It takes time and effort to follow up a really great album. Thankfully for themselves, and fans alike, Denver’s Call Of The Void did not rush in to writing the follow up to the pretty stellar Dragged Down A Dead End Path. Ageless is the bands newest release through Relapse and with it carries the burden of such a notorious label. Will this album be regarded as Ageless further down the line? Maybe not, but it is a wholly aggressive and frill-free experience that will turn heads and opinions.
To flip this review on its head, here are the gripes. The guitar sound on this album is pretty flat. Almost lifeless to be honest. When the guitars are churning through grind riffs in ‘Truth In Bone’ or ‘Black Ice’ it is easy to miss when the riff changes. Some may stand up and bitch and moan that this is just a staple of the environment in which Call Of The Void ply their trade but it is inexcusable at this level. The vocals are also sometimes oddly pushed far too close to the front of the mix. This, especially when there are several vocal layers on a track takes over the song in a negative way, pushing the rest of the band out of the picture. The only time that this guitar sound works is in the smatterings of black metal inspired riffs found throughout Ageless, a point that will be examined further shortly.
So, the black metal areas of Ageless. These parts are where Call Of The Void excel. The band can hop, skip and jump between hardcore and grindcore with an ease that begs disbelief. This was what made …Dead End Path such a fun record – the unpredictable nature of where a song would go next. Ageless has taken this premise and evolved from it. Now, more than ever, a sneaky slice of black metal will intersect through a typical hardcore verse, lifting the song from a conventional pace into something much darker and with some bite to it. ‘Sun Chaser’ and ‘The Hive’ are the most obvious examples of this. Two tracks that break up the d-beat into blast beat stock sound that Call Of The Void are guilty of using as a crutch on more than one occasion.
What makes Ageless such a conundrum is that, what makes it a little tedious at times, is also what merits repeated listening. Sure, there are moments on this record that are as forgetful as the next blackened grind filler track but even in these, there is a balls to the wall aggression that is hard to shake. Pair that with some insane work behind the kit, the kind of drumming that can turn a lifeless riff into a whiplash inducing crowd pleaser. When some style is sacrificed the band throw in surprisingly interesting instrumental filler tracks and a finale that definitely has a Poison The Well vibe, which cannot be a bad thing.
For those not in the know, the “call of the void” is where one has the urge to throw themselves or someone else from a ledge, crashing their car into oncoming traffic etc. What Call Of The Void have managed to do with Ageless is record an album that convinces the listener to keep delving into that void, regardless of qualms or quibbles with the music. There is something here that will keep drawing them back in.
Call Of The Void’s Ageless gets…