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While searching through the Metal Blade Records website in hopes of finding some news about the new Crown CD, I happened to stumble upon a melodic death band called Callenish Circle. Being a big fan of the melodic death scene I quickly downloaded a few songs from their new album, "Flesh_Power_Dominion". I was instantly floored upon hearing the album opener, "Obey Me". The raw energy and fresh sound was music to my ears. Excited from what I was hearing, I then told Wayfarer that he had to hear these guys fast. Wayfarer liked them so much that he spared little time in writing a very positive and well deserved review. Now wanting to do my part in helping to shed some light on this great band, I contacted Callensih Circle for an interview. The following questions were answered by Ronny Tyssen (guitar player in Callenish Circle since 1993).

Damian: I'd like to start by saying that I am really blown away by "Flesh_Power_Dominion"! How proud are you of this album and how has the response been so far from the fans?

Ronny: I’m really proud of F_P_D and I know it sounds corny, but it’s simply with distance the best record we produced so far! The response from the press and the fans up till now really has been overwhelming. We’re receiving a lot of e-mail from people all over the world, which is of-course also the result of the great job of Metal Blade regarding promotion. This album took a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but every drop of fluid was worth it!

D: I can't help but notice the raw energy that comes across when listening to "Power_Flesh_Dominion"! Is this something that you wanted to get across in the recording or does it come fairly easy from the energy that you guys get from one another in the studio.

R: Yeah, this album turned out very aggressive and intense. It simply came out writing the songs for F_P_D. Probably we were pissed off by all the shit we’ve been through with DSFA (our former label). We paid a lot of attention to the recordings because we wanted to be sure that the aggression of the songs was not going to be flattened by the production.

D: Any particular songs that stand out as being some of your favourites on the album?

R: It’s very difficult for me to pick favourite songs from this one. I think every song has an own identity, which makes it hard to point out favourites. Besides this it’s pretty the same as choosing your favourite child. But to be honest the songs that get the best response at gigs are going to be kind of favourites, but that’s the only reason.

D: So can you tell us where you guys are from, how the band started and what a Callenish Circle is?

R: Sure! I believe we’re from Holland. Yeah, pretty sure about that! We started in 1992 playing covers from our favourite bands back then. Bands like Death, Pestilence, Gorefest, Paradise Lost, Bolt Thrower etc. In 1995 we recorded our demo-tape “Lovelorn” which got great response in the underground. In 1996 we released out debut album “Drift of Empathy” released by Hammerheart, in 1998 we released a mini album “Escape” and in 1999 we released “Graceful… yet Forbidding” through the Dutch shit-label DSFA Records. This one only was released in the Benelux countries (Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg) due to financial problems of DSFA, so we claimed back the legal rights and it was re-released by the Norwegian Edge Runner Records. Now we signed with Metal Blade for 4 albums and "Flesh_Power_Dominion" was the first one. Callenish Circle is a Stonehenge like circle of very large stones in Scottland.

D: I've noticed that you took a fairly lengthy break of 3 years in between recordings. Was there any problems within the band or any other particular reason for this?

R: In fact there were only 2 years between the recordings of the albums. Within the band there never were real problems endangering the existence of the CC. Of course we had some line-up changes, but this always was positive for the bands evolution. The only problem was the thing with DSFA, but we only became stronger and angrier which brought out the best of Callenish Circle.

D: With regards to the band's sound or where the band is with it's style, what would you say is the biggest difference between "Graceful… yet Forbidding" and "Flesh_Power_Dominion"?

R: Musically wise we became more intense, straightforward and faster, that’s the biggest change. The music still contains the ingredients of Graceful… though, it’s still very melodic, catchy and groovy. Furthermore the production is much better, which is the result of our experience and choosing the right studio for the production we had in mind and I think we really succeeded in getting a kick-ass punch-in-the-face production.

D: You have a unique and original vocal style that sometimes changes back and forth between two different pitches. How do you decide when to use one over the other? Is there one that is more rough on your vocal cords than the other?

R: Sorry, can’t answer this one… my vocals aren’t on it… let Pat do the talking:

Pat: Well I just try to use the most suitable vocal-style with the music. I see the vocals as an instrument and it simply has to fit with the music. I am capable of doing any vocals between the very low grunts and the high-pitched screams. Anyway in the beginning I mostly used the deeper grunts and the higher screams were a little bit painful for my vocal-cords. But I just kept on doing it and nowadays the screams are more often used and it doesn’t affect my vocal-cords anymore… so it’s cool!

D: There seems to have been a recent trend in the melodic death scene where some vocalists are using a clearer and more melodic sound in their voice. Some call this "clean" vocals. Is this something that you could possibly see Callenish Circle doing in the future or are you not a fan of that style?

R: I myself never exclude possibilities regarding our music as we always did what we wanted, trend or no trend. But there are no intensions to make a drastic change of style. So I’m sure we’ll stay brutal, as this is the music we all like to play and it seems we’re pretty good at it. It’s just the music that’s coming out…

P: Well I can almost handle every style between low grunts and high screams but my voice is definitely not suitable for clean singing so if the boys want to have some clean vocals they will have to kick me out, hahaha.

D: Since you just did a cover of the Death song Pull The Plug, I guess it's fair to say that they were a big influence to Callenish Circle. Was it difficult as a band to come to terms with Chuck's death?

R: Pull The Plug” has been in our live set for over 8 years now and we always planned to record it some time, just in order to show our appreciation to Chuck for being a real pioneer in the Extreme metal scene. Every Death album is a milestone in the metal history and the fact that we’re missing a few milestones in the future because of Chuck passing away makes it hard to cope with his death.
Sure Death was an influence to Callenish Circle. Chuck was an inspiration to the whole scene! Consider “Pull the Plug” as an homage to one of the biggest talents in the metal scene. Rest in peace bro!!

D: I see that you guys have a big European tour lined up next month. Have there been any talks with Metal Blade about a possible American tour and is this a goal of yours and the band?

R: Well, after the European tour of 25 shows with our label-mates Amon Amarth and Vomitory there are no free days left from the job, so unfortunately this year there’s not going to be an American tour. Sure it would be great to cross the big ocean and we hope it’s going to happen in the future and after the European tour and playing the big festivals it sure is a big goal in CC’s future.

D: Well thanks a lot, is there anything else you would like to say to the viewers of 666metal?

R: First of all thanx for the interview and your interest in Callenish Circle! To the readers I would like to say: check out our Flesh_Power_Dominion album if you’re into intense and aggressive extreme metal! You won’t be disappointed!! For more info just have a look at the website: www.callenish-circle.com

Cheers, Ronny!

April 16, 2002
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