Review Summary: Magnificently fun, fluid, and intriguing
I have always found C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters
fascinating. Never having subscribed or believed in any faith, let alone any of the various Christian congregations that are normally the target audience for C.S. Lewis' more religiously themed books, there's something about how Lewis attacks the idea of freewill, the human condition, and influence via a young demon and his uncle Screwtape that transcends its outlying subject matter and, in its own way, looks at just who we are. The guys in Called To Arms have drawn upon the fictional correspondence that is The Screwtape Letters
as the grounding theme for their latest album, Peril and the Patient
, and just like how C.S. Lewis' book becomes more than a fable, Peril and the Patient
draws heavily from fellow North Carolinians' Between the Buried and Me, in so much as also being helmed by Jamie King in the production booth, but it retains a flair all of its own.
Peril and the Patient
is stunning in the way it all comes together. Without sounding like a jumbled mess of technical chug and melodic noodling, Called to Arms are a tightrope act with gear grinding palm-muted patterns on one end of the balancing pole and highly melodic and intricate leads leads at the other. While this is nothing new, it hasn't been done this well since Between the Buried and Me's Alaska
in 2005. But where Alaska
, or any other Between the Buried and Me album really, occasionally gets lost in itself and has to climb a rocky path of transitions and interludes before it gets back on track, Called to Arms embrace a simpler approach to their technical metalcore. They maintain their wow factor, aka the stuff that has kids at shows do that one handed air guitar move, while streamlining the construction of their songs, which keeps the songs in the five minute range – more than enough time to lead the listener through a twisting path of ups and downs, loud and soft, without making it seem like being stuck in a tedious, ever shifting labyrinth of sweeps and riffs.
Obviously, since they do tread familiar waters on Peril and the Patient
it is damn near impossible to overlook that Called to Arms brazenly wear their influences on their sleeves. When it all comes down to it, though, that shouldn't be what defines what they've created on Peril and the Patient
. It's a magnificently fun, fluid, and intriguing listen that accomplishes everything it set out to achieve, and in a year where many of metalcore's more established acts are laying low, it should give Called to Arms the chance to get the recognition they deserve.