Evile are finally back! After eight years since their last LP, Skull, there’s been a lot of changes in the Evile camp. With Ol Drake back in the band taking over the vocals following the departure of brother Matt Drake, and Riptide axeman Adam Smith taking the second guitar spot, the band are set to…ahem…unleash their long-awaited fifth studio album Hell Unleashed in April. On a personal note, I’m really excited for the record. Evile were one of the first thrash metal bands I got into when I was a teenager after being blown away by the intense riffing of “Armoured Assault”. Fast forward to the present, it’s a privilege to have Hell Unleashed blasting in the headphones and I can’t wait to share my thoughts – let’s get stuck in!
Hell Unleashed opens with “Paralysed” and instantly pulls no punches from the second the first riff kicks in. The riffs are quite straightforward yet relentlessly thrashing, guaranteed to get the head banging. The mid-section brings the tempo down and brings a slice of technicality before ramping things up again before the solo. Follow-up “Gore” starts slow and moody before another blistering blast of thrash. Ol’s vocal style is more gruff than his brother’s adding to the death metal edge the songs are giving so far – apt for the song titles.
A return to some classic Evile vibes comes in “Incarcerated” with its mysterious clean arpeggio intro. After some eerie whispered vocals, the riffs build to crunching stomp before unleashing more killer breakneck deathrashing. More changing tempos and shredding solos come in the middle giving plenty of dynamic in the longest song.
Evile kick things up to the max in the raging “War of Attrition” with its relentless blast of thrash. The transition to the chugging riffs of the stomping middle is seamless, with lots of fast drumrolls across the kit from Ben Carter. Marking the halfway point, “Disorder” brings some more technical and melodic feels, mixed with some simple chord riffs and cool harmonies, over its fast punky beat. It’s a nice shift from the pounding high velocity thrash of its predecessors. Following number “The Thing (1982)” is an awesome homage to the titular classic sci-fi horror. Opening with some speedy triplet riffing the song bursts into furious deathrash like the monstrous alien shapeshifter from the gaping hole in a victim’s lifeless corpse. There’s more awesome harmonised moments and cool solos from Drake between his deathrashing re-telling of the film.
The final stretch of Hell Unleashed begins with the heavy crawl introducing “Zombie Apocalypse”, a cover of horror-obsessed death metal legends Mortician. After more straight-up blasting riffing, the intro riff returns showcasing more of those moody syncopated trills before a cool bass intro to penultimate tune, “Control From Above”, from Joel Graham. A NWOBHM-esque moment leads to some choppy straightforward thrash riffing. The middle brings an infectious swing feel, standing out amongst the fast riffs, that’s hard not to bang your head to. The first solo is a nice slow melodic feel before the ending burst of deathrash. The album closes with first single and titular tune “Hell Unleashed” which is a final raging number with plenty of hooky blasting riffs.
Hell Unleashed is a great comeback album for Evile bringing an awesome death metal feel that the band have played with before, but amped up here. The riffs are generally no-holds-barred straightforward thrashing assaults but with some cool tempo shifts and harmonic embellishments peppered throughout to keep it interesting. Drake’s distinct solo style is also still on point with lots of killer leads on the album, as well as great performances throughout from the whole band. Overall Hell Unleashed is a great return from Evile with plenty of hooky moments and raging riffs that’s certain to get mental mosh pits going when they can return to the stage.
Hell Unleashed is released on 30th April