Sound — 10
Ohhh Thrash Metal. A genre of music that began in the 80's with Metallica's "Kill Em' All", went into a deep coma for about 12 years or so (starting a little after the release of "Countdown To Extinction"), and has slowly been recovering ever since. Lately there have been some bands that have brought back true Thrash Metal with a vengeance, with some people coming up with their own arrangements of the new Big 4, while others simply subtract Metallica (because let's be real; this LouTallica thing is awful) and add in another band. Generally, that one band is Evile. Led by Drake brothers Matt and Ol and hailing from West Yorkshire, England, this is their third studio album to date. And it's f--king awesome. "Enter The Grave" was raw and powerful, while "Infected Nations" was tight and controlled. "Five Serpent's Teeth" is like taking the best of both worlds. The production on this album is phenomenal; producer Russ Russell deserves a medal. Lead guitarist Ol Drake is faster than ever, producing blistering fast solos ("In Dreams Of Terror") and incredibly catchy riffs a'la "Peace Sells..." and "Master Of Puppets" (the title track sounds remarkably similar to the latter for a bit). Rhythm guitarist and lead singer Matt Drake improved drastically; gone are the monotonic vocals from "Infected Nations". He really put a lot of effort into his vocals for this one, and it shows on tracks like "In Memoriam" (a tribute to former bassist Mike Alexander, who died very suddenly shortly after the release of "Infected Nations"), "Xaraya" (which has an odd, almost Irish Folk rhythm to the vocals) and "Cult". Drummer Ben Carter has always been reasonably solid, although to me many of the songs on Evile's first two albums sounded remarkably similar due to the same exact drum beats. Carter also improved dramatically; getting much tighter and faster, and his fills sound awesome. Now, I mentioned before that former bassist Mike Alexander passed, so one of my big questions going into this album was how well newcomer Joel Graham would fit in. The answer: flawlessly. His bass playing fits Evile's sound really well; "In Memoriam" and "Cult" are two good examples, but definitely check out "Descent Into Madness" for an awesome bassline about halfway through. Overall Evile got alot better, and they're out to prove that they're not the next Metallica/Slayer/Megadeth/Exodus; but rather that they're the next big thing. And I think they've done it with this album. There isn't a bad song to be found.
Lyrics — 9
Matt Drake doesn't exactly have the most remarkable range, but this is thrash metal not prog rock. His voice fits Evile's style really well. Lyrically speaking this album wasn't really spectacular (I was too busy trying to keep up with Ol Drake for most of it) but on some tracks ("Cult", "In Memoriam", "Centurion") Matt's skills as a songwriter shine. As I said earlier, the track "Xaraya" has a really odd rhythm to it. It's not a bad thing; if anything it shows how unique this band is as far as thrash metal bands go, but it does make following along a bit of a challenge. Again though, this is a thrash metal band we're talking about, not Dream Theater or Tool, so I'm not too concerned with the lack of lyrical depth (although I'm sure you can find it if you look for it between the double bass and the power chords) When you consider that Matt is also playing rhythm over younger brother Ol's absurd lead playing, it takes your perception of him to a whole new level. The track "In Dreams Of Terror" is an absurdly fast-paced song that would make Dave Mustaine sweat trying to sing and play.
Overall Impression — 10
I would put this album in the top 10 thrash metal albums all time. With Metallica saying goodbye to the metal scene, Dave Mustaine on the wrong side of 50, and the overall health of each band member of Slayer slowly deteriorating, Thrash Metal needs a powerful band to rise up and take the throne. Evile is just that band. "Five Serpent's Teeth" is an album that you want to have just to prove that you're a true thrash fan; it's THAT important. There isn't a bad song to be found anywhere on here. There are songs that will make you want to start a mosh pit ("Origin Of Oblivion", "In Dreams Of Terror") while there are others that have the potential to be played proudly at sporting events ("Cult" could replace "Enter Sandman" if it got enough attention) and make you bang your head happily along. The highlight of this album is by far and away the tribute to former bassist Mike Alexander, "In Memoriam". This is my favorite metal ballad of all time. Everything about this song is amazing. Tony Drake, Matt and Ol Drake's FATHER, came in to play a guest guitar solo for the track. Joel Graham nails down Alexander's tone. Ol Drake's guitar is just the right tone for the slow and somber setting. My friend said after listening to this song for the first time, he had to pause the CD just to take it in. This album is easily worth twice what they're charging and I happily gave them my money for this. If this is only their third album I can't wait to see what's coming next.