Released: 2013, Earache Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Thrash often feels like one of those genres that America has stolen away, predominately because of the success of the Big Four - Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax - and their stars-and-stripes roots. But Europe has also long contributed to the growth and lifesblood of thrash, and today one such band is the UK’s Evile.
They’ve been one of the stalwarts of the thrash ‘revival’ which like all moderately good things in theory has been overly capitalised and jumped on until it lies crushed and barely twitching. Luckily for Evile, they are the ones still doing the thrashing, as opposed to be being whipped by the industry, as fourth album Skull makes plain.
Ok so maybe it should come with a ‘We like Metallica’ sticker on it because their influence is all over it like cool on Robert Downey Junior. A prime example being ‘Underworld’ which sounds like a sped-up big M cut particularly with Matt Drake apparently having channelled Hetfield in some voodoo vocal ceremony, and then there’s the melodic not-quite-a-ballad ‘Tomb’ with an intro that instantly brings to mind the operating table of ‘One’.
And it’s not just Metallica, the sounds of those other Big Four members pop up such as Slayer on the titanic ‘Words Of The Dead’ and title track ‘Skull’ with its echoing group chant. It’s not all borrowed ideas though, ‘Head Of The Demon’ is one of the best songs on the album, its steady head-banging pace crying out for a live audience. Many hands have patted the back of Evile when it comes to their live performances and the groove of ’What You Become’ and its inexhaustible soloing is another that is sure to translate well.
One of the arguments levelled against Evile is that their sound is a little dated, but if Metallica were still coming up with this kind of quality thrash the same people would be saying that it was a ‘fantastic return to their roots’. Is it purely ‘dated’ because they weren’t around in the thrash boom that they are so clearly influenced by? Bit unfair to hold their birthdates against them - take it up with their mums.
So ok in basic terms Skull is nothing we haven’t heard before but now isn’t the time to get snotty about ‘originality’, now is the time to grab hold of good music whilst we can. After all if Evile follow the pattern of their peers what we’ve got coming up next is a St Anger... or a Lulu...
Review by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs