Called to Arms - Peril and the Patient
Record Label: Tragic Hero Records
Release Date: August 10, 2010
On Peril and the Patient, Called to Arms presents “C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters: The Soundtrack,” a reinterpretation of the literary classic with a metal bend. The storyline, for anyone who hasn’t read the book, is simple: the book is a series of instructions from an upperclass demon to his apprentice on how to tempt a man (dubbed “the patient”) away from his faith. Here, Called to Arms does a masterful job of looking at the human condition from Lewis’ point of view, losing no time in setting the scene up: “War wages on behind closed doors - it’s in a book, on the bus, or in the midday paper! This is where we find the patient, on his way in search of salvation,” shrieks the opening lines. By the end of the first track, the narrator has already reached several eerie conclusions: a diagnosis (“But [the patient’s] subtle thoughts are building monuments to his eternity”), an observation (“Modern life hides war well!”) and a spine-tingling implication (“We are the patient, this is our story”). That’s quite a bold opener, by anyone’s standards.
All of this is done with a metalcore backdrop strongly reminiscent of Between the Buried and Me. The guitars sweep and chug with brazen passion, though you’ll probably notice them most when they piece together a glorious solo (see: “Pleasure in the Trough”). The songwriting has a progressive flavor to it too, like in “Vintage Pharisee,” where no-holds-barred metal snakes into a beautiful instrumental build-up. If you had to nitpick, you’d have to target the vocals, where the shrieks occasionally sound jarring; sticking with deeper growls might’ve proved more cohesive. But altogether Peril and the Patient is a slick listen for those with a sweet tooth for metal – easily one of the year’s best in its genre.
Still the crowning achievement of the album is its lyrics – the story they tell and the philosophy they slip in between the lines. In the end, “the patient” rides out the trials of life and keeps his faith, and his triumphant declaration, “My salvation is my tempter’s damnation, my freedom – his prison” is chill-inducing. But you can catch a hint of pride in the band as they thrash their way through this final song too – a sense of satisfaction in knowing they’ve produced a work that straddles a fanbase of everyone from brainy philosophy heads to modern metal-heads. Even more so, that it carries a spiritual transcendence. When “the patient” dies and slips into another world, he sighs “My soul has run away to be with a new creation.” On Peril and the Patient, it seems that Called to Arms has glimpsed that new creation.
Thanks for the review. A friend pointed out to me recently after reading this review though that our lyrics aren't easily available out there depending on the medium you go through to acquire our album...They were supposed to be with the itunes package but I guess they aren't.
I'll try and get these lyrics up online somewhere ASAP.