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Pessimist - Call To War (Reissue)

Call To War (Reissue)
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 01 January 2017, 12:32 PM

PESSIMIST is a German Thrash Metal band that formed in 2006. This re-release of “Call To War” represents a mid-point in their three-album career, wedged between their debut LP and newest album. “Call to War” contains fourteen tracks. First, a note on the genre if I may. Thrash Metal…was a necessary movement in the early 1980’s in America, countering the bevy of Glam bands and “Sunset Strip” L.A. bands that were overflowing the air waves at the time. Thrash/Speed Metal was about rebellion and no-holds barred raw energy, without the relegated costumes. While early Thrash was quite interesting, it ran its useful course pretty early on. By 1994, it was all but dead in my opinion.  There has been a fairly recent resurgence of the sound and Germany is certainly one of the countries that is continuing to keep the genre alive. However, I haven’t heard much recently that isn’t anything more than a copy of a sound from the past. How does PESSIMIST stacks up against this?

When evaluating music, I usually consider several things. First, how does the overall sound grab me, and how do I like it? Next, I gravitate towards the vocalist. Does it fit the music? Is it versatile? Do I like listening to the voice? Next I look at the rhythm section, bass and percussion. How are they holding the sound together? Are the riffs fresh and varied? Last, is there anything special as extras? Strong musicianship and prowess…lead guitar breaks…piano, keyboards, ambiance (though you would not expect to hear the latter in this genre). Is this something new, or distinguishable in any other ways from the mountains of Metal bands that are out there? The answer to most of these questions on this re-release of “Call To War” is unfortunately no. On a fourteen track album, there is inherently a risk of too much homogeneity. That is the case here.

Most riffs are based on the open E chord…and most of the tempos sound exactly the same…mid and sometimes slightly faster than mid-tempo. This isn’t to say that there aren’t some good songs on the album, because there are some, like the dark sound of “The Massacre of Nanking,” complete with some chanting and short acoustical interludes, the combination tracks of “Prelude (Arm For War)” and “Call To War,” which represent a war cry of sorts and focus on hate and raw power, the instrumental track entitled “Another Day In Mania,” which at least branches from the usual formula and length of other Thrash tracks, and takes advantage of several different riffs and approaches to songwriting in general, the vocal variations and war siren rings in “Hell Of War,” the Doomy, slow grind of “Armageddon,” where they do a nice job of matching imagery of the end of the world to the music itself, and the closing track of “Nuclear Holocaust,” which bring the entire album’s themes together.

I can appreciate the story and themes here. Thrash in the early to mid-1980’s definitely reflected our collective fear of World War Three, as the cold war was perhaps at its peak, and the sheer amount of nuclear weapons several countries were amassing would, as MEGADETH put into words, result in “mutually assured destruction.” But, the music on the album has a whole is just mediocre for me. Fans of old-school, down to basics Thrash Metal will probably enjoy the album. But those looking for something new will not find much here to garner attention.

Songwriting: 5
Originality: 4
Memorability: 4
Production: 7

2 Star Rating

1. Trommelfeuer
2. The Massacre of Nanking
3. Infernal Death
4. Prelude (Arm For War)
5. Call To War
6. Son Of Satan
7. It’s Time To Fuck (With Hate)
8. Death By Torture
9. Another Day In Mania
10. Hell Of War
11. Kill Or Be Killed
12. Armageddon
13. I Hate You
14. Nuclear Holocaust
Michael "TZ" Schweitzer – Vocals
"Tormentor" Eric Tobian – Guitars
Myrdhin "Murphy" Lange - Guitars
Samuel "Samu" Maier – Bass
Daniel "Zufi" Zuflucht – Drums
Record Label: MDD Records


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Edited 07 December 2022

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