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Warcall – Invaders

Warcall
Invaders
by Jon Conant at 10 December 2017, 8:57 PM

WARCALL are back swinging with their 4th full-length album, “Invaders”. They previously released 3 full-lengths in 2009, 2013, and 2015. Listening to the band I am never quite sure whether this is Melodeath, Thrash, or Power Metal, but whatever it is, it’s fantastic.

It’s rather sad that WARCALL does not have a bigger following, because the skill and writing is there. “Invaders” is chock full of technical precision, both in the songwriting and in execution. The lyrical content is much more irreverent than your typical Metal album, and while it remains brutal and badass, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Song titles like “Ride with Zombies” and “Alien Forces” really exemplify that.

“Mission Commando” kicks things off and it is one of the most melodically driven songs on the album - almost disappointingly so, because much of the latter songs fall into a more Thrash type groove, and I really enjoy the Melodeath sound they present to begin the album. That being said, it is still fast and drum centered enough to blend together with the rest of the tracks.

“Bully Bastard”, the second track, is a perfect example of why WARCALL are great, and how they can also be better. It has excellent lead guitar work, chugging rhythm guitar parts, blasting drums, and powerful harsh vocals. The base is there, and it is really good. What I would love is for WARCALL to take the awesome sound they have, and elevate it; layer in more harsh vocal parts on top of the leading line, throw in some dark synth or orchestral sounds, or throw in some high pitched screams during the songs buildup in the first 30 seconds. Instead WARCALL leaves the track pretty much “as it is,” which works and sounds really great, but I will always maintain that the ability to elevate the complexity of sounds being presented is what separates the headliners from the openers.

Don’t let that take away from the technical skill presented on this album. These boys know EXACTLY what they’re doing. The skill level of the instrumental work on this album far surpasses any other aspect. The drummer, Phil, is of particular note. I don’t use the word “unrelenting” lightly, and these drums are unrelenting.

With a song title like “Mass Extinction”, I expected track 4 to blow my fucking brains out. Sadly, it did not. Instead it is actually one of their more generic, less-inspired tracks. It’s softer, less inventive, and has more of a 'filler track' feel than a “Mass Extinction” feel. Bummer.

Songs like” Black Panther” and “Through the Dusk” definitely see WARCALL dip more into the Power/Speed side of Metal. That being said, the ever-consistent harsh vocals keep the song rooted in the band’s sound. The album is pretty much just harsh vocals throughout (a notable exception is “Para Bellum”), so clean vocal enthusiasts will need to take a back seat; which is fine with me, growls for life baby.

Track 9 “Para Bellum” is perhaps my favorite song on the album. It simultaneously is the most melodic and the most rhythm guitar-driven song on the album. That’s a pretty cool blend of sounds. The first minute of the song features an impressive guitar “solo” to set up the number, with an unrelenting rhythm guitar line underneath it. It’s not quite Melodeath, but it’s further down that avenue than many of the others songs on the album. All in all, it stays true to the WARCALL sound: fast and furious.

Album closer “Alien Forces” is the least Thrash and most bassy/grooving song on the album. That’s not to say it doesn’t have the classic speed elements in the guitar lines (it absolutely does), but it also wraps the album up nicely with a full, epic sound that we have not heard until this point in the album. Very well done here.

This is a good album when it’s all said and done. It’s fast, it’s heavy, it’s exciting, and it doesn’t try too hard to be something it’s not, while also knowing exactly what it is. That’s a rare trait to have in a band, and it shows their consistency and maturity as songwriters; you can really tell this is not their first album. The ultimate takeaway here is that WARCALL deserve a lot more attention than what they’re currently getting. I hope to see them take things to the next level on their next full-length.


Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Mission Commando
2. Riding with Zombies
3. Bully Bastard
4. Mass Extinction
5. The Man Who Suffers
6. Fight Back
7. Black Panther
8. Through the Dusk
9. Para Bellum
10. Alien Forces
Lineup:
Gord - Bass & Vocals
Mat - Guitars & Vocals
Phil - Drums
Record Label: Panoptic Records
     


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