Having had three demos to review of Israel’s EPIDEMIC, it is pretty odd that the oldest of them is the best and that is “Evil Against Evil”. However, that isn’t saying much. Lots of bands use intros to set a mood or the tone of the album itself; but the track “Intro” used for this release is just plain weird. Instead of the usual either acoustic or sombre initial offering one might expect, EPIDEMIC hit you with baroque horror sound which then morphs into Electronica, the second half of has as straight forward a rave beat as you will find. Intros are common as I said and many really have no significance, but the one used here by the band may have the consequence of a Metal fan pressing stop on their CD player.
Once the album truly gets going we are treated to EPIDEMIC’s minimalist approach to Death Metal; at least the production is minimalist. There are no deep sounds here, just the mid-to high end that the band could only produce. This is Death in all its old school glory, conjuring sounds of POSSESSED or early DEATH. The only problem is that the songs themselves aren’t terribly well written and as I said, produced. This leaves one thinking they may have picked up an old, unfinished album, instead of a modern demo. I understand that bands don’t have the money to get in to a studio and pay for a producer, but these days almost anyone can do a decent job with a computer and their instruments. I may be wrong; perhaps EPIDEMIC want the sound of 20 years ago? “Evil Against Evil” is a confluence mostly of old Thrash and primitive Death Metal. It is easy to compare these songs also at times to the most unrefined moments of VENOM. The vocals on the demo are all over the place from growls to almost spoken word, something EPIDEMIC seem to like to do. Again, and I hate to keep bringing it up, but the production of the vocals are so unhinged and uneven it throws you off. I’m not sure if the band is quite sure of what they want themselves to be. Songs like “Backstabber” have some decent and simple riffs that in another setting could be beefed up and amount to a much better recording. “Then” is probably the highlight of the album, thrashing out of the fold with a speedy mix of guitars and double bass; the opening cool riff is repeated during the middle of the track and works well to give the song its cohesion. There is also some pretty nifty solo work on “Evil Against Evil”, which ironically is the only part of the music that may benefit from the poor production as it gives them a more ethereal sound which many bands with shit loads of money try to capture through twisting knobs and turning dials. “Outro” is as weird as “Intro” with its bump ‘n’ grind electronic signature. I have absolutely no clue what the band is trying to attempt here.
Production kills this demo, but the uneven writing also doesn’t help either. If EPIDEMIC could get themselves some decent studio time and a good mixer along with honing their avenue of whether they are an oddity or a Thrash-Death hybrid, then they may make some inroads to becoming a band people will know about.
(Online December 28, 2007)