listen to Callus that they are a very new band, with this EP only being released last year, and them having been basically Louis and Ben with a succession of drummers for pretty much the entire of their five year old career. The percussion on this self-produced EP, as well as the mixing, was provided by Mark Johnson, however he has since left the line-up and new drummer, Ryan Ormerod, has more than filled his shoes.
Personally, I am pretty much convinced that they are all wizards, as none of the above should work at all, let alone as brilliantly as they have made it work on this EP, and in the live performances we have seen of them. As a debut EP, this is stunning. They have really set the bar. Their song writing is superb, their musicianship sublime and complete, and their production values intelligent and thoughtful, making them the full package; the real deal. They are a breath of fresh air in a saturated market and I really hope that their hard work and individuality pays off, and they carve out a brilliant career for themselves, as they thoroughly deserve it!
02. The Chimp Militia
04. The Root Of All Evil
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