If you look back at the past few years of my writing on the blog, one of the main narratives you can create is my falling out of love with progressive stoner metal. I mean, don’t get me wrong; I still love the genre itself. I listen to Mastodon pretty regularly, and Elder almost every week. But there’s been a dearth of interesting releases in the genre for the last three or four years, as its popularity has led to a certain calcification of its tropes. And that’s disappointing, especially for a genre which is supposed to have experimentation at its core. But that’s not to say that all progressive stoner has to be experimental or ground-breaking to be good; in fact, it’s one of the genres that most benefits from a certain energy, a wildness to the music that shakes off cobwebs from the style.
This is exactly the sort of energy that Calyces, a Greek band set to release their debut, Impulse to Soar, this Friday, bring to the table. Their sort of progressive stoner will immediately remind you of the aforementioned Mastodon and, quite naturally, of Baroness as well. But unlike the countless other bands attempting to operate within the sub-genre, Calcyes feel…essential. There’s an energy bubbling beneath their music that makes it irresistible, shaking off that mantel of lethargy that seems to cloak so much of this style. Which is why we’re proud to premiere the full album right here, today, for your listening pleasure!
Do me a favor and skip ahead just a bit to “Ego Dries up the Ocean”, the second track. Listen to the way that initial, opening minute of the track is dedicated to the instruments going at each other without wearing out its welcome. Listen to how the vocals then arrive, coating everything in their honey-drenched drawl. Not to name drop too many times in this post, but progressive stoner stalwarts Intronaut should be springing to the forefront of your mind as well. From there, the track explores its themes remarkably well before setting sailing on the slow-burn outro that, true to form, erupts into a passionate and heavy crescendo.
The rest of the album is filled with these emotive and affective moments, turning this album into something immediate, music that leaps out at you, where so much of this sub-genre is content to simply widdle in the background. As we said, Impulse to Soar releases this Friday. You can pre-order it via the band’s Bandcamp, right here. And while you’re there, maybe pick up a shirt (or two) because good lord, look at that artwork!