Published Jan 30, 2016Taking giant steps from 2009's phenomenal Providence, Finland's Callisto approach even loftier heights with their fifth full-length. Each of the band's albums has been a slight departure from the previous one, and Secret Youth certainly begins with the same basic template from Providence, but embellishes it in grandiose fashion. Vocalist Jani Ala-Hukkala's tonal quality is nowadays leaning more toward Long Distance Calling, but the swirling, proggy chords put the band at the top of the post-hardcore heap.
Both "Backbone" and "Pale Pretender" are shifting numbers in which Ala-Hukkala seems to ride their crescendos, though each tune is broken up by the punctuated, Coalesce-like screams of guitarist Markus Myllykangas. "Breasts of Mothers" is made especially heartfelt by the emotive keys of Arto Karvonen, who, like all great keyboardists, leads the group's tonal undulations. The bass lines of "Grey Light" are Failure-like in their faultless execution, while "Ghostwritten" dips into doomier, trippier Mastodon territory. The silence of the shimmering "Old Souls" gives a nod to Kyuss' "El Rodeo," and the outstanding "Acts" underlines guitarist Tero Holopainen and Myllykangas' references to Junior Brown's country/surf guitar, like an atmospheric cover of the theme song from TV's Better Call Saul.
Callisto have certainly come a long way from their early days of vocal-less doom, though Secret Youth continues their convivial, part-the Ocean/part-Junius exercise in post-metal mysticism. (Svart)