(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by British thrashers Evile, which is out now via Century Media and Earache.)
Evile may very well be THE best of the so called re-thrash movement (I don’t count Vektor, they have a completely original sound IMO), bringing together elements of Forbidden, Slayer, Sepultura, and early Metallica to create a sound that has managed to remain old school, true to the roots, yet still distinct in its delivery.
With three killer albums to their credit thus far, the question, of course, is whether or not Skull manages to be a genuinely awesome fourth. I really think that opinion comes down to what you’ve liked most over the course of Evile’s three previous albums. While Evile have always had “their” sound, the three albums pre-dating this one had distinctly different areas of emphasis among the elements, which made them distinctly different from one another.
Skull is an odd edition in the Evile discography, mainly because it’s three steps back and strikes a ton of notes resonant with their debut Enter the Grave. The songs are one-note as far as tempo goes for the most part, the riffs are stripped-down, and the gang shouts are back. However, none of this changes the fact that I love it front to back. Like Enter the Grave, Skull is packed with adrenaline-surged immediacy and cut-throat riffage out the ass. Although I think by now these things are just to be expected with an Evile album.
One thing is for certain, and that is that brothers and guitar wizards Matt and Ol Drake are one of the most potent forces in metal right now. Not only do they churn out killer riffs by the fuck-ton that display a wide array of influences (and on this album, some heavier-than-normal influences even arise, such as in the song “Words of the Dead”, which channels a heavy Vader vibe), Ol Drake is one of the hottest shredders on the scene today. This dude’s solos always blow me away; I marvel at his ability to write solos this technically proficient yet musically put together.
The new bassist Joel Graham still does his job well, and drummer Ben Carter is still a torrential force on the kit. Regardless of how you feel about the music itself, there is no denying that Evile as a unit of musicians are a cohesive and inhumanly in-tune-with-each-other unit.
The only glaring thing about this album, as with every Evile album, is that their fast-as fuck tracks are simply orders of magnitude better than the slower songs. That isn’t to say the slower songs aren’t good. They’re great, and there are some real winners on here, such as the almost eight-minute epic “Tomb”. But the first three tracks — “Underworld”, “Skull”, and “The Naked Sun” — are such an opening trifecta of ass kickers that it’s kind of hard to get into the slower songs in the album’s context. Especially when you have songs like “Words of the Dead” popping up to beat your face in.
But it’s Evile; my criticisms for what is better or worse concerning this band are on a higher echelon than when I discuss most other bands. What is not as good as something else within their catalogue is still extremely high-caliber stuff. This album still makes me bang my head ’til my neck fractures. I just wish Evile would learn that fast-as-fuck is completely where it’s at.
But hey, it’s another great Evile album, and I recommend it.