Calling Criminal Element a supergroup of underground death metal bands would certainly not be an inaccurate description. They started in 2005 with some members of Dying Fetus. After that they had members of Suffocation, Misery Index, and Pyrexia just to name a few. Now they have current and ex members of both Dying Fetus and Misery Index. Needless to say, if you're a fan of any of these bands this would catch your attention.

They had a pair of ep's in 2006 that I checked out, but never gave a lot of attention. Then around 2008 their full length came out on Sevared Records. I happened to catch a live show of theirs and they were absolutely punishing. For a band that rarely practiced they were damn tight and just killed it. Instantly I wanted to listen to their full length more. It was a mix of Dying Fetus and Misery Index, more so on the Misery Index side and less groove than Dying Fetus. They had a good bit more thrash to them. It was a very, very solid outing. It had me excited for more to come from them.

Fast forward to today and they've released a new EP on Relapse Records. From the outset I had to have a little smile because of the intro soundclip of a guy talking about AK-47's and how if you come to a Criminal Element show with something as small as a 9 mm this is how you'll get dealt with. The band always had a more toughguy outlook on crime and the streets, but this was a little funny to me even though that outlook is very serious to them. Anyway, I'm here to talk about the music.

The ep blasts by at a very quick pace. 5 songs in a little over 15 minutes. This time there was more Misery Index sound, but what really surprised me was a lot more of a thrash sound in it. It was less death metal and more thrash. They even used a lot more melody than I was expecting. It's not melodic like say old In Flames or something, but more like classic thrash bands would use. All of that was the backdrop for Vince's tough vocals singing about crime and of course punishment.

All in all I felt slightly letdown. It's not a terrible ep by any means, but I didn't feel it was a strong follow up to their last album which kicked my ass. I must say though, the production was certainly a step up. Overall it's worth a listen if you're a fan of Misery Index or any of the previously mentions bands, but if you're expecting something on par (or to outdo) their last album, you may be a little letdown. It's definitely worth the listen though and you have to catch them live if given the chance!