Evile are a band I’ve always known of but, for reasons unknown, I’d never really given them much of a listen. Until now…
I grew up on the mid-tail end of the 80’s Thrash era so my most formative years were spent listening to masterpiece albums by bands like Metallica, Sepultura and Megadeth et al. And so, it seems, did Evile. Despite sounding very much like a modern Metallica that can still write good, solid thrash metal (that’s right, I went there) Evile hold the sound true and try to keep it as their own from start to finish.
Fading in with harmonised guitars and accenting drums ‘Five Serpents Teeth’ builds itself up and up before tearing into the first awesome riff of the album. What follows is around 5 minutes of Thrash of the oldest school. Despite the over powering Metallica vibe, this is a terrific opener and I’m looking forward to what’s to follow.
‘In Dreams of Terror’ doesn’t let me down in the slightest. After a great build up, out bursts pure, relentless thrash before a brilliantly infectious hook digs itself in for the long haul. The sing-along friendly chorus brings a feel of listening to Testament, which is a good thing. The solo rips but it’s just a bit too Kirk-like at points.
I’ve tried to ignore the prominent Metallica influence in the music but ‘Cult’ pushed my limits a bit. Not that this isn’t as good as its predecessors. It’s laden with hooks and melody galore and a great fade out solo break. The obvious shout along of ‘Join our Cult’ ensures the listeners and crowds participation in the song which brings a party element to the table but still, there are several points where you could easily forget who you’re listening to.
‘Eternal empire’ drums its way into the ears providing the setting for a very dark sound. Eventually kicking in fully under the call of ‘I’d rather be dead!’, you quickly progress into another thrash assault. But again, if ‘Cult’ pushed my limits, the verse and chorus here step all over them. I won’t say specifics here but any metalhead worth any amount of salt could identify not just the band but a specific part of a specific track by this band in question. Having said that, the mid-section comes to fruition and we’re transported straight into Slayer territory. The riffs come fast, the lead is furious and another thrash-tastic tune is complete.
‘Xaraya’ fades in discordantly and builds into a terrifically metal chug. Switching timings and with some great sounding vocals and a more early Sepultura feel at times, not to mention the super melodic solo combine together to provide a great metal sound. It must be said though; a large portion of this reminded me of several tracks from the Black album crossed with Load.
Opening with a great lead break ‘Origin of Oblivion’ stands firmly rooted in Testament/Slayer territory for the most part. To be honest, it’s a very welcome detraction from the over influence of James and his little Dutch mascot and well worth playing a second time before moving on through the album. As is ‘Centurion’, which is a great mix of all of their thrash influences, layered with the Hetfield-esque vocals that carry throughout the album. The wailing start to the lead takes us into shred-ville before hitting a great sounding harmony. Overall both song are pretty hefty and carry a hell of a lot of weigh and I think they just might be my highlights.
‘In Memorium’ – Sounds so much like a Metallica b-side that I was actually shocked by the lack of originality on display here. Here also lies a duality in my opinion because this is actually a fantastic song and definitely a stand out moment on the album. The clean guitars and vocals sound great but again Evile seem as if they’re wearing someone else’s shoes.
I’m glad the album’s nearly finished because despite being a good album, the similarities are really starting to grate on me.
After that very good but still deflating song, ‘Descent into Madness’ leapt out of nowhere and beat the living shit out of me. A quick run and it’s straight into a brilliant thrash riff ala…Thrash as a whole….for once. Vocally we’re still deep in Hetfields throat but musically we’re fondling Kerry and Jeff (Slayer guitarists King and Hanneman) quite enthusiastically. All said though, this is a brilliant track. Play this one VERY loud.
Reaching the final track this has been an odd album for me. I find that closing tracks are often better than opening tracks so here’s hoping. ‘Long Live New Flesh’ cracks in with chugs and staccato drum snaps before landing on a simple and fantastic thrash riff.
We’re stumbling back into Testament territory, even taking a more Chuck Billy approach to the vocals. YES! The dual attack lead work is great with both guitarists doin their thang before joining forces to harmonise us back to the chorus and gradually to the end of the album. I almost banged my head clean off my neck during the middle section.
One thing I really didn’t want to have to do through this review was comment of the more than obvious influences (one in particular) that Evile carry and base my opinion around them. This has proved much harder than I’d initially anticipated. I certainly don’t wrong them at all for their choice of influences as I share the same with my own musical ventures but jeez lads, I’m sure you can strap a bit more originality into the mix. I appreciate that they may be paying a career spanning homage to their favourite band(s), and imitation is the highest form of flattery (my research told me they started as a covers band) but for me, as good as this album is, I’m not hearing much that makes me want to listen to this again or instead of something else. What’s the point in recycling something that was already done right the first time?
That might seem harsh but I think it’s a fair point. There are just too many moments and even entire songs where you could be forgiven for thinking it’s a new Metallica song and not a promising British band.
Don’t get me wrong. The album is chock full of heavy riffs, infectious melody, pounding rhythms and ripping solos BUT it didn’t give me that buzzy excited feeling that I used to get when I was 9/10 years old and still get today. This effect hasn’t weakened for me with age, it’s just that as good as Evile are at what they do, it just doesn’t have anything new for me.
Good band. Good album. But there’s literally nothing here that you won’t have heard before.