Belfast four-piece Stranglewire have only been around a year or so now, releasing their debut single “Narcissism” only last June and are back to bend your ears with this six track EP. They may have only been in existence a little while but the band is comprised of some seasoned veterans of the NIDM scene and this is apparent on this very polished yet brutal effort.

The first two tracks, the total chug-fest that is “The Games They Play” and “The Narcissist” re-appear from their debut single and sound really good. Chris Fielding’s superb production at once makes the band sound stripped down yet chunky as fuck. “The Games They Play” reminds me of when Dying Fetus goes super catchy, quality song with a super-bouncy (according to Mrs Eve) main riff. While “The Narcissist” is a more brooding, slower and menacing song. “Psycpathic Blue” starts like “Heartwork” era Carcass (no bad thing) and soon tears off towards the horizon in a flurry of blasts and layered vocals that are very well done.

“The Failure Exhibit” is up next which packs in loads of neat ideas from the Meshuggah style riff to some brilliant drumming. “Through A Black Lens” is a more run of the mill death metal tune, nothing wrong with it just not particularly memorable while EP closer “Den Of Inequity” has a lovely crushing riff and is another slower track (think “Scourge Of Iron” by Cannibal Corpse) and perfectly rounds off the record.

Now apparently this EP is divided into three sections, entitled Narcissism, Psychopathy and Machiavellianism, with two tracks a piece. Very clever.

This is a decent EP from a very promising band possessed of bucket loads of groove and ideas. Well worth checking out.

(7/10 Mark Eve)