Applying the whiplash head charge of the best thrash metal -- which is really just '70s-vintage Status Quo/Foghat-style head-bobbing boogie revved up to double time with a few more effects pedals on the guitar -- to the basic tropes of Scandinavian death metal, including the pummeling, almost industrial rhythm section (yay!) and the growled vocals that sound like a cheesed-off Muppet (boo!), Holland's Callenish Circle manages to make something fresh out of an increasingly tiresome genre. Drummer Gavin Harte truly leads the band, as his hyperactive yet somehow brutally hard-hitting beats -- imagine Zappa-era Terry Bozzio melded with Hüsker Dü's Grant Hart -- power each one of these songs, giving guitarists Ronny Tyssen and Remy Dieteren a framework on which to hang their choppy, angular guitar riffs. On the best tracks, especially the stunning "Forsaken" and "My Hate Unfolds," Callenish Circle is as powerful as any band in its style. However, whenever the tempo drops, so do the standards; tracks like the leaden and overlong "What Could Have Been..." sound like the more uninspired moments of the likes of Uriah Heep. Normally, attempts to vary the dynamics and pacing of an album are a good thing, but Callenish Circle is so good at what it does that the changeup songs actually sound out of place and irritating.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason