Birmingham-based metallians Devil’s Dice have been around a little while now, and although their sound couldn’t really be described as fresh, there’s an undeniable joy about their music that’s hard to resist.

Melodic metal is the order of the day – the heaviest thing here is the cover of Judas Priest‘s Hellion/Electric Eye that features on the CD version of this release – and the lads sing and play everything with enthusiasm and not a little skill. That Priest cover I mentioned is obviously the best track on offer – it’s a really storming attempt on the song, if truth be told – but the band’s own material has plenty going for it even if stylistically it’s pretty different.

Opening track War of Attrition has some nice, riffy attitude – vocalist Matt Gore has a very appealing vocal style that invites the listener to sing along – whilst second track Confessor plods a little when it really wants to strut; Martyrs in Crime, on the other hand, has a real swing to it thanks to some neat bass work from Adam Newbery and a semi-rapped delivery through parts of the song from Gore. Guitarists David Clark and Chris Webb add some nice harmony leads to the mix, and the result, whilst straight from the early nineties,  is pretty good!

The EP’s final original cut, Red Light Rage, has some more of that swing, and Gore’s assured vocals are again a real highlight. This is seriously good stuff, high quality hard rock to be sure, but it’s not really ‘heavy metal’ per se. The band now seem to rest on the horns of something of a self made dilemma – do they go in the more melodic direction that bets material here seems to indicate would be the thing to do? Or do they indulge more of their metal impulse as the Priest cover seems to suggest might be their own preferred path. So many questions posed by a humble five track EP!

Whatever way the cards fall, I’m pretty sure Devil’s Dice are good enough to handle the outcome. And I can’t wait to see what sort of music emerges!

War of Attrition is out now.