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Review: Cales - Chants of Steel
Chants of Steel

Label: Edged Circle Productions
Year released: 2023
Originally released in: 2022
Duration: 37:56
Tracks: 9
Genre: Pagan Metal

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: July 26, 2023
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Chants of Steel

Rated 3.33/5 (66.67%) (3 Votes)

Cales are kind of a strange band. This is the band guitarist Blackie Hosek started before he joined Root and where he has continued to put most of his focus in the years since he left that band in 2004, mostly pursuing Cales as a one-man act. Considering he presided over Root masterworks like The Temple in the Underworld and The Book, I have always expected more from Cales than they have been able to deliver.

Part of the problem is difficulty pinning down just what this band is trying to do. There are elements of Black Metal to their sound, as well as more melodic stylings and a definite echo of later-period Bathory. The band often gets categorized as "Pagan Metal" because there's not really anything else to call it. The riffs and guitar playing are excellent, but the songwriting has always been kind of baggy and seems to lack focus. Another problem is Hosek insisting on doing his own singing, because he's not good. When he sticks to a croakier, harder sound he does OK, but his vocals still lack any kind of pitch or meter, and almost anyone else would be better, and better serve the genuinely good music here.

I always want to like this band more than I do, because considering the talent available this should be underground gold, but somehow it never is. Cales remain a curiosity rather than an essential, and it always makes me wish Hosek would rejoin Root and do more of what he did best in the old days.

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