Canadian three piece Epi-Demic take all their musical cues from the mid-eighties, cooking up a tasty broth of crossover mayhem for modern day kids to get their kicks to. For those of us who’ve heard it all before, their almost naïve worship at the altars of the likes of Cryptic Slaughter and Beyond Possession won’t fail to bring a nostalgic smile to the lips and a desire to ruffle the young pups tousled heads as they grind past on their Suicidal boards; However I can imagine youngsters new to the mosh pit being really inspired and exited by the raw energy on display here so we would appear to have on our hands what we call in the industry a ‘win-win situation’.
Actually on a more modern tip, Texans Birth A.D. are probably just as relevant a comparison here, especially on more violent tracks like the brutal Famine,which along with the similarly animalistic Punishment showcases the band at its best. But elsewhere UK crust merchants Broken Bones and Discharge regularly rear their heads thanks to the excellent riffwork of a clearly Bones-obsessed guitarist/vocalist Adam, whilst an occasional seam of surprisingly pure US punk influence makes itself known in surprising but undoubtedly welcome fashion.
At this point the band don’t quite have enough in their song writing locker to take full advantage of their other skills, with the sort of truly big choruses needed to make a monstrous crossover album missing pretty much throughout; Sons of Dogs makes a stab at rectifying this with some spirited background vocals, whilst the slower, more metallic intro to Breaking Your Mind hints at the band knowing that a bit of variety is everything, even in a heads-down genre like this. But ultimately to this reviewers ears these little bonuses are still not quite enough to register Malformed Conscience as an essential crossover purchase.
The digital copy of the album I received seems to be blighted with a dodgy mix that puts the bass playing of Kyle slightly at odds with Aaron’s drums and this can be a bit disconcerting – not to say annoying – at times, but overall there is enough raw enthusiasm and nascent skill in execution apparent here to make Malformed Conscience worth just over half an hour of your time.