Title: Intense domination of power

Time has come to celebrate one of the best bands on this globe. Callenish Circle, founded 1992, are back – for another dangerous Metal attack! Their new album „Flesh Power Dominion” is a real killer and undoubtly one of the very best releases in the whole Melodic Death Metal genre.

It is filled with many sheer unbelievable instrumental works and contains a high artistic claim. Already Callenish Circle´s previous album release „Graceful… Yet Forbidding” was a glowing highlight in the world of Metal. It got a really wonderful frontcover artwork from Belgian grandmaster of dark arts, Kris Verwimp.

„Flesh Power Dominion” shows brilliant and highspeed Melodic Death Metal on the highest playable technical level. An enormous amount of aggression and very emotional ear-catching melodies leading to a very good blend. Founding member and lead-singer Patrick Savelkoul tells about the important news of his troup. 

„Well we just started rehearsing again after a break of three months. Our drummer Gavin was very busy with his work and had to stay in Rotterdam (about 175 km from here) during the week and besides Ronny (guitar player) had some physical problems with his arm and therefore needed to have total rest. In fact it was a welcome break because I can’t remember that we had such a long break since 1992 when we started the band. Not that I was fed up with the band but this way you can get some rest and get loaded with energy again. Because the coming year will definitely cost a lot of energy with all these live-shows coming up. Anyway as I said we recently started rehearsing again to get into the right shape for the live-shows that are planned the coming months. We want to present you a kick-ass, intense live-show and that takes quite some practising. The line-up is pretty stable the last couple of years so let’s hope it will stay that way. The last new member was Remy (guitar) who replaced original band-member Jos Evers, that was back in 1998. So actually I am the only original band member left from the early days but since 1994 Gavin, Ronny and I form the core of the band.”

The feedback for their debut album „Graceful… Yet Forbidding“ was very good for Callenish Circle. 

„We got loads of cool reviews and stories in the magazines. Definitely a sign that there is enough interest in the band instead of what our former label DSFA Records claimed. They simply failed promoting it and blamed their own mistakes to the press, who were according to them „not interested”. Well if you have a look at all those reviews and interviews you can easily say that this was completely bullshit! So far the response on the new album „Flesh Power Dominion” is excellent. Better than we expected because the new material is again a step further in extremity and intensity. Unfortunately we don’t have received that many concrete reviews yet but the promotion-campaign is really going smoothly. Tons of interviews are scheduled for the rest of this January 2002. But that’s a good thing of course because it shows that there is a lot of interest in the band. Metal Blade Records is really doing their best on the promotion and so far we are really satisfied with their work - cheers, Andreas!”

Patrick likes to explain also the historical meaning of the band‘s name. 

„Callenish Circle is a Stonehenge-alike circle in Scotland, situated on the little island `Lewis`. Ages ago a circle with very huge stones was found there and the people back then never could have managed to get these stones in that particular circle. So a myth arose that once a year ghosts appear at Callenish Circle. If you want to find out more about this topic search the internet for Callanish Circle or Callenish Circle. There is a lot of information to be found on the net.”

Unfortunately there was no real tour after the release of „Graceful… Yet Forbidding“.

„As I said DSFA Records completely ruined the album and also never supported us with any tour-support. And Norwegian Edgerunner Records, who actually did a great job on the promotion, simply didn’t have the financial means to put us on tour. It’s a small label with limited budgets so they are not really to blame on this. Besides we thought it might be better to wait after the release of the third album to get on a tour. But we did a lot of single shows and two mini-tours to promote the album. The first one at the end of 1999 with Trail Of Tears and one last year with Macabre. We played about five shows on each mini-tour, mainly in Holland and Belgium.” 

Callenish Circle made already some new plans regarding gigs. 

„We will do a full European Tour in April/May 2002 with our label mates Amon Amarth and Vomitory. Sins Of Omission, another Swedish band, will open up the bill. So we are all among Swedish people. Well at least they won’t notice when we are making fun of them, hehe…; no, just kidding! The tour contains 30 shows in a row and will lead through England, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Portugal and France so that’s a very cool thing. We are really excited doing these shows cause now we finally can play in other countries as well. We really hope to see all you guys at the German shows!”

In which place of the globe Patrick would prefer to run a tour one day, if the band will be very successful?

„No particular country… we simply want to play everywhere. As long as there is interest in Callenish Circle we are very eager to play. Even if it’s on the North Pole!?”

Live shows of Callenish Circle are really very intense. 

„I think that’s the keyword of a Callenish Circle-show. Furthermore we work with a steady live-crew, consisting of a sound-engineer, a lightman and a stage-roady so live we always have a killer sound and a great light-show. We don’t use any special stage-effects but we simply put down a killer and intense live-show. You will see when we play in Germany so be there!”

Basing on the opening track the new album got it‘s mysterious title.

„There is no real explanation or concept behind the title of the album, although the title is linked to the lyrics of the first song `Obey Me`. Just read the lyrics and you will see what I mean. Furthermore there is a link to the music on the album. The title sounds very powerful and impressive and that’s also how the music on the album sounds.”

The main lyrical conception on „Flesh Power Dominion“ deals mostly with human emotions, as Patrick knows to tell.

„And I mean human emotions in the widest range of the word. Basically the lyrics are quite `Down To Earth` and they deal about topics that can happen to everyone in daily life. But I will have Ronny (responsible for most of the lyrics) write a few lines on this question. Ronny is the main composer of the lyrics. He writes like 90 % of all the lyrics. I wrote the lyrics for the song `Bleeding` on the new album. It’s a very personal song and that’s the reason why the lyrics are not printed in the CD-booklet. It was simply too personal to share with other people.”

Therefore Ronny gets over at next with his regarding statements.

„The lyrics in general handle about human emotions. For some of the lyrics personal experiences were my inspiration. Other lyrics are pure fiction or inspired by things I saw happening to people I know. I like to manoeuvre myself into situations that cause heavy emotional feelings like anger, fear, helplessness, grief and sorrow. I try to imagine myself what I would feel if certain things would happen to me or to a person who is important for me.”

„Flesh Power Dominion“ has been produced by a pretty well known sound engineer. 

„We recorded and mixed the album at Germany-based Stage One Studio with producer Andy Classen (ex Holy Moses). All in all the recordings and mix took a little bit more than three weeks and we are very pleased with the sound. It’s massive, powerful, intense and aggressive but still very transparent so all these little details won’t get lost in the wall of sound. It’s very important for us to have a clear sound as well because we often play these fast Thrashy riffs. Furthermore the album was mastered at the famous Wisseloord Studios in Holland. A big and expensive studio where legendary bands like Judas Priest, Whitesnake, Queensrÿche and many more recorded albums in the past. A cool experience to work in such a studio, even though it was very expensive, hehe.” 

The composing process for the new album output took them almost three years.

„Because we started recording the `Graceful… Yet Forbidding`-album already in 1998 and the new album was recorded in 2001. So you can say we are quite slow songwriters. The main reason why it took such a long time is all these label problems which caused quite some stress in the band. And I can tell you it’s simply not very motivating writing new material when you have to deal with all these business-shit. You simply can’t concentrate on writing new material when you constantly have to worry about other things than music. It simply takes too much from your energy and inspiration. Hopefully these kind of problems belong to the past now and we plan to release the next album before the summer of 2003 so you won’t have to wait that long again.”

When it comes to the songwriting, Callenish Circle working harmonic together. 

„Well, basically the guitar players write new riffs at home and bring them to the rehearsal so the other members can listen. Then we decide which riffs and ideas we want to use and we start working on a new song. The drummer tries to find a suitable drum-pattern and the bass-player writes his bass-lines. In the end the vocals are added and this way we keep on working until we are 100 % satisfied. Sometimes it takes even months before a song is completely finished. Ronny (one of the guitar players) is responsible for moreover of the new guitar riffs and ideas although he is not writing complete songs. That’s a process of the whole band.”

Patrick thinks the music of his band has just to be categorized as modern X-Treme Metal Music.

„At least that’s how we like to see it ourselves. Of course other people will try to put on a label like `Melodic Death Metal` or `Death/Thrash` but we don’t care too much about all these labels. We simply like to play this kind of intense metal-music and if other people call if different it’s ok with us. As long as they enjoy the music it’s cool!”

Successional guitarist Ronny Tyssen explains all the new creations. 

„`Obey Me…`: Handles about an abusive man. He terrorizes his wife, treats her like a slave, pretending she's his property. One day she runs away and he begs her to come back. When she doesn't return to him, he completely looses it and tries to find and kill her; `For What It's Good For...`: Is a description of my feelings towards a certain person I trusted who betrayed me and told lies behind my back. It didn't take long for me to write this one, because I was really pissed of at that time; `Witness Your Own Oblivion`: One day I saw a documentary on Discovery about people being buried alive. Most of those people suffered from a disease that made the heartbeat very weak, hardly noticeable without proper equipment. Sometimes with excavations they found corpses with broken nails, an expression of fear on their faces, lying in a coffin with scratches on the inside, indicating they desperately tried to make the impossible escape. Those people woke up in their coffins and literally witnessed their own oblivion...; `Take Me Along`: Is about sitting near your loved-one's deathbed, knowing you betrayed her. The feeling of despair, realizing you'll never get the chance to explain, you'll never be forgiven, must be nerve-wrecking; `Your Final Swansong`: I heard a lot of people say that when they are dying, for instance in a coma, lying there unable to breathe on their own, just vegetating, that they want some-one to make an end to their suffering. But what would you do when your loved-one is lying there and you promised her to end her suffering in a situation like that?; `Suffer My Disbelief`: Describes the anger you feel when a person you know for a very long time, a person you trust, you told your deepest secrets to, appears to don't know you at all and lets you down in a way you'll never forget; `They Have Chosen`: Is about hearing voices in your head telling you what to do. Who are those voices? Where do they come from? The knowledge that you'll never be alone again causes your seclusion.”

Patrick and his band carrying much plans for the future in their minds. 

„For Callenish Circle the year 2002 will be a year of playing live a lot. We will do a small mini-tour in the Benelux at the end of March, together with Swedish band Skyfire. After that we will do the European Tour in April and May. Furthermore we hope to play some festivals in the summer and maybe a small tour at the end of the year but nothing is confirmed yet. Furthermore we will start writing new songs as soon as possible and we plan to record the next album in January 2003. Private, well I really hope to sort out some things in my private life a little bit. Last year wasn’t that good as my girlfriend and I decided to end our relation-ship after almost twelve years and that’s something you don’t get over in a few weeks. So I hope I can close this chapter in the coming months once and for all. I have a new girlfriend that really supports me but it’s still difficult sometimes…”

Also their hopes for the new album are big. 

„We really hope to get the band to the next level now. Together with the support of Metal Blade things have to get rolling now and I have big confidence you will hear a lot of Callenish Circle in the future. Hopefully already a new album in 2003 and lots of live-shows!”

We come to some „last words” of the Dutch singer: 

„Well first of all thanx a lot for the interview and to the fans I want to say thanx for the support throughout the years. Check out our upcoming album on Metal Blade. It will be out on the 11th of February 2002. You won’t be disappointed, that’s a promise! Furthermore I really hope to see you all on the European Tour in April/May and for more information just have a look at the completely redesigned website: Cheers, stay metal!”

© Markus Eck, 27.01.2002

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