Calm: Calm (12″)/Calm (7″)/Moonraker (Numero Group)

Calm

The Bay Area-band Mohinder hold the distinction as one of the first non-San Diego bands signed to Gravity Records. The post-hardcore group, like so many others, lived only briefly but have become an important band to the genre. The group ultimately morphed into Duster, a band recently reformed thanks to a revival helmed by Numero Group’s reissuing of their back catalog. Because of this newfound interest, the label recently reissued the Mohinder back catalog. Yet the Mohinder/Duster story contain an equally brief transitional band, Calm. The group released two 7-inch singles and a 12-inch before splitting, all of which Numero Group recently reissued.

Mohinder existed to push the boundaries of sound and noise in quick, emotional blasts. Calm, however, explored heavy, sludge riffs. Vocals were present, but were buried underneath the tumult of the band, its own interesting metal/shoegaze hybrid. (The song titles appear to be the lyrics, though) Their debut release, the six song EP Calm, offers their take on mid-90s heavy alternative rock and math rock, Calm offers some great tunes. Opener “We’ve Made A Contact…” offers overwhelmingly heavy, Melvins-like guitars and feels much longer than its three minutes. Meanwhile “Slide The Needle In…” and “Demons reloading…” offer up some impressive, grinding guitars with a driving melody, oddly sounding much more commercial than anything Mohinder ever did. The epic “Be Still” closes the affair with six minutes of pretty standard, contemporary math rock; not bad, but very much of the era.

Calm’s second self-titled release, a four-track single, followed in 1996. Although the songs are much more refined, something feels off; the drums clunkily mixed up high and the songs sound much more generic than the ones on their debut. The standout is the metal thrash of “Sign Hits Motorist,” an instrumental that falls under two minutes in length. Moonraker, their final release, proved interesting; the songs are heavier, louder, and more ferocious than the Calm single. “Scientists and Saboteurs” sounds as if it would pummel you and overwhelm you if played live.

Unfortunately, that never happened. Calm would disband shortly after the single’s release, a promising young band joining the ranks of the obscure. But the members would once again regroup, this time as Duster, and they would develop that heavy atmospheric sound even further.

Purchase Calm discography:  Numero Group

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