Dead Earth Politics – Men Become Gods EP (Self-Released)Thursday, 16th April 2015
Formed in 2005 in Austin, Texas, Dead Earth Politics has been honing its groove-laden modern thrash sound through the release of several EPs and a full-length debut album. The band’s first output saw the light of day in the form of the Mark the Resistance EP in 2008, which was followed up by full-length The Weight of Poseidon in 2010 and last year’s The Queen of Steel EP, which brings us to the band’s latest release, Men Become Gods, the second in a planned trilogy of EP releases.
The four songs on Men Become Gods contain plenty of heft and groove, thanks to bassist Will Little, who provides a solid foundation along with drummer Mason Evans, who often employs quick tempos and creative fills to keep the songs interesting. Right out of the gate, DEP will draw many comparisons to Lamb of God, as their brand of thrash identifies more with the modernized leanings of the genre with meaty, chugging riffs and a heavy dose of groove (see the title track), but restricting DEP’s sound to that of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal leaders from Virginia would not be entirely accurate. Woven around the grooves and chunky riffs are sleek guitar melodies and sharp leads, which are apparent right out of the gate in opener “Casting Stones,” courtesy of Tim Driscoll and Aaron Canady.
The mid-paced stomp of “Ice & Fire,” with melodic leads dancing over the top, is the thrashiest on the album and resembles more ’80s retro-thrash than the pre-dominant modern leanings throughout the rest of the songs. Also lending to a more traditional thrash sound are the backing gang vocals shouted in the chorus. In addition to the thick riffing, another element of the band that closely resembles Lamb of God is the vocals of Ven Scott, who possesses the rasp of Randy Blythe along with hints of Chuck Billy. While still packing an added punch when he delves for that deeper register, much the same way Billy does, Scott’s delivery is less guttural and more in the mid-range compared to Billy’s deep-throated growls. Scott shows his versatility and utilizes both his mid-register rasp and deeper death growl through the back and forth vocal salvos in album closer “Crimson Dichotomy.”
Having garnered the moniker of Austin Music Award’s Best Performing Metal Band in back to back years in 2012 and 2013, DEP has clearly established itself on the local scene. The band’s brand of progressive power thrash, a la Iced Earth, makes Men Become Gods a fun ride, but with a sea of quality releases available for fans to choose from, navigating those waters to a path of longevity can be a difficult one. Time will tell if the band climbs above the local club scene and reaches that next level, but until then, Men Become Gods should serve as an indicator of the band’s potential.