Thursday, August 12, 2010

Evile - Enter the Grave

Potential energy, directly proportional to kinetic

Simple physics tell you that the amount of potential energy an object has is directly proportional to the kinetic energy it has once it begins moving... I can think of no better way to describe Evile.

No matter how often or furiously I fly the traditional or power metal flags, thrash will always reign as the champion of all sub genres to me. But as we all know, thrash died a pretty agonizing death around the time the '90s came 'round. There were still some excellent releases (Victims of Deception and By Inheritance are the main ones I'm referring to), but for the most part the genre just kind of lost credibility and crapped out. Imagine my delight when it was brought to my attention that a surge of new bands were cropping up and attempting to bring back the glorious style that had fallen out of favor so many years ago. The biggest name out of this latest revival attempt is Britland's own Evile.

Yet like all music, the most popular band is rarely the best at what they do. The album starts off like a great throwback to the keg standing days of yesteryear. But after the first three or four tracks, the whole thing starts to get tedious. Enter the Grave, Thrasher, and First Blood are all rip-roaring thrash behemoths, but whatever magic the happened to harness when writing/recording those seemed to inexplicably vanish and thus leaving the remainder of the record to be insipid and dull. The riffs remain sharp throughout the duration, but they lose their attention grabbing quality once Man Against Machine starts.

Their main influence is strikingly obvious when you listen to tracks like We Who are About to Die, as it sounds like something that was written for ...And Justice for All that just barely missed the cut. It is no surprise that Evile started off as a Metallica tribute band, and while there is nothing wrong with paying homage to the band that brought the genre to mainstream eyes (a double edged sword, as we can well see), there is an uncomfortable amount of rollover that managed to seep into these kids' brains. Luckily, most of the influence comes from Metallica's period as thrashers, not media children. Unfortunately, there are a lot of riffs that sound like Kill 'em All and Ride the Lightning throwaways, and the resulting deja vu shunts any of the originality on the record.

Evile gets a decent amount of both praise and hatred, but one aspect that it seems everybody can agree on is that Matt Drake has a great thrash voice. I pondered this for quite some time, what made one a great voice for the style? After about twelve nanoseconds of reflection, it hit me like a slippery fish, he's a dead ringer for Tom Araya. This is obviously a great thing considering Slayer is pretty much accepted by scholars worldwide as one of the greatest thrash outfits ever to grace us humble humans on this planet.

The instrumentals however, are a very large portion Metallica, with microscopic bits of Slayer and Coma of Souls era Kreator. The drumming is in a kind of state of equilibrium between the boring, typical, and uninteresting beats of Lars Ulrich and the high speed double bass and tom rolling intensity of Dave Lombardo. They took a cue from late '80s Metallica once again by completely drowning out the bass, giving the production a very similar feel to ...And Justice for All. The songwriting varies between hearkening back to the glory days of 1986, and chugging, plodding songs that just kind of meander across the finish line. Thrasher and Killer from the Deep are good examples of the former, while Bathe in Blood and Man Against Machine exemplify the latter. We Who are About to Die rides on a catchy yet tiring and unimaginative groove for the first four or five minutes before finally tearing into a thrash monster, which, once again, just reeks of late '80s Metallica.

Overall, this is a decent thrash record with a nice old school tinge to the sound. As the title implies, this band has potential up the ass, and it will definitely show once they get the ball rolling. Until then, we have this half cool, half plodding thrash record to keep us hopeful. Not shitty by any means, but not a classic either. Municipal Waste and Merciless Death are the front runners in the thrash revival movement in my eyes, but Evile could take them over with a little bit of work.

RATING - 77%

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