Released on November 24th, Calligram’s debut record Askesis is a dark brooding example of blackened hardcore. The combination of slow more expansive elements and the unadulterated fury of faster more extreme parts, will take the listener on a dark artistic journey. Being only six tracks long, there is no filler with each song bringing something new and unique to the table.
Opening song Della Mancanza opens with the distinct viciousness that is often associated with blackened hardcore, however as it progresses the song slows to add increasing depth to the emotional anguish that is so thematic of this record. Throughout the record the psychotic, tortured vocal style of frontman Matteo Rizzardo works in a perfect harmony with the varying yet constantly dark soundscape. A prime example of this is on lead single Scourge, where Rizzardo opens the song with a villainous combination of laughing and screaming, that would not be out of place of a horror movie sound board. A vocal style which is bought forward more later on in the song as Rizzardo begins almost speaking the lyrics, rather than the typical shrieking that he employs.
The sheer weight and pummelling nature of this album owes a lot to the production. With the mixing being seamless and thus allowing Calligram’s dark style of blackened hardcore to be emphasised to full effect. The use of a slow interlude like song in Murderess gives the listener a breather before the audible assault of the final two tracks; the bruising Entwined and the behemoth of a closing track that is Lament. Lament itself being a contender for one of the best blackened hardcore songs of 2017.
In a scene where blackened hardcore is ever growing, Calligram have released a statement of intent with Askesis. The record is expansive, pushes boundaries without over stepping any. The slower parts maintain the dark torturous nature of the album whilst the faster elements pummel you with the force of multiple hurricanes. Each song is a journey and together they create one of the best blackened hardcore records of the year.