Donum Dei have been building themselves a reputation as a fearsome live act since they formed in late 2011 as ‘Damage Case’. Essentially still schoolboys back then, they have honed their craft at gig after gig until they have become a force to be reckoned with.
Their debut EP has been in the pipeline seemingly for as long as the band have existed; after many setbacks and delays Justice Fails was finally released on June 6th of this year.
The title track kicks the EP off with an old school chugging riff intro, which brings to mind the likes of Metallica and Mötorhead. The venomous lyrics and frontman Thomas Marshall’s enraged and disdainful vocals slot in perfectly with the song’s dirty, sludgy groove, particularly during the chorus. A rather delicate interlude offers temporary respite before a proper thrashy outro brings the track to a shuddering conclusion.
‘No Escape’ follows: interestingly this, the first song the band created, is the strongest on the EP. It sets a blistering pace right off the bat, with Marshall’s vocals at their most powerful and vociferous. With its Pantera-esque groove and proper wailing guitar solos, this is a treat for the ears indeed. The old style fake ending also builds admirable tension: this is what bands did prior to now-ubiquitous breakdowns, kids.
Final track ‘Redemption’ brings a touch of NWOBHM to the EP, with a nicely toughened groove and a thrashy, boisterous feel. Marshall snarls and spits out the angsty lyrics with a rancor that’s as real as it is slightly surprising (so young! So angry!). The level of talent displayed in this song in particular is pretty damn impressive – make no mistake: despite their relatively tender years, it’s clear that this is a band that eats, sleeps and breathes music.
In short, this EP contains three tracks of proper (there’s that word again) heavy metal. There’s no frigging around with song structure, no clever gimmicks, no show off-y genre straddling, just metal in its purest form. Now that the ball is well and truly rolling for Donum Dei, expect great things from them.
◀ STANDOUT ⁞ No Escape ▶
◀ SOUNDS LIKE ⁞ Metallica, Machinehead▶