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It's one thing when a good band outdoes themselves; it's another altogether when a great band seems to transcend their already lofty limits. Such is the case with Calligram, a multinational quartet based in London, and their latest release The Eye is the First Circle. It's a bleak, blasting, and blackened album that displays an aggression and level of sheer energy that most other bands can only dream about -- we've got the album's hottest song "Kenosis" streaming below now.

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"Kenosis" wastes zero time and offers zero pretense -- from its opening seconds to its thudding outro, the song lays waste to your ears and anything within earshot as well. Saturated blasts comprise the song's backbone, but over its five-minute course, Calligram experiments with plenty of different tempos, demonstrating both the band's agility and songwriting sense. Speaking of sense, The Eye is the First Circle coheres and gels well in the ears, despite how densely atmospheric and downright brutal the album remains throughout its runtime.

To get a better sense of what went into the album, we exchanged a few words with drummer Ardo Cotones and guitarist Tim Desbos.

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As an international group, how have the differing backgrounds of all the members enhanced or affected the music? Also, did you encounter any challenges during the writing of The Eye is the First Circle which helped you grow as musicians individually and/or collectively?

Cotones: The fact that we all grew up in completely different cultures definitely plays a massive part in how this band sounds, I for example listened to lots of punk rock and metal growing up but it was mostly local bands and demos that we had access to in the arse end of nowhere in Brazil. I learned to make music listening to those, they have a different feel to it, it's done in its specific way so it's cool when you sit in a room to make music with people who have a different way of doing things, you mix those influences up and whatever comes out is what we enjoy playing.

There were way too many obstacles during the writing of this record, deaths, debt, unemployment, depression and relationships ending. It was total chaos. We really did support each other all the way through it without feeling sorry for ourselves and made it to the other side of it with this record on our hands. It is a testament that our weird family isn't just a band.

What story does The Eye is the First Circle tell, or what narrative does it illustrate?

Desbos: The lyrics talk about the meaningless of existence and the opposition between mind and matter, the ephemeral and the eternal… But the reference to Emerson’s essay acts as a counterpoint to this rather pessimistic mindset. We’ve used the image of overlapping circles in his essay as a way to say that despite the apparent lack of meaning in life, caring about the people in your circle is enough in itself to make life worthwhile. Like a duty of care towards the people around us.

We’re premiering “Kenosis” today (my favorite song on the album) – listening to this alongside the songs on your prior release Askesis, how do you feel you all have developed as a band since then?

Cotones: With this one everything is definitely a tad faster haha. We didn't set out to do any kind of record in terms of direction, our main intention was to push ourselves as hard as we could, build interesting structures and play as fast as we could and see how that turned out. Tim and Bruno [Polotto] still brought their epic sounding riffs, we just didn't really give them any space to breathe and just played everything really fast. Hopefully it's fun to listen to.

The mastering on The Eye is the First Circle really showcases the music’s aggression, speed, and character. What approach to the production process did the band take this time around?

Cotones: We simply asked Lewis Johns to make the filthiest record he ever made. Lewis is great at capturing a band's essence, we think he's done a great job.

What’s next on the Calligram roadmap?

Cotones: Now like everyone else we're hoping this bitch corona goes to hell so ourselves and all other bands can go back to doing what we love. We've had to cancel our UK tour in support of the album and not even think about Europe but as soon as things are clearer we will come back stronger and hungry to play this record live to anyone who'll have us.

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The Eye is the First Circle releases April 10th via Prosthetic Records.

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