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Demo 2002
August 2002
Released: 2002, Independent
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: EvilG

Die-hard Imagika fans will recognize the name Michael Dargis as the band’s former bass player. He left the band for personal and work-related reasons shortly after the band’s last album. As such, I wasn't sure he'd return to the metal arena. Thankfully he’s now resurfaced in northern Michigan based band Conspiracy. The big difference in this band is that he’s NOT the bass player but the guitarist! This is nothing new for Michael, as guitar was his first instrument and he’s played in other bands before as guitarist. Joining him is Jim Steele (formerly of Michigan based band Steelthorn) on vocals. Pete Henry currently completes the line-up on bass (also from Steelthorn). To date, the band has yet to find a drummer. Auditions are underway and they hope to announce a new member late this summer.

So what style of metal does Conspiracy play? Well let me first tell you NOT to expect Imagika styled thrash metal at all! I can’t hear any similarities between the two bands at all. There are places where the riffing is a bit on the thrash side, but it’s not as intense or as fast as the Imagika style. For the most part the music is good ole heavy metal. At times the vocals take on a bit of a pseudo grunge sound a la Alice In Chains. Otherwise the vocals are not growling, nor are they clear and melodic...taking a more middle of the road vocal range. Since there are only four tracks on this demo, let’s take a closer look at each of them. The demo opens with “Let’s Get Crazy” which begins with some Alice In Chains styled vocals then the main riff comes it. It’s not thrash, but it has hints of the style in places. The vocals remind me a bit of Phil Anselmo without the over the top screaming. The breakdown at 2:14 to about the three-minute mark is the best part of the song. It’s followed by a very short solo that uses the wah effect (something I’m not a big fan of, but that’s just personal taste). “Trapped” beings with a bass riff and is a slower paced song focusing more on groove. The vocals in this one have a bit of that "grunge-metal" feel. “Believe” again begins with a nice bass riff. The song is also mid-paced and groove orientated. The vocals on the chorus again have the AiC style. Vocalist Jim Steele doesn’t sound like Lane, but he must have been an influence! The best part of the song is at 2:12 just before the solo – hints of thrash emerge. CD closer “Shine” was not up my alley at all. It’s clean guitar and laid back vocals…no solos or drums at all.

Based on what I’ve heard form this demo, I think the band is good, but some things need tweaking. I would have liked a couple of faster songs mixed in and vocals could use a little less of the AiC styling, more aggression, and more force. Despite that, I look forward to hearing more form the band in the future!

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