We here at The Sleeping Shaman don’t really cover much in the way of Grindcore, Death Metal and whathaveyou. Not that we don’t like it – far from it – but more that, by and large, it doesn’t really fit in with our hairy-arsed beard-farming dooooooom raison d’etre, plus, we worry that if we were to cover it too much we would be inundated with promos, downloads and streams by every bloody grind/death/goregrind/black metal chancer out there…of which there appear to be more than there are riffs on a High On Fire album, and the majority of which are, to put it tactfully, fucking dreadful.
So it is that when we deign to cover something with a li’l more zip in the speedometer than our usual snails-pace crawl, you know that it’s something that we feel straddles the musical worlds effectively enough to fall roughly under our purview.
Boulder, Colorado-dwelling blastmeisters Call Of The Void most definitely fall under that purview, smashing out as they do, a decidedly rougher-hewn variety of grindcore than your average stop-and-turn-on-a-dime Pig Destroyer-a-likes – although not as rough and ready as, say, the Excruciating Terror’s or early Napalm Death’s of this world. No, Dragged Down A Dead End Path is home to ten short and definitely not sweet li’l toe-tappers that straddle the line between blown-out crust fury, rough-as-a-bears-arse hostile hardcore and more than a touch of the rusted-razor-edge swampy tones of the more aggressive end of sludge – think Soilent Green without the tech inclinations perhaps. One thing we can be thankful of, too, is that the crust edge that pervades Call Of The Void‘s sound is most assuredly not of the D-Beat variety that is currently plaguing the living fuck out of everything right now. There’s very little in the way of the bum-tit-bum-tit beat to be found here thank the (Southern) lord.
Drummer Gordon Koch leads from the front, driving the tempos, blasting away and anchoring the whole shebang firmly to the ground with the able assistance of filth-encrusted bassist Alex Pace, leaving guitarist Patrick Alberts to dole out the rusty-razor-edged guitar flaying and vocalist Steve Vanica to dominate the midrange with his sore-throated howling bark. A fair comparison can be made, for the most part, to Trap Them and bands of their ilk – hardcore influenced aggression welded to sludge swagger and soul-sucking atmosphere.
As is the way with grind, the ten tracks fly past at mostly breakneck velocity, but unlike many of their peers Call Of The Void inject enough variations in tempo and tonal quality to stop the whole thing becoming just a blur.
The lurching doom and sudden discords of ‘Abomination‘ , the breathing space given to the pummelling ‘I Hope You Two Fuck‘ and the sucking bog of sludge and stabbing notes that comes near the climax of curtain closer ‘Faith & Filth‘ are among the stand-out moments during the album that serve to pull the attention away from the full-on blast and make the listener aware that Call Of The Void possess a fine grasp of dynamics indeed.
If nothing else Call Of The Void successfully prove three things; that Relapse is currently on an upturn with the bands it is choosing to sign, that you don’t have to resort to D-Beat D-baggery to make a vicious crusty hardcore album, and that grindcore can fit in comfortably with the beards and slowly nodding heads here at The Shaman.
Scribed by: Paul Robertson