Sound — 9
Earache record's marketing department must be very happy right now, because they've promoted their young thrash metal bands in a very effective way, and lucky for them the metal media has picked up on it and is selling based on a single tagline: 'thrash is back! '. Along with Municipal Waste, Evile are the second Earache band to really be put in the spotlight for leading some kind of revolution in the metal scene, especially in the UK. They're energetic, they're fresh UK talent and to top it all off their debut album, 'Enter The Grave' was produced by Flemming Rasmussen, the guy that produced Master Of Puppets, arguably the biggest thrash metal album of all time. What more could a promoter want from a new band? If you're into thrash the talk of this band will certainly interest you, and there's a good reason for it. The opener and title track of 'Enter The Grave' sets the mood for the whole album; it's a balls-to-the-wall thrasher with massive nods to the 80's thrash gods throughout. Anyone who's familiar with even a little thrash will recognise immediately where their influence is coming from. There are even a few suspiciously delivered lines which sound rather similar to classic thrash songs (Bathe In Blooooood, from a lacerated sky) but these guys are no plagiarisers. These four guys from Huddersfield clearly have chemistry, and I think a lot of it is due to Ben Carter's drumming. While the drums mostly have a formulaic backbone, he always does something to freshen up the tried and tested offbeat snare beat, with double bass rolls, floor toms and a variety of different cymbals. He's got speed, endurance and a great dose of originality, which is exactly what any thrash band needs to have to get anywhere today. Of course the drums wouldn't be worth anything if they weren't accompanied by a pair of top quality metal guitarists. Your wish is their command. They take up the familiar line-up of rhythm guitarist/vocalist and lead guitarist, in brothers Matt and Ol Drake, and in short, they're awesome. Dirty tone, some impressive downpicked riffs and a variety of soloing styles come into play throughout 'Enter The Grave'. I counted two riffs on the entire album that didn't get me pumped, and a good 10 or so that were absolutely top drawer. Again, there's nothing new in the style but it's great to see that style come close to it's peak sound (no doubt thanks to Rasmussen's stellar production) in some of the riffs these guys play. There's a thrash riff for every occasion, a lightning fast pummelling of aggression, incredibly headbangable mid-paced sections and even a few down tempo South Of Heaven-esque riffs that are oozing with menace. The faster riffs' string-skipping nature brings to your attention the talent of bassist Mike Alexander also. He only has a few steps out from behind the guitars (but in music like this, you don't expect them to) but simply keeping up with the riffs is quite a feat in itself.
Lyrics — 8
Anyone who's ever heard a Slayer record before will know that good lyrics are nothing more than an added bonus to a thrash record, but the lyrics of Evile are indeed very good. Don't expect any political commentary from them though. The songs are about the typical thrash themes, death, war, corruption and a little ancient history. Of course, the war and corruption themes are not to be taken and really thought about separate from Evile's music, as they are just a boost to the energy and attitude of the music. They're very effective in this way as Matt Drake's voice has enough grit to make it a good metal voice, but enough clarity to let the lyrics come through, so the lines that add to the feel are nothing short of f--king metal.
Overall Impression — 9
Evile are a great thrash metal band, that much is undeniable. Perhaps the 'new wave of thrash metal' is fabricated by the media and record labels, but if it means that more bands of Evile's calibre emerge, then I'm certainly all for it. Cynics could point out similarities between the band and other bands all day (Matt has a passing resemblance to the late, great Chuck Schuldiner, the 'Armoured Assault' intro being basically Metallica's 'One' etc) but this reviewer is certainly looking forward to a strong and lengthy career from these guys. When your album is produced by the same guy that produced three Metallica classics, I'm sure there's going to be a high quality control and the standard that Evile have set for themselves is very high, and I can only hope that they continue to churn out songs like 'Enter The Grave' and 'We Who Are About To Die' and inspire a real thrash revival.