Review: Callus ‘A Breath Of Flesh Air’

Callus are back with album number two, A Breath Of Fresh Air, which is set for release as they hit the road for a few UK dates with Trepanation Records label mates Karellen for one hell of a juicy line-up. The album itself is littered with some of the best breaks of the year, with each track bookended by a driving rhythm rooted in a hard rocking stoner style garnished with an 80s metal/thrash vibe.

Callus ‘A Breath Of Flesh Air’

I would even go as far to say that the breaks in Callus are the inspiration for the existence of each song and are what bring you back for more. The drumming throughout is impressive as Sam Kelly transitions from solid beats, to flurries of fills, and double kicks to blend into those tasty, tasty breaks, which would be worth the price of admission to see at the aforementioned tour. From the first few notes, you just know it’s going to be a filler-less record with energy as every riff delivers across the album.

The air is cut with album opener Molar Crown as guitarist and singer Louis Clarke switches between shouted growls and a verse style that has a very faint Black era James Hetfield feel to it. This leads into our first break that even finds the time to woof whistle at you, as all the fury is stripped back only to be re-asserted, then taken away again for the thick finale. It’s a perfect introduction to the Callus style.

The album continues with the infectious single Ka-Tet that would sit comfortably alongside Mastodon’s The Hunter era. It’s a song that slowly inches further and further onto the backbeat until it launches itself full-forward out of each chorus.

From the first few notes, you just know it’s going to be a filler-less record with energy as every riff delivers across the album…

The thundering gallop of Cinderstella is pushed up against the Sorrow Banes shuffle. The contrast in styles is personified by Clarke’s aggressive vocals in the former, with clean, drawn-out syllables in the latter. Toadfish opens with a classic 80s metal style riff that is then surprisingly blended with cleaner guitars to give it an almost 80s metal gypsy vibe. It’s a trick that is then successfully repeated in the second half of the song.

Fatberg is where Callus nails everything together in a ten-minute epic that is one part knife fight at a circus, one part mosh pit ready banger, and a sludgy progressive funeral song. If the seven-track album was seven remixes of this song, there wouldn’t be many complaints as every musician contributes and evolves with the track until the last notes of the fadeout dissipate.  

Callus’ Breath of Fresh of Air has produced an album that constantly surprises as each break starts a different tangent but doesn’t confuse, or lose, the listener. Sam Kelley’s excellent work on the skins is key to this with Clarke’s vocal versatility adding differing shades, befitting the cover art with its red stars and mountain landscapes. This should culminate in an energetic live show that will have plenty of punters moving.

Label: Trepanation Recordings
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Maxx