Hailing from Germany, progressive/technical metal newcomers Call of Heretics seem poised for something great on their debut EP Seven Ghosts. Given that this is the band’s first release and they’re still working on some of the growing pains of writing a quite challenging type of music considering the off-kilter rhythms and melodic slathering akin to bands like Protest the Hero and The Human Abstract, Seven Ghosts doesn’t quite reach its full potential in these seven tracks. But where there is opportunity to grow, Call of Heretics show they often have the chops to give their own take on a whirlwind of guitars and punching drums with enough muster that you’ll want to be keeping an eye on them in the future.
The sonic similarities between this EP and the PTH record Kezia are numbered and recognizable through both the use of guitars and the vocal approach taken, or at least attempted, at points on the EP. Opener “Ants” features almost too jagged songwriting and relentless guitars, while “Personal Limbo” gives the band a much more solid ground with meaty riffs and slightly more predictable rhythmic output. While at times COH can be quite enthralling in their forward-thinking acrobatics (“Leave This Symmetry,” “Your Face Looks So Distorted”), the biggest marks are left in the epic-leaning choruses that are bolstered with high-flying melodies and precision drumming to boot. This is very much founded in a technical mindset though, so overly looping ideas and revisited sections seem few and far between on these duck-and-weave journeys.
The biggest flaw, at least to someone who can hear this band taking bits from said record, lies in the underwhelming clean vocals. They just aren’t quite powerful enough in the mix – or seemingly at all – to match the energy of the instrumentation or the screaming. Maybe it is just a production issue to some, but it truthfully sounds like for such an epic sound, the vocals are a little restrained in terms of overall presence. As far as the screaming goes, the tighter roar of a mid-range scream mixes well with the balanced tones of the guitars – not too aggressive but certainly not without some force behind it.
While still with some work to do in fine-tuning their sound, the bulk of the music Call of Heretics is bringing to the table certainly matches the drive and intelligent nature of the peers they seem to want to be associated with. Here’s to hoping a little time touring and tinkering will strengthen the weaker links in the chain – as the band sounds to be on the right track towards a sound that is challenging and as powerful as it could be.