This Canadian act has had a couple of releases out previously as my first dabble with their music was via the split they did with Solanum in 2015. Following on from that is this sophomore which is an explosion of thrash and crossover with a savage production. That production has given the guitar work a rawness that you don’t often hear with thrash albums these days as bands tend to use as many tricks to get their sound right. This is warts and all 30 minutes of battering riffs, clanging drums and pummelling bass work, topped off by the harsh scathing vocals.
“Rotting In Plain Sight” opens the album and immediately you are thrown against the wall by the sound which is piercing but highly effective even if an old thrasher like myself prefers harsher styled stuff as it allows me to reminisce. However don’t be fooled by my superlatives of the sound thinking it is poorly done, as this is not the case, the sound is deliberate and gives massive emphasis to the riffs which are simplistic, relatively speaking, but balanced by the ferocity of the vocals and drums perfectly exemplified by the crossover assault of “Dark Thoughts”. “Stewing In Misery” begins with a fine build up riff that sits on the hardcore side building nicely towards the detonation of the riff break which is superb and very like crossover period D.R.I.
The dynamics of this release give you tracks with varying levels of speed and intensity as “Losing Time” uses a fine bass hook with the guitar riff. Definitely more hardcore based the songs shouted vocal style suits it impeccably as a riff break rockets from the speakers in trademark hardcore fashion complete with the rapidly spat out lyrics. The bands crossover style is more dominant on this release than the split with Solanum or debut making the release far more violent as “Famine” begins with a thrash base increasing the songs power via surges in speed as the track careers into hardcore fused bedlam topped by a piercing guitar hook. The track is one of the heaviest too, deploying double bass to great effect. Instrumental “Hatred” is what you’d expect, 81 seconds of blistering aggression that links nicely into “Sons Of Dogs” even though this tune favours a more heavy metal based riffing style that wouldn’t be remiss on a classic Judas Priest album.
I really enjoyed “Breaking Your Mind” which has a great riff and bouncing mosh like beat as the song gears itself up for the riff break which is pure Slayer and works brilliantly making this tune purely thrash with only the vocals hinting at the crossover credentials. This is an album packed with riffs as “Punishment” begins with a fine riff that has some similarities to mid-era Razor being sharp, nasty and fierce leaving “Mortal Kind” to finish you off. Beginning slowly the song evolves along a thrashing riff towards the riff break which arrives and is one of the quirkiest on the album.
If you’re of the modern thrash/crossover persuasion preferring a modern production without the warts then buy it as this is the proper stuff and if you’re a discerning old school thrasher then look no further as Epi-Demic will be your favourite new band.
(8/10 Martin Harris)