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Label: Nigra Mors

Date: January 27th, 2024

This could easily turn into the shortest review I’ve ever done. Two reasons (obviously). First, Calignosia performs music I know nothing about. Second, I’ve already reviewed Xerión’s part of this split release a few days ago, and there’s nothing I can add here. Period.

But I’m a stubborn maniac and there is absolutely no way the rest of Abaddon Magazine crew would forgive me if I just post a single paragraph. So, this is the second one. Period.

Just kidding. I am, though, at a loss for words about Calignosia. As far as I understand, it is a one-man band whose primary focus lies in crafting epic melodies for heroic tales. Basically, it is called dungeon synth and I can hardly remember having heard more than maybe two bands delving in this genre. Not that there aren’t more and not that there aren’t any good ones. I just never got into the whole ambient scene, so I’m an almost perfect stranger to this type of music.

Oh, do introductions to thousands of non-genre-specific albums count? I’m kidding once again.

Calignosia doesn’t joke around, that’s for sure. Seeing a collection of nine releases published in the span of just three years, I’m witnessing a hard-working individual hellbent on the idea of setting a background soundscape to scenery of monolithic proportions. Whether successful or not, I’m hardly the right person to ask. Perhaps it’s some of the best music that the cinema is missing out on and maybe Calignosia already made a debut in a movie theatre, I’m not sure. For all I know, it could be a dreadfully derivative rip-off from multitude of super talented individuals or even whole orchestras. I just don’t know.

What I do know is that these six songs originate from year 2022, originally published as an album of the same name you can read above. Already from the title you can deduce that Galizia, the northwestern region of the Iberian Peninsula, is the main character of Calignosia’s creation on this recording. As far as I can tell, these tunes should be depicting the very soul of the region, from its glorious past, proud heritage and heirloom, to the natural riches enveloping it whole. Naturally, one can easily spot influences from folklore and Gregorian chanting, gothic and baroque elements… Using a variety of instruments (real or sampled, again, it’s beyond my knowledge), I would date say that Calignosia manages in its primary goal. To my untrained ears at least, this sounds tranquil, serene, enchanting.

Not a long time passes and quiet contemplation disperses in the form of Galizia’s best kept secret. Xerión is one of the bands I was thinking about when I mentioned above that I’ve heard a few ambient or dungeon synth records. They have done it already and are not afraid of doing it again, as often as the inspiration calls for. On this particular occasion, Xerión uses ambient samples and “non-metal” instruments only to emphasize their trademark brand of crude, raw and explosive black metal of death. Not unlike Calignosia, Xerión also uses folklore motifs, though much more hidden from the surface, to portray Galizia and its deepest, darkest secrets.

“Sombras nas pedras do Dragom do Tempo” is a part of Xerión’s “Demos do Kaos” series, so this time too they have guests helping them celebrate two decades of band’s existence. Bass guitar was handled by César Valladares (best known for adorning many albums covers with majestic images, but also for his bass lines in Decapitated Christ) and drums were pounded to death by Txomy (Loita Underground, Strangled With Guts, Corteza Inhumana, Frenopátiko pub…).

As such, they are both marked as veritable “brothers in arms” that keep the story of Galizian extreme metal alive all these years. It’s a privilege for your (not so) humble reviewer to be among such fine gentlemen!

And on that note, I would like to end this attempt at a review by inviting you into this mystical and mythical journey through the Galizian lands. It’s all here, the peace and quiet and the nervous warmongering. Everything that makes a country rich in tale, legend and myth.

 

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