Demons of Dirt - _Killer Engine_
(Hammerheart, 2002)
by: Adam Lineker (6.5 out of 10)
Opening with a distorted blues riff, this band have immediately-evident Pantera influences, with the vocalist even sounding like Anselmo in phrasing and style. The guitars have a Pantera-esque overdrive and the hooks are very groovy, but the verse and filler sections have standard generic thrashy riffs. The drums are blessed with a tight mix, particularly on the overly prominent snare, but a loose cymbal sound. And they are too quiet, detracting from the impact of the riffs; couple this with the bass being splurged with an excess of twang, and the overall mix feels sloppy around the edges. This proves to obscure some of the construed harmonies. The title track is unremarkable, and between the bluesy opening riff of "Demon Blues", it takes until fourth track "Repetitions" to give something that grabs the attention, being a rather slick and groovy work of metal, with a more trad feel. Lyrically they have the attitude but ruin it with stupidity -- "Bow your heads to the Devil's reign / It fucks your brain / Wings of Pain"! Demons of Dirt knock out power groove with oddments of other metal styling thrown in. It works in bits but can be uninteresting and in this way, the quality of the songwriting is inconsistent, although the mood and constituency aren't. There are occasional flashes of quality amongst the unimaginative dirge of riffs; this band do best when they avoid the more thrashy elements and come up with groovy bridges and riffs. And it has to be said, the double-time snare drumming is very annoying and they totally rip off Slayer's "Seasons in the Abyss" during "Disrespect". There is some tight musicianship and stomping riffs to get the head bobbing but this is only just above average. It throws up some decent moments, but it's telling that they only seem to catch your attention when they sound like Pantera.

(article published 1/9/2002)


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