Thursday, December 04, 2008

Call To Preserve - From Isolation CD Review

2006’s Unsinkable was one of 2006’s under-appreciated hardcore gems. Call to Preserve put together a very competent debut that should have let them break through into the hardcore mainstream (quite the oxymoron, I know...), but instead they didn’t seem to gain a lot of traction. Hopefully that will change with the release of their sophomore effort From Isolation.

Truth be told, From Isolation is not a terribly huge advance from Unsinkable and, in fact, there are some definite negatives to be found (the vocals on “Vices”, for example), but what the band excels at is combining a familiar hardcore sound with a barraging amount of energy. I’m sure that this can be said about the vast majority of hardcore bands throughout the states, touring their local scenes, playing basement shows, and releasing independently produced albums, but in this case, with the backing of Facedown Records, Call to Preserve have focused their overflowing amount of energy into 13 concise, blunt force trauma inducing tracks.

Obviously, by being on Facedown Records’ roster it is a known quantity that Call to Preserve are a Christian band, which can often spell doom if they get a little too preachy. Thankfully, there are no extremely overt lyrics that force the band members’ beliefs down your throat. Instead, much of the lyrical content deals with coming out of a negative place into a positive realm, or overcoming obstacles to push into a better frame of mind or lifestyle. It’s a welcome relief from the two ends of the hardcore lyrical spectrum — preaching values or preaching hate. It's nothing new, but it's tastefully done nonetheless.

Musically, it’s hard not to say that there is nothing new here. If you’ve been listening to hardcore since the days of Give Up the Ghost, you know what to expect. Beyond the one to two minute ragers, there are some inspired mid-tempo moments, such as the second half of “Lincoln Street” where you can almost hear a little bit of Modern Life is War trying to come through. More often than not, you’ll feel some strong This is Hell and Terror influences and similarities. There’s plenty of stomp-worthy, ground-pounding anthems, my personal favorite being “Waiting for Dawn”, so there will no doubt be a full-on circle pit at live shows.

Call to Preserve pack a punch in the 31 minutes of From Isolation. If your usual rotation of bands contains Buried Alive, Death Threat, Hatebreed, or No Innocent Victim then odds are you will probably fall in love with this disc. Even for a casual hardcore connoisseur, there is a lot to like here. It’s not often you find tasteful positivity in a hardcore band, so enjoy it when you have the chance.

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