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Dead Earth Politics - "The Queen Of Steel" (Digital EP)

Dead Earth Politics - "The Queen Of Steel" Digital EP cover image

"The Queen Of Steel" track listing:

1. Redneck Dragonslayer
2. The Queen Of Steel
3. Madness Of The Wanderer

Reviewed by on March 18, 2014

"Classic Iron Maiden trades blows with 'Sacrament' era Lamb Of God. Awesome."

“Redneck Dragonslayer.” In essence, that’s all you need to know about Dead Earth Politics. Were I limited to a two-word “Shark Sandwich” review, those two would be sufficient. They signify the jarring collision of two very different aesthetic worlds in metal, a collision on which this Austin, Texas band capitalizes by playing it tongue-in-cheek while reveling in ridiculousness.

I’ve kept an eye on this underground outfit since 2010’s full-length debut “The Weight Of Poseidon,” which tossed traditional influences together with modern, progressive, and Southern sounds in ways quirkier than I’d imagined. But the raw, low-budget production hampered the band’s expansive sound, and now I understand why it’s taken nearly four years to hear the pure gold that is “The Queen Of Steel:” when money and resources are limited, getting things right behind the boards means virtually everything.

That and honing one’s songwriting, of course. “Poseidon” seemed to try a little too hard and, while deserving an A for effort, didn’t quite have what it took to carve an identity for a larger audience’s consumption. “Queen,” on the other hand, is the result of four years of cardio and, er… weights. The fat is trimmed off, leaving a toned, muscular product focusing on the band’s greatest strength: sounding like classic Iron Maiden trading blows with “Sacrament” era Lamb Of God. It’s that simple, and that awesome.

The swirling combination inevitably produces some residual echoes of other acts; for example, the chorus section on aforementioned “Redneck Dragonslayer” could’ve slipped neatly onto the last Soilwork album with nobody the wiser. But regardless, the dual “Lamb Of Maiden” function is the standard. You’ll be surprised just how powerfully frontman Devon "Ven" Brown’s throaty Blythian bark accents the “Powerslave” style gallop of the title track, or how naturally the precise neoclassical shred melds with a “jump-jump” Ozzfest riff on what has to be a live killer, “Madness Of The Wanderer.”

By no means am I suggesting that Dead Earth Politics is an unoriginal ripoff. As with most art appreciation, we often mistakenly use “originality” – which, literally, nothing or nobody can claim – at the expense of a better word: “inspiration.” This band has a ton of it, more than enough to fill another full-length, which now is desperately needed. That’s the downside to “The Queen Of Steel.” It finishes so quickly, leaves, and doesn’t call back for two weeks. So, to metal fans that crave their Southern and their Euro in equal doses: let’s stalk Dead Earth Politics until they give us more.

Highs: Crisp and razorlike production, focused and effective songwriting, and playful flouting of metal's cultural conventions.

Lows: Have you ever been upset with your bartender for underpouring your glass of exquisitely aged single malt?

Bottom line: Austin, Texas' eclectic and popular local metallers finally hit upon what hopes to be their true sound.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)