Not only was the EP received well but they managed to bag themselves a slot at Bloodstock Festival courtesy of their coveted Metal To The Masses competition, cementing their status as one’s to watch on the unsigned metal scene (Aided by some determined self-promotion). With their profile rising and with the band finding themselves expanding their live audience venue by venue, it’s perfect timing for them to drop their 2nd EP “Damnation”, to really strike while the iron is hot. The band recently asked me to check it out ahead of its release this December, and I’ll be damned if I don’t!
The EP opens up with “Is This Fear” and immediately we’re swept up in this surging yet harmonious, grand cinematic instrumental intro; we’re literally seconds in and already we find the band’s sound has evolved as they experiment with their approach. It doesn’t take long however before the metal kicks in and once again you can hear a diverse array of influences in their style, ranging from classic melodic metal, to thrash to death-infused, polyrhythmic brutality. It yo-yo’s between the calm and almost carnivorous quite well and the song is well-balanced, kicking this EP off nicely.
Follow up track “BTK” however slows things RIGHT down and the transition is almost jarring. The subdued plucking of guitar strings and restrained percussion is almost creepy as it sets a foreboding tone, until the track comes to life with a more regimented style of death metal. The riffs are semi-sluggish as they chug along with a doom-like sensibility, while the vocal delivery is almost bullet pointed. A totally different approach to our opener but while not as entertaining, it does highlight that diversity in their influences all the more. The title track returns to a more traditional metal approach instrumentally, though retaining a distinct heaviness, while the bulk of the vocals stick to guttural growling, chorus aside (Especially that impressive note Steve hits at the tracks climax), and you can hear the bands admiration for the likes of AMON AMARTH and INSOMNIUM. Finally then, closing track “Dead Without Dying” rounds things up with another weighted, borderline somnolent display of riffs that’s sadly more than a little anti-climactic.
What’s clear is that the band are unafraid to try to concoct their own brand of melodic death metal, still dabbling in an array of genres, still finding room to experiment a little more. The trouble however in doing that is Democratus are still seemingly trying to find their identity. There ARE more signs here that they are in fact heading more down the route of heavier, death-inspired metal; this EP seems angrier in presentation and delivery, but they aren’t 100% there yet. As with their debut, the weakest aspects really are the cleaner vocals and to be fair they’ve restricted that aspect of their sound here, with less power metal vocalisation, and really that suits them a lot more. With the bands profile growing show by show, coupled with the bands passion and determination, Democratus are absolutely on the right path and making all the right steps, but this path is a long and winding one, and their journey has only just begun.