Roll Call - Sotto Il Suo Cielo (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Roll Call

Sotto Il Suo Cielo (2009)

Chorus of One

Finally! A European punk band that doesn't feel like they have to sing in awkward, grammatically-massacred English! It's a breath of fresh air, but alas, it's also one of the more exciting things about this album.

Roll Call hails from Italy and plays a standard style of slow Oi! punk and/or roughed-up rock and roll. Though the first track "Preludio" is an intensity-building angry mob clip like the beginning of Refused's "Rather Be Dead" or Leftover Crack's "So You Wanna Be a Cop?", the album that follows thoroughly lacks the intensity to match.

The main problem is with the pacing. Slower songs aren't inherently bad, but the sluggishness heard here is almost distracting. Songs like "Ricco Annoiato" (or "Bored Rich") and "Fiero" ("Proud") aren't really bad, but with the average song somewhere around four minutes in length, they just spend too much time not really going anywhere. "No Mi Tzicheddi" is the fastest song, and at 3:44, nearly the shortest, which would generally make for the best of a punk band, but the repetitive chord pattern makes getting through it a chore. The album's most enjoyable track is actually "Sotto il suo Cielo" ("Under Her Sky") which is catchy and has a great gang chorus that captures the Oi! spirit better than anything else on the disc. The nice part about the included CD booklet is that it comes complete with translations of each song from the Italian they were written and sang in to the English of this review. Though the translations are a bit rough, it's evident that Roll Call has a pretty good handle on lyric writing, though it's hard to compare to other Italian bands who don't include translations. Take "Appropriazione indebta" for instance: "Man open your eyes and look at your land / Raped by sheikhs and war debts / Our history derided and reduced to folklore / Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the big show."

There are some pretty decent songs on here, but save for a few tracks, Roll Call fails to create anthems the way great oi! bands like Cock Sparrer and Sham 69 did.