Released: 2001, Independent
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
As you might imagine, here at Metal-Rules we sift through large numbers of demos. In a way reviewing demos is one of the most important things we do, because these are, of course, the new bands that will bring metal into the future. While it’s thankfully rare to review a demo that really sucks, it’s also about equally unusual to review one that really stands head and shoulders above its peers. You feel greatly lucky to have been let in on the early stages of what might be a terrific metal band that will one day be a pillar of the scene, and you get excited about metal all over again.
DIVIDE & CONQUER had that effect on me. This molten, heavy, instantly likeable mini-album showcases a band that has nowhere to go but up. Deaths Boundaries are a thrash outfit hailing from Adelaide, Australia. Their metal is hard-hitting, catchy, blistering, and yet quite melodic. Rooted firmly and inescapably in the realm of traditional thrash metal, this band works hard, and they deliver. The first track, “Face of God,” serves up 80s-style guitar arpeggio acrobatics in its first few seconds, then smashes into pile-driver rhythms that leave no doubt you’re listening to a winner. The second rack, “My Wish,” is even better. While I confess I listen to very little thrash metal in general, I’d like to think I know good thrash when I hear it. “My Wish” well showcases the fact that these guys were obviously listening to large amounts of Slayer when they were in their pacifier-and-diaper days (judging from their album photo, one of these blokes, vocalist Paul Stewart, looks young enough to be barely out of them). Rhythm guitars churn while guitarist Leonard DeRoma goes to work on a fantastic solo. None of the other tracks let up for a second. Most of this is mid-tempo stuff, with an occasional burst of speed. I really liked the fact that in all the speed and power, melody has not been ignored either. It’s very hard for me to say which of the five tracks here is the best because they’re all excellent. Wherever the needle drops on DIVIDE & CONQUER, if you like metal, you’ll be happy!
Even the production on this independently-produced EP is exceptional, easily on par with most professional stuff. The crystal-clear recording actually does justice to the considerable guitar talents of DeRoma and Marten Pine, and although he may look awfully young, Mr. Stewart is not to be underestimated when it comes to hard-hitting vocals. It would have been very easy to plug yet another Phil Anselmo clone into the microphone stand of an outfit like this, but that is NOT the case here, as the vocals are actually pretty unique. In fact, the only thing I didn’t like about DIVIDE & CONQUER was that it was too short!
Deaths Boundaries are an excellent band and I sincerely hope their future is as bright as I think it is from listening to this. Those of you who’ve read my reviews should appreciate that it’s not easy to satisfy me without a sword, an elf or a troll in sight (and there are none on this album). Yet I loved Deaths Boundaries to death, no pun intended. I strongly advise you to check them out. Go to their web site, http://www.chariot.net.au/~deathsboundaries
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
and beg them to let you buy this album.