Reviewed: July 1999
Released: 1999, New Renaissance Entertainment
When I first read about this side project of long-time King Diamond guitarist Andy LaRocque, which also featured former K.D. drummer Snowy Shaw and Mercyful Fate bassist Sharlee D’Angelo, I (and numerous other K.D./LaRocque fans) became rather anxious to hear the end result. With such an impressive line-up and a vocalist who had spent most of his career in a Judas Priest cover band, the potential for greatness was immense. So after approximately four years of waiting, we’re finally “treated” to Evilution. It pains me to say this, but… What a disappointment!!!
The CD starts off with “Singh Hai”, a track which is VERY reminiscent of Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People”, with the following songs continuing in the same pseudo-industrial/hardcore direction. It’s not until track six (“Whether With or Without”) that the album begins to show some promise. Track seven, “Eternal Sleep”, stands out… if you’ll pardon the expression… like a sore thumb. Excellent material. Same goes for the following, “K.A.O.S.”.
Overall, it seems like the better songs are the ones on which Snowy Shaw has no writing credit. Every weak track on Evilution (there are nine) was written or co-written by Shaw, with the exception of “Cult” which was written by LaRocque and someone named Hakemo (whoever that is). Sorry, but I expect more than four good songs (two of which are only “so-so”) for my musical dollar, ESPECIALLY when the band is comprised of such well known and (supposedly) talented musicians.
Performance-wise, the band does a great job of playing. LaRocque’s solos are, as expected, top- notch. The weak link in the chain is obviously vocalist Yonas Af Dahlstrom, who expends too much effort trying to imitate Rob Halford. His singing is rather good when he utilizes his natural voice as he does on “Eternal Sleep”, but for the most part comes across to the listener as a “wannabe”. Unless you’re into bands like Marilyn Manson, Pantera, or Two, then chances are you will NOT like Illwill.(I’m going to stick with my re-mastered copy of Motley Crue’s Shout at the Devil for now.)
Oh! And Andy, Snowy… The next time you guys decide to screw around in the studio, don’t release it onto unsuspecting fans. I, for one, will certainly not buy any future albums released under the “Illwill” label, that’s for sure.
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