Released: 2016, Indie
What is it with the mystique of the number seven and Heavy Metal? It is by far the most common number used in band names. Some quick on-line research shows that ‘seventh-something’ is more than twice as popular a number for a band name than any other number, for example ‘Third Ion’ or ‘Fifth Angel’. Weird. I guess it just rolls off the tongue!
Seventh Calling is the traditional American Metal band and BATTLE CALL is their third full-length studio album. Metal-Rules.com has been supportive of this band over the years, reviewing pretty much everything they have released since their debut MONUMENTS back in 2006. Part of the fun (or annoyance for some) is the categorization of Metal sub-genres. Well, Seventh Calling is Metal. Just. Heavy. Metal. No hyphens, no additional descriptions are necessary, just Metal. No other way to describe it.
There is a danger of taking Metal to it’s core. If a band has no gimmick, no insane guitar hero soloist, no symphonic stuff, no iconic mascot, no concept album story-line, no readily identifiable characteristics, then that band HAS to rely strictly on song-writing. The strength of the song coupled with the performances and execution of that song is what it comes down to. Seventh Calling strips it all to the core and does a very decent job but not exceptional. BATTLE CALL consists of nine tracks, 3-5 minutes long and they bust out some pretty solid Metal tunes. Many people have come and gone but vocalist and guitarist Steve Handel stays true to his vision. His is now the only original member left. Despite multiple line-up changes, moving cities and no record deal, we need true metal warriors like Steve, to keep fighting in the trenches. His voice is workmanlike, a bit rough, gruff even battle weary, he shows his limitations as a singer when he tries to over-extend himself. Musically these guys remind me of any number of second and even third-tier US bands, hell, we can list dozens of them alphabetically, Aftershock, Angels Of Babylon, Arctic Flame…well…you get the point. BATTLE CALL has good pace, simple, classically-inspired Metal riffage, some flourishes in the solos and a nice warm production with a good thick guitar tone, it is Metal all the way without compromise.
Every single city in America has their own local version of Seventh Calling, just hard-working honest, Metal guys who are slogging it out on the bar circuit and maybe opening for larger international touring acts. On any given Friday night, these guys could be your favourite local band. BATTLE CALL is a worthy album but not quite enough to take them into big leagues….yet. I admire Seventh Calling and like what they are doing but they just have to crank it up a notch next time.