Reviews Calico System Outside are the Vultures

Calico System

Outside are the Vultures

Sadly it seems that this review took a little too long to finish and the band that was to be reviewed has called it quits. But Calico System have arguably left an impression and their LP Outside are the Vultures is a must listen for those who like run-of-the-mill music. This review will start with the bands mission statement explaining what the band means to do musically, but unfortunately and quite humorously it shines a light of irony instead of knowledge.

We Use the Vulture as a Metaphor
It is the scavenger feeding on every dead trend and decaying idea.
It’s the exploitation and glorification of every meaningless fad and empty emotion.
It’s the music business. It’s the scene. Its insincerity.
It’s the danger in doing anything heartfelt during a time when the fakes are soaring.
We aren’t a tight little package thrown together by a record label, nor do
We have a gimmicky name that made us huge on MySpace…

This is where you, as a reader, should be laughing hysterically. Especially after listening to the album and realizing that these guys are full of themselves and completely clueless. The irony is almost too much to handle but it requires a certain degree of analysis. First is the vulture, although it is supposed to represent the band feasting on the dying fads of the music scene, the vulture is the most clichéd animal ever used in heavy metal. Second is the mention - with disdain – of MySpace and its influence on the popularity of bands. Ironically if you read the back of the disc you see their advertisement for their own MySpace page. Lastly, is the implication that they don’t fit into a pretty little mold, but the disappointing part is, this band sounds exactly like said bands from said mold. Their songs sound the same, there is nothing innovative or different, and the sing/scream vocals are gimmicky and nauseatingly trendy. The funniest thing of all is the cover art of the album which pictures a vulture which, is supposed look like it’s flying next to the car, but instead looks as if it is driving the vehicle, which is campy and oozes with annoying metal cliché.

This review may have an aura of sarcasm, negativity, and a “holier than thou attitude,” but rest assured this isn’t an entirely pessimistic evaluation because Outside are the Vultures has its share of bright moments if often overshadowed by mediocrity. The album starts off very promising with “Vultures” an intro that fuses epic piano with chugging guitars. But that brightness soon fades with “The Rising Tide” which reeks of past metal releases. “Sleepwalker” is a very interesting interlude, which seems like a foreshadowing to a truly amazing track. Unfortunately the song goes nowhere and it seems more like an afterthought and doesn’t flow into the next song like it should. The last track on the album shows what the band could have been capable of had they stayed together or realized their potential. “Molotov Cocktail Fireflies” has a few things going for it, the title is creative and poetic, the song structure moves and changes phenomenally, and the ending fades away leaving a sense of wanting more. It’s too bad that Calico System went down different paths because they had the potential to make great music.

Heavy metal is a tired genre with many bands that either trailblaze or burn out. Calico System unfortunately do the latter and end up ashes in the wind of a break up, leaving many lamenting over a band with a promising career. But like carrion to the vultures, this band is a mere shadow down in the pit of half-eaten corpses that is metal music.

5.0 / 10Ryan M
KFAI - Roar of the Underground
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