Epi-Demic are a Canadian based “street metal” crossover act that combines elements of thrash, punk, hardcore and old school death metal. It is also worth noting that there are some very proggy riffs here, which almost give such a raw performance an unexpected level of technicality. The band formed around ’05, having released a split with Solanum in ’10 and a full-length just a few years before that, simply called Madness.
Malformed Consciousness is their sophomore album, which this reviewer can only describe as not to my taste, but certainly not a bad record as a whole. I can certainly appreciate the level of work that has gone into melding so many different genres together as they’ve done here, but with an additional level of finesse that as I’ve stated with the proggy riffs, will take you by surprise. It’s like a punk music with a brainier edge, something you certainly don’t hear from such a raw and unhinged form of music like the brackish noise of punk. Punk music was always full-frontal, in your face and spitting thick mounds of saliva directly into the audience. It wasn’t ever truly technical or all that adventurous, though there have certainly been bands who’ve tried. Furthermore, it also became more pop-oriented, which they literally call “pop punk.” Now to me, that sounds like something of an oxymoron; but it is the year 2017 and I am finding that there are a lot of strange things I’m beginning to consider just a part of my normal existence. Soon enough, I’ll be the “get off my lawn, you damn kids!” old man and won’t understand much of anything. Granted, I see plenty of older folks in the same situation while I walk down the aisles at work, so I guess it is just a part of getting older.
In any case, updating a style like punk music to give it more bite and ingenuity isn’t something I’ll scoff at, so I’ll leave it at that. I’m not terribly fond of the frontman’s approach to the vocals here, but I do sense that a more punkish atmosphere and vibe was necessary for the band, surely becoming a must for their performances. I’m sure that they would probably have more of a following in the punk scene – I guess? After all, it’s tough to tell since the modern punk scene has become something of a caricature as of recent and is not something I will openly touch on here. I will say that those looking for the modern punk soundscape of bands like Crumbsuckers, English Dogs, Vio-Lence (I do believe that I’ve heard of that one), Broken Bones, Cro-Mags and other acts that the band consider influences, will more than likely find what they’re looking for here.
As a quick recap, while I did like the band’s decision to incorporate slightly more technical and uncommon riff styles for the genre, I wasn’t exactly pleased with the atmosphere as a whole. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. Though there’s still a possiblity that you will find something in it, so give it a listen if you find that the music below interests you.
(11 Tracks, 30:00)
(No video clips available, but audio samples are available on the purchase site. My apologies for this one.)