Right away, Call to War blends together the likes of Slayer and Kreator as the group’s foundation. Dark and sinister sounding thrash compositions with hints of melody thrown in make for a truly oppressive sounding effort, though one that ends up a little weak due to the audio quality. The instruments themselves sound fairly weak most of the time, and the mix of raspy and guttural vocals are just a bit too far in the mix to lend any sort of aid to the flailing quality. It also seems like there was intent on making this sound more like an analog release from the nineties, but in doing so removed most of the bite from the instruments, leaving a somewhat dull recording in its wake.
“Under the Surface” seems to get the worst of this, sadly. The song is heavily driven by the drums thanks to the tight, shorter chords and varying melodies in the bridges, and the direct audio quality fails to really make any of it hit. This is unfortunate given how well the tension is actually built by the band in their performance heading into the chorus, and even when spiraling out of it. The solo approaching two-and-a-half minutes tries to bring in a decent authority to command your head to bang along involuntarily, but the bite simply isn’t there until the bass kicks fill up some of the emptiness thirty seconds later, leaving an incredibly short amount of time for the song to feel like it has any real bulk to it whatsoever.
Thankfully, the rest of the material isn’t as unlucky. “Killing Ecstasy” is one of the richest sounding cuts of the release, and the tighter performance is complimented by far more melodic riffs, additional speed, as well as a stronger presence from the drums in general, largely the increase in bass kicks present which help fill any gaps from the stringed instruments. “Call to War”, however, asserts itself with a mild distortion and hum of the bass chords, though the chorus throws a little modern Kreator in the vein of “Enemy of God” or “Suicide Terrorist” in your face. The two-step adds a little more energy to the mix, but the restricted audio still eats away at the music despite giving it a very subtle haziness that holds little value to the atmosphere.
Honestly, Call to War ends up a fairly mild sounding EP, even though the compositions should have a lot more bite to them overall. This seems to stem largely from the technical end, perhaps the mastering, trying to force an overly digital recording quality into analog standards. It leaves the instruments, and even the vocals, sounding dull and unimpressive, even though you can clearly tell that if you were sitting there in the studio listening in on the session, your head would be banging right along to what was meant to come through as commanding and infectious thrash metal. It’s sad to say that this winds up an uninspiring effort given the strengths on display, even if they can take too much influence from Kreator to the point where you sit there knowing you’ve heard those very riffs before. But, even with their heroes and inspirations worn on their sleeves, Call to War doesn’t have the strength needed to hold the listener’s attention, though heir performances live will definitely be a different story.