Guitarist Rob Cavestany described the album's title as "basically our motto" and further explained that:
In our point of view the dream being our band and keeping the band going and making music for your life. The blood is all the sacrifice and all hard work that goes into it and that's the metaphor for that. It's not only meant for music. It's also meant for other people to relate in their own life and goals that they're trying to achieve and the sacrifices that it takes to achieve these goals. And along with that, there's also a tinge of aggression in there about other people that cut corners and don't quite go through all the steps it takes to achieve the goal the right way. So there's a little bit of a middle finger to those people that go about it that way and don't fully respect what it takes.
The album features a guest guitar solo by the album's producer, Jason Suecof.
The Dream Calls for Blood has been well-received by critics. Writing for About.com, Neil Pretorius praised the album as "another triumph for a band that clearly still has a lot of gas left in the tank" and for "throw[ing] down the gauntlet to the thrash scene at large".Allmusic's Fred Thomas also praised the band for remaining a "powerhouse of tight and shiny thrash metal" this late in its career, observing that Death Angel "still sound visceral and hungry decades into their work, a rare case of a band getting sharper as it goes instead of mellowing". While Greg Pratt suggested in Exclaim! that the album's length was too long, he applauded the album's "super-tight rhythm section, killer guitar work and excellent vocals".Metal Forces' Neil Arnold noted that the album is a more "straight-laced" thrash album in contrast with the band's more experimental fare, which he claimed stands as "simple proof that Death Angel rules the thrash scene". Rich Dodgin from All About The Rock claimed the album is "An essential purchase for fans of thrash metal."