Aside from losing a few members since their last effort, The Calico System (note 'The' has been added for legal reasons) have made some rather big changes for "Outside Are The Vultures". For you see, where their 2005 outing "They Live" relied heavily on pop-punk tinged melodic screamo, this time around the band have made a crucial balance shift with the bulk of their weight being put towards snarling aggression.
In an increasingly heavier musical climate this decision would seem like a no-brainer, but the band have also taken it one step further. Rather than once again go the route of longing emo croons they steer their vulnerable harmonies into post-hardcore with prog aspirations. Not entirely brainy, yet inquisitive enough to give the songs more bite and vitality, it proves to be a wise choice. As does the included more metallic bent that favors the better parts of Every Time I Die and Converge.
Still, for all the open riffs and forays into brute force there are some hang-up's that don't necessarily hold the band back, but instead keep them from really shining. Despite the fact that their performance is both cagey and hungry, it barely possesses any undeniably unique traits (though thankfully it doesn't borrow heavily either.) On top of that, while the songs remain engaging, they utilize a bit too much repetition for their simplistic structuring to continually hold up.
The group do combat this by ensuring that their songs remain rather brisk with an album running time that clocks in at just under thirty minutes. But even so, it still takes its toll on the listeners attention span. That said, there's enough fresh implementation here to keep the band from being put out to pasture with the rest of dying metalcore herd; but if they hope to keep up with the predators, a little more ingenuity will be required on future output.
(3.5 / 5)