Released: 2015, Punishment 18 Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Thrash is one of those genres that never seems to date, or become any less popular; there's always a steady stream of newcomers to the metal scene joining the ranks of thrash fans. Musicians in thrash bands are always on the lookout for new ways to keep the genre relevant and up to date – just look at Anthrax's rap metal phase.
Another band clearly in the thrall of thrash is Australian bruisers Envenomed. Since forming in 2005, the Melburnians have released an EP (2009's Failure to Falter) and gone through a fair few personnel changes (vocalist Anthony 'Mav' Mavrikis is the sole remaining original member). 2015 is shaping up to be their year, though: shortly after signing to Italian label Punishment 18 Records they released the debut full length Evil Unseen, releasing two singles in rapid succession ('Mechanical Enemy' and 'Burn the Sun', the latter of which was accompanied by a music video). The album was launched worldwide at the end of October.
Unusually, the opening number is not only the title track but also a brief intro, clocking in at just under a minute. As introductions go it's a pretty good one, showcasing the band's clever mix of thrash and melodic classic metal. It slams seamlessly into 'Will Of Man', a four minute monster that drips with thrashy menace and is beautifully amplified by a melodic twin guitar solo. Nice!
Simply reading the song titles clearly reveals the album's overarching theme is deeply entrenched in politics, religion, oppression and corruption: all is definitely not well in the world of Envenomed. There are disdainful and (ahem) venomous lyrics throughout every song, from defiant (“You will not take me alive” from 'Spoils of Victory') to despair (“Why is it that I cannot see all of your bullshit coming?” in 'Falling') and even fear ('Mechanical Enemy's “consciousness is now online”).
Mavrikis' vocal delivery is somewhere between Trivium's Matt Heafy and No Devotion's Geoff Rickly: powerful and melodic yet capable of subtlety and nuance. He is very capably backed by some seriously kick ass musicianship – the bass/drum rhythm backbone of every song is strong and vital, while the guitar work is both technical and passionate. The result is a band that combine the ballsiness of thrash with the bolshiness of classic metal – Metallica x Maiden, if you will – with intelligent lyrics that attempt to rip away our apathy and expose our unease and anger at the state of planet earth in 2015.
There are several highlights: the poignant, cymbal-driven 'Within Me'; the old school feel of Venom-ish 'Burn the Sun'; the clever word play and bouncy beat crossed with big slabs of metal in 'Demonocracy'. Top of the list, however, is 'Disobey the Beast': with its fade in intro and drum/bass-led darkness, it's ripe with menace and doom – almost like a musical version of Vincent Price's spoken segment in Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'. Highly effective.
As we move further away chronologically from thrash's humble beginnings, it's heartwarming to see so many bands bowing at the altar of such a fine – and apparently timeless – genre. Envenomed have taken the basic premise of thrash and added the melody and drama of classic metal, with great results. A very promising debut from this Aussie mob.
Review by Melanie Brehaut