Distorta-A Devil in the Dust EP as reviewed by Mark Jenkins. A crushing metal powerhouse, all riffs and aggression, no bullshit.


Distorta-A Devil in the Dust EP as reviewed by Mark Jenkins. A crushing metal powerhouse, all riffs and aggression, no bullshit.

What a wicked independent release from Ballarat, a place known for so many brilliant heavy bands. The initial description made me expect a weak, old-school Manowar type of lame metal, but alas this is solid and frankly awesome. They mix the past with modern metal so perfectly. These high quality tracks will capture your attention from the first listen because this is well-crafted and superb metal at its best. Jump on the Distorta train asap, because this band are going places.

First up, let me say even though I have no idea of the band's history or what previous bands the members were in, but the experience shows strongly. Every player is tuned in with the others, it is raw and energetic but shows a maturity in ability and songwriting skill. The overall sound is quite mixed in the best possible way, a few pressers and reviews go on about heavy metal-but this is solid groove-based death thrash with definitely some metalcore vibes. But the better elements of all these styles are utilised to make the confident and competent style shine. 

Tough arse opener The Tomorrow People sits in that peak Metallica/Exodus/Testament window with pounding drums and lovely crash work, a domineering bass force and superb guitarwork matched with acidic lead vocals and equalling harmonious, yet nasty backing vocals. But it can be gripping Judas Priest-like in terms of composing melody, but also has that gnarly thrash groove. A super solid way to open a wild and hectic EP.  The Title track threw me for a six with much deeper vocals to open and overwhelming drums/riffs that were so face-forward. The chorus is exceptionally raw but has a harmony of classic metal, very impressive. A great showcase for the lead vocalist by a mile, hell of a singer. And a dirty, manic groove reminiscent of Lamb of God, no easy feat. Chasing Shadows equally keeps you on your toes with just pulverizing riff after riff. This also has a super confident Lamb of God vibe that really digs hard into your skull. Again, the harmonies reminded me of big stadium metal bands with such focused intent and catchiness overload. Another massive track that frankly just rocks, rocks and rocks some more. Epic and so metal.

Just when you are hoping for some downtime, Bones Balanced smashes the bejesus out of you, with yet another stellar vocal performance and wild harmonious backing vocals. The pummelling drive and energy on this is off the chain, and this band by being diverse in their influences really have the world as their oyster. Equally entrancing are the brilliant main riffs that are staggeringly punishing. Suffocate is the majestic and enthralling closer and is more about balanced psychosis-striking the impeccable balance between aggression and harmony; this is definitely the most commercial-sounding track, simply because it rocks so damn hard. The skill contained is immaculate songwriting, clever use of tone and harmony and phat arse guitarwork/vocals that refuse to be pacified. 

This is an excellent release and this band deserves big gigs, high exposure and all the bells and whistles. Impressive as hell and an instant classic.

Out now, grab a cd at a gig, hit the band up and it's on all the main streaming platforms.

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