Boulder, Colorado's CALL OF THE VOID (formerly known as IRONHORSE, until legal issues intervened) require merely 25 minutes to impart their inaugural sonic judgment of our poor, pitiful planet, in the shape of their 2013 Relapse Records debut, "Dragged Down a Dead End Path".And with a title like that, are any more words even necessary? Well, yes, that's the job description, but they won't paint a pretty picture at first? That's because, despite the abundant, "here comes the pain" promise of opening track "Failure"'s introductory drum flourishes and elephantine power chords, a tiresomely circular grindcore riff is the song's only, meager reward - hardly boding well for what's to follow. Luckily, CALL OF THE VOID immediately start making amends, revealing that a far broader arsenal of hardcore/crust/powerviolence influences lie at their disposal, the better to distinguish subsequent material to no end - whether this be of the face-melting ("Endless Ritual Abuse", "Napalm Lungs") or some-holds-barred, dread-inducing ("Theory of Mind", "I Hope You Two Fuck") variety. What's more, for all of their ferocious attack, CALL OF THE VOID can also rein in the madness, if it pleases them, for more dramatic and dynamic effect - as in the subtly harmonic breakdowns heard on "Bottom Feeder", "Faith & Filth", and others, or the mildly dissonant melodies of "Abomination". Topically, it could almost go without saying that religion comes in for a merciless eviscerating by these Colorado atheists (just look at their name, album cover, etc.), with "Breeding Grounds" and the aforementioned "Faith & Filth", in particular, leading the band's charge towards inevitable excommunication - no matter who's the acting Pope these days. But, while there's no disguising the CALL OF THE VOID's inspirational debt to His Hero is Gone, that doesn't mean they're able to conjure up riffs and melodies anywhere near as devastating or contagious (nor do they show the slightest sense of, or much desire to, groove, if you're into that sort of thing) but hey - give them a break - they're new at this. In the end, that, perhaps, is the best final summation of CALL OF THE VOID's first product: it may not possess world-changing creativity or pure songwriting genius, but the balance of intent and attitude is notable and powerful enough to commend their sound and souls - or what's left of them - to further scrutiny by devotees of this sort of music. Plus, with an outlook this ominous and dark, who says the band even wants to have a "bright" future?
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