The four young men of Donum Dei have over the past year plus cut their metal teeth on the live circuit, gradually growing into songs and performances. And, now they have taken the next step and laid down three tracks in their début release 'Justice Fails'.
The title track is already a live favourite with its 'Tallica style riffage and call outs. Thomas Marshall strains at the proverbial leash vocally, sometimes trying a little too hard to replicate his live output. It is a minor niggle amidst the joyous noise.
Stuart McLoughlin's lead work as always melds with Marshall's rhythm - as is evident on second track 'Redemption'. But the scaffolding all the recorded - and indeed the live renditions - are based on is the work of Alastair Marshall's drums and Dean Kane's manic bass work.
'Redemption' sees the band showcase a more contemporary take on the thrash sound; they have learned their lessons well at the feet of the bands they have supported without slavishly copying them.
EP closer 'No Escape' is the stand-out of the three, with Marshall adopting a more raucous roar as the track's relentless pace leads into a chorus that catches the unwary listener before a solo leads into some tremendous melodic twin guitar work that has Marshall and McLaughlin locked into a guitar mind meld.
As a first release this once more demonstrates the sheer potential that oozes from Donum Dei. In places the production and mix are - as one would expect from any start-up - a little rough and ready. Developing that will require more time understanding how to work in a studio, understanding how to adopt the power and passion from the live setting to the confines of the sound room.
As a first time out of the recording blocks what this demonstrates is that Donum Dei are on the cusp of developing into something special. With the ep, their live shows, being a recent finalist in Metal2TheMasses and having the right attitude to learning we cannot wait until the next stage of DD's development.
Justice Fails will be launched in July.
The first opportunity to buy a copy will be tonight (Saturday 6th June) when Donum Dei support NWOBHM band Chariot in the Diamond Rock Club in Ahoghill Rock City
Review by Jonny