Dead Earth PoliticsFormed in 2005 in Austin, Texas, Dead Earth Politics made an impact in their locality with their 2006 debut E.P and 2010 full length release. After claiming accolades in the local Austin media regarding their sound and live shows, Dead Earth Politics have embarked on releasing a trilogy of EP’s, the second of which is titled “Men Become Gods”. Let’s see if this divine ascension lives up to the worship the five piece has received.

“Casting Stones” opens the EP with a aggressive sounding riff onslaught which has a very thrash like feel to it. This gives way to some serious groove feel in the verse with a vocal styling which sounds like a cross between Wayne Static of Static-X and Tim Williams of Bloodsimple/Vision of Disorder. It’s got a steady pace to it for the groove driven verses and the chorus has a faster pace, giving a sense of urgency which the guitars with their twisting riffs and the drums really emphasise. The solo is quite melodic and it goes into a really cool sounding harmony section afterwards which leads to a dramatic sounding break section which slows it down before another solo with some harmony moments comes in again. The final chorus follows this up with more strong vocal work and an even greater sense of urgency before it finally finishes with some big heavy harmonic laden grooves.

“Men Become Gods” has an epic feel to its intro. With power-metal friendly lead work in the intro (Think Iced Earth) it quickly descends into a heavy groove feel again with a twisting, heavy sounding series of riffs. The song switches between the power-metal feel and the groove feel frequently and the vocals are deeper in this one. Harshly snarled with some dramatic screams, Ripper Owens style, the song has that attitude to it which makes it hard to not headbang to. It has a really cool sounding breakdown with some fantastic rhythm section work. The bass is deep and clear and the drums are almost tribal like, giving a sense of something big coming. The big thing coming is a thrash styled series of riffs with a melodic and technical solo which freely flows over the powerful groove and doesn’t feel out of place at all. This also acts as the perfect transition back to the powerful thrash feel groove section and the final verse has the best vocal work of the track so far, helping set up a solid ending with some fantastic harmony guitar work.

“Ice and Fire” starts off quite thrash-like, but the power-metal and groove influences start to seep in. The fast paced guitars, laden with squealing pinch harmonics and solid drums help build towards a great series of riffs which gallop at a rapid pace and are punctuated with some power-metal friendly lines before it kicks into a full on thrash groove for the verses. Vocally, it’s delivered clean in the verses, displaying the diversity of the band so far and the harshening up in the pre-chorus works fantastic, helping build for that gallop to melodic lead section once again which provides the backdrop for the chorus. It’s a hard hitting track which retains the intensity from its intro throughout and it’s clear to see why such praise has been lauded on the band. Round the 2:40 mark it goes into a dramatic sounding breakdown. The lead guitar plays its melody line whilst the rhythm section has a chaotic feel to it and the harmony lead section which follows teases at something big but instead it leads back into the chorus which has some great vocal work, including a dramatic scream towards the end which ends the track well.

“Crimson Dichotomy” closes the EP. It opens up with a hypnotic, middle-eastern styled sound which persists as the clean sound fades into distortion territory. With an intricate series of riffs and drum fills, it picks up the pace into a full on metal gallop feel with pounding bass, tight drums and effective and twisting riffs. Vocally, its strong, retaining that Bloodsimple styled approach when clean and slipping into harsher growls where needed to emphasise the changes in feel. The chorus is hard hitting, retaining the punchy feel of the verses and the break round the 3 minute mark really ups the intensity with another thrash friendly section. Compared to the other tracks, this one is the weakest of the four, which is a disappointment really, especially as it closes the EP, but it’s still a heavy track and it does stay true to the style of the EP and isn’t there as just a space filler.

Overall, “Men Become Gods” is a good EP. It’s a great showcase for the band and if they can maintain this level of performance in their next planned release and hopefully then into a further full length one after that if they choose to go in that direction, this band can go places. They’re not quite gods yet, but they could get there if they keep going in this direction.

(7/10 Fraggle)