We all come to turning points in our lives, and the same can be said of the Irish band Indominus. Bands usually undergo name changes when they experience member fluctuations or sound changes. The latter has surely happened to Indominus, formerly known by the moniker ForChristSake. With any such change, there is a question as to whether the new band will perform as well as the old. Indominus boasts a heavier sound, plays more cohesively as a unit, and has chosen a sonic avenue that harkens to the likes of bands such as Broken Flesh, Suffocation, and Cannibal Corpse. Shredding guitars, shrieked death growls, and on-point drumming have all become hallmarks of the band's first release, Legion Within.
The album begins with "Leeches," a track that sets a frantic pace that doesn't let up throughout the course of the EP. Throughout the album, the band manages to be heavy while maintaining musical direction. We've all listened to death metal bands and simply tossed them aside because there was no originality or drive to the music -- you won't find that here. Frequent changes in pace and rhythm, soaring guitar solos, and gritty drumming all lay waste to the listener's sonic awareness. The second track "Backbone" begins with a thrashy rhythm that propels the song forward into a blistering rendition reminiscent of Impending Doom with its driving force and catchy lyrics.
Certainly the high point of Legion Within is the track "Shadow." This is the song that I keep coming back to. It has a tinge of melodic death metal to it, as the overarching electric guitar truly shines on this track. "Shadow" seems like it should have been the finale on the EP. "Fragile Existence" is perhaps the most technical song on the album, and it evoked the feel of As Hell Retreats. Legion Within ends with its title track. It begins with a "core" feel, with numerous breakdowns, but then flowers into a monolith of chugging guitars and frantic drumming.
All in all, Indominus hit the mark with their debut EP. It will be intriguing to see which route the band takes next -- it seems that either becoming more technical or adding more melodic overtones would both suit Indominus fine. Featuring the bass guitar more often could also benefit the band. Earlier this week, I came across an interview with death metal legend Steve Rowe of Mortification. His Scrolls era work is known as some of the best Australian death metal to date. He said something surprising in that interview -- namely, that there really isn't a Christian metal scene right now. I have great respect for Mr. Rowe, but it's quite possible that he hasn't given Legion Within a listen...
P.S. -- Did I mention that's some killer artwork on the cover? \m/