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Forbidden Empathy

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Album Review

Melodic death metal, like its sibling symphonic black metal, has a reputation for being a largely Scandinavian phenomenon — Scandinavian as in At the Gates, Age of Ruin, and Opeth; Scandinavian as in the Haunted, Khold, In Flames, and Children of Bodom. But largely Scandinavian doesn't mean exclusively Scandinavian, and noteworthy examples of melodic death metal bands can also be found in other parts of Europe as well as North America. In Holland, Callenish Circle has enjoyed a cult following since the '90s, although the Dutch headbangers didn't acquire many U.S. fans until they started recording for Metal Blade in 2002. Focusing on their pre-Metal Blade output, this two-CD set contains 29 songs that the band's North American fans may be unfamiliar with; all of the material was released in Holland in the '90s but not in the United States or Canada — and that material comes from 1996's Drift of Empathy (Callenish Circle's first official album) and 1999's Graceful Yet Forbidding as well as the 1995 demo Lovelorn. Some Americans think that 2002's Flesh Power Dominion was the first Callenish Circle album, but while that disc was their first U.S. release, the recordings on Forbidden Empathy preceded Flesh Power Dominion by three, six, or seven years — recordings that illustrate Callenish Circle's ability to provide a healthy balance of musicality and bombast. The most extreme thing about Forbidden Empathy is the vocal style; Callenish favors the type of deep, guttural, ominous growl that death metal is known for. But while the vocals are pure death metal, the song structures are right out of power metal and thrash. Forbidden Empathy isn't as essential as the band's Metal Blade output, but even so, American and Canadian fans who became addicted to Callenish Circle thanks to Flesh Power Dominion or 2003's My Passion Your Pain will find a lot to enjoy about this pre-Metal Blade material.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Dutch death metal band Callenish Circle rose from the ashes of an earlier band named Genocide circa 1992. Singer Patrick Savelkoul and guitarist Jos Evers worked with countless different lineups before finding stability two years later with the arrival of guitarist Ronny Tijssen, bassist John Gorissen, and drummer Gavin Harte. After fleshing out their sound for another year or so, the quintet recorded 1995's "Lovelorn" demo, which was voted demo of the month by Holland's most respected heavy metal...
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Forbidden Empathy, Callenish Circle
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