Quality metalcore from an up-and-coming UK band.

Manchester based metalcore group I-Def-I sound, from their press release, like a hard working band. Heavy touring in the UK (in support of such well known bands as Fear Factory), four EPs in less than three years, and now planning to head off on their first jaunt around Europe. Phew! The hard work seems to have paid off, too, as their latest mini-album 'Bloodlust Casualty' is something rather special. Despite being someone who hopes there's a circle of Hell reserved specially for metalcore bands, I couldn't help but be impressed by this album, and committed fans of the genre will probably love it.

The grooving, melodic guitar work is a cut above the usual simplistic metalcore riffing, particularly on the intro of 'Devil in the Vein', while the vocals, though of the typical harsh verse/melodic chorus style, are generally well done, with a passion that lifts them above the average. Then there's the occasional, more electronic flourises: distorted robotic vocals and the odd synth riff. In short, moderatly inventive and tuneful music that's enjoyable if this is your sort of thing. I-Def-I don't exactly take mightly strides outside the confines of the metalcore genre, it's more like tentative baby steps.

But to criticise I-Def-I for being slightly lacking in inventiveness is unfair - many good bands are guilty of it, and at times this band do have a very unique sound. Songs such as the title track combine some complex melodies with at times almost rap-like vocals. Again, not my kind of thing, but it's impossible to deny that it's done very well, with distinctive rhythms that are sure to get more than one moshpit going. The song goes from euphoric pop punk vocal lines to nu metal riffing, before swiftly making way for the classic metal styled intro of 'Sorrow Reigns the Day'. Despite the somewhat Gothic title, this is straight up angry metalcore at it's most uninspiring and generic, and definately the downpoint of this six track mini album.

I-Def-I might still be the kind of band for whom a popular MySpace page is a major achievement, but are surely set for higher things. With their tight songwriting skills they've crafted a little piece of top-notch rock music, five sixths full of infectious radio friendly tracks. With the current vogue for all things metalcore, and an album that's superior to the work of many bigger names, there's no reason why I-Def-I won't build on their existing success when they hit the Continent next month.