This is the first full-length album from this Australian black/thrash metal band, after a number of well-received demos and MCDs.
The guitar tone here alternates between chugging and a high, sharp sound that really brings out the occasional solo. Drums are low in the mix, but still perfectly audible, with a good deal of cymbal rather than bass, contributing to the biting tone of the songs. Vocals are especially noteworthy. They're snarled with a good deal of feeling, and perfectly understandable.
Thanks to Gospel of the Horns' excellent songwriting, their classic, thrashing Aussie black metal sound is in full effect on "A Call to Arms". These tunes are heavy and hateful, yet still catchy enough to stand up to repeated listening. This is one of those rare albums that sounds just as good the hundredth time as it did on the first.
The intelligible vocals are an important detail, given the strong ideological content of the lyrics. This album displays some of the best lyrical work I've ever heard. These words are clever, to the point, and viciously blasphemous, just as metal lyrics should be. In fact, this album's indictment of Christianity is perfectly clear from just one listen, even without a scrap of supporting art or text. That kind of clarity is a rare thing in black metal, and valuable, too - how can anti-Christian propaganda succeed if it cannot be easily understood?
"A Call to Arms" is more than worthy of my highest recommendations. This album is an essential purchase for any fan of black/thrash, and a treasured possession for those whose spirit is reflected in the lyrics. "An iron will is the will to succeed", indeed!