Album: Mother – Single
Genre: Downtepo Deathcore/Djent
Label: Independent Release
Members: Calvaire (Instrumentation/Production/Songwriting)
The metal scene in Southern Africa has really started to grow in the past seven or so years. Ever since
Vulvodynia dropped their first full length album, Cognizant Castigation, back in 2014, many neighboring
countries, including Botswana and Mozambique have started embracing the heavier and more extreme
side of metal.
While all this has been happening, quietly in the background, a budding talent was starting to take
shape. Enter Calvaire, a songwriter, producer, and mixer based in Zambia who has done work with quite
a number of bands but is more known for his background in electronic music, especially in dubstep a few
This single is titled ‘mother’ and it will be one of the many tracks featured on Calvaire’s upcoming EP,
Night Terrors, which will be releasing in September of this year. The track was inspired by the 2014 cult
classic horror film, The Babadook, with a MMV styled music video to match with the music.
Let me be the first to say that out of all the metal I have heard from Southern Africa, this track is top tier
not only in terms of songwriting, but, in production and heaviness. The single takes very heavy influence
from Swedish downtempo deathcore juggernauts, Humanity’s Last Breath, along with some sprinkles of
industrial flair to spice things up. To anyone not familiar with HLB’s work, one would swear this song was
one of their instrumental tracks from any of their recent albums. Mind you, all this is coming from one guy
and not an entire band.
The single starts off with a very odd pedal effect melody accompanied by some ominous, brooding
distortion that gives off a deep rumbling effect in the background. The song then transitions into a brief,
faded, black metal-ques segment which adds a bit of an eerie atmosphere to the dialogue between the
main character from the movie and her doctor. This feeling of ambience is then complimented by some
slow build up with a few industrial inspired drops layered with that rich, dark, distorted tone that you
would only find in a downtempo deathcore song before finally hitting you with a breakdown so face
meltingly heavy, but, at the same time so perfectly timed that it actually makes the track feel as though it
were part of the score for The Babadook itself.
The breakdown then begins to take on a more thall styled djent oriented melody with odd rhythmic
changes and song patterns and we are then reintroduced to that odd pedal effect from the intro of the
song that acts as an overlaying melody to the breakdowns and djent riffs.
We are then taken to what seems like an abrupt stop to the music in which we are greeted with a few
moments of silence before we hear some more dialogue from the movie, but, spoken in very soft tones
which gives the listener a false sense of peace, safety, and security. Well, at least before the dialogue
suddenly becomes louder and more emotionally intense with some vocal distortion added on certain
lines placed for that added cinematic effect. Not only that but those heavy, doom laden, industrial droning
distortions makes this part of the song a hell of a lot more intense and dare I say uncomfortable. What I
really appreciate about this moment of the song is how Calvaire is able to make the music mesh with the
intensity of the performance of the actors from the movie and perfectly complements the range of
emotions being expressed.
Suddenly we are thrust into yet another heavy breakdown. Though this time it feels a lot more sinister
and darker than before. It also adds in some chaotic, jittery, high pitched harmonics that add to the
mayhem and insanity of what follows. Finally, the song ends on an epic high note by adding some
Gregorian chants to the final breakdown which creates this amazing sensation as though you are
witnessing the final showdown between a horror movie protagonist and whatever supernatural or
otherworldly horror it is that they are facing.
While the song is indeed incredible on its own, I do feel the music video actually enhances the
experience more. Calvaire’s brand of deathcore might not be the kind in which you can mosh and go wild
to in the pit, but, if you are looking for music of cinematic quality that is on par with the likes of bands
such as Septicflesh, Carach Angren, Dimmu Borgir, and Lorna Shore while staying true to the hypnotic,
brooding, and ominous heaviness and ambience of bands like Humanity’s Last Breath or Black Tongue
then this is the track for you.
I am genuinely looking forward to hearing more from this artist and what he has to offer the African metal
scene and the international scene. And considering his portfolio so far, I have no doubt that one day in
the future he could be the next big thing whether it be for metal or for using metal as a score for film,
video games, or animation. I am also excited to see any other future productions he will be a part of.
Needless to say, Mother does a fantastic job in combining a wide variety of genres and songwriting
elements while still staying true to its main influence and roots. All this comes together to create a unique
package not only in sound but in its ambitious execution. Calvaire is an artist that you do not want to
sleep on. Go and listen to Mother today!
Written By: Russell Gainsford