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This is an interesting one. Its definitely crust, but it takes influence from all kinds of metal, most notably sludge, thrash and black. The tempos are all over the place, one minute a slow sludgy riff will be playing, and the next minute some fast-paced thrashy rhythm guitar will kick in. The production is extremely raw, as is quite typical with crust punk.
The vocals here are female, which you can tell if you are trying to hear it, but it would be easy enough to mistake them for male. The raspy yells suit this kind of music perfectly. This and the occasional tremolo riff will make some draw connections with black metal. On their debut full length, Heidi, the vocalist, also plays violin. This element, which was a large part of why the debut is so memorable, had sadly not worked its way into the band's repertoire by the time this demo was released.
The guitar work is generally simple. Although not hard to play, the guitar is still quite good. The simple riffs still kick a tremendous amount of ass. The best riffs are the thrash ones. However, the riffs draw influence from a variety of different metal genres, which makes sure things never get boring. The leads should also get a mention. While equally as simple, they provide a break from the rhythm guitar, which otherwise would grow too ever-present. The bass isn't too buried, which provides a nice backbone. The bass intro to "For Sarah" sounds like a rudimentary attempt to do something that sounds sort of like Neurosis, a sound that would be successfully explored in the full length.
This is a pretty successful attempt of raw crust punk with a variety of metal influences. If you don't like raw crust, stay the hell away from this one; this isn't going to do it for you. Maybe try their full length - they completely reinvent their sound. But if you can't get enough of that raw crusty sound, look no further. It should also be noted that the cover is pretty damn cool.
This is a very confusing demo. Ecocide seems to deliberately do everything the 'wrong' way. This five-piece out of Texas plays a crusty yet somewhat undefinable breed of metal. Clearly there's the presence of sludge and thrash, as well as crossover, and perhaps some death, but many of the riffs seem to be much more oriented towards oldschool black metal than what you would normally think would arise from this sort of style. But the weirdness is in the delivery: you have fast black metal riffs slowed down to a sludge crawl, or Stormcrow doomcrust jacked up in tempo, or Celtic Frost chuggers played like speed metal; it all feels inappropriate, yet definitely unique.
It takes a good deal of balls for a band to so willingly forgo convention as Ecocide do. Crust and related genres tend to thrive off a general sort of familiarity, which Ecocide is pretty much giving up entirely. It's still recognizably crusty, with the same sonic qualities, but the music itself is strange: a lot of these riffs are oldschool thrash and black riffs which segue into almost Goatsblood like passages of brutally sparse sludge. This isn't nearly as easy a listen as something like Stormcrow, as the riffs tend to be more obscure and less openly epic and melodic in nature. Some more traditional sections are present: the skank beats midway through 'Drowning' have a pretty logical crust riff over them, but the majority of the time, the band is doing weird stuff like the death metal derived riffing of 'For Sarah'.
Now, despite the relative inaccessibility of this release (even among the style), I like it quite a bit. Honestly, Ecocide seem to be at their best when they're just grinding away with traditional death/crust material: it sounds like a rawer, slower Disrupt, and that's always cool. The more experimental stuff is interesting as well, but it's not nearly as catchy as the more 'normal' work. On that front, it shows a certain level of variation: Ecocide is a band not afraid to experiment, but also one that doesn't use such experimentation to hide the fact that they can't write a song. I'd probably like it more if the delineation between traditional and experimental was a bit sharper, perhaps, with songs dedicated to each style as opposed to the splitting of each track into portions of each, but that's just me. Others will probably more or less enjoy this in-track variation; I, on the other hand, have a certain penchant for consistency, even within experimentation.
I like Ecocide quite a bit. I like any band who releases their demo with hand-created cover art using leaves and spraypaint.