With a gap of eight years since their last studio album and boasting a new, reshuffled line-up, UK thrashers Evile are back with an absolute vengeance on their fifth full-length release. And as its title suggests, listening to Hell Unleashed (Napalm Records) is much like letting an angry, unfed Rottweiler loose in a roomful of overweight and particularly slow-moving children.
As well as lead guitarist Ol Drake replacing his brother Matt as a vocalist, the band have also added RipTide rhythm guitarist Adam Smith to their ranks. Revitalized and champing at the bit, the four-piece are out to ruin as many neck muscles as possible, and the fast and furious opener ‘Paralyzed’ is a clear and obvious statement of intent.
‘Gore’ features US comedian/actor Brian Posehn and increases the speed even further, the wrists of many accomplished air guitarists already becoming sore from just listening to the picking strokes. ‘Incarcerated’ opens with an acoustic intro surely influenced by Slayer‘s ‘Seasons in the Abyss’, transforming into a purposeful mid-paced crawl before exploding into more speed metal fury once again.
‘War of Attrition and ‘Disorder’ both attempt to break the sound barrier while the brilliantly specific ‘The Thing (1982)’ keeps things roaring along complete with a suitably spiderlike guitar solo. ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ lurches between the slow crawling menace of George A Romero‘s living dead and the bursts of speed associated with more modern zombies, ‘Control From Above’ is another blaze of high-intensity aggression before the album closes with the incendiary title track.
Vocal comparisons to his brother are certain to follow the younger Drake around for a while, and while clearly acquitting himself very well, his throat rougher and more gravelly than his sibling, the album is such an unrelenting assault that it doesn’t allow much opportunity for him to develop his range.
Whilst featuring some truly outstanding, fleet-fingered fretwork, most of the songs can tend to fall into the same pattern of hyper-speed riffing followed by a mid-paced groove section. The high-velocity attack only gives talented bassist Joel Graham a limited time in the spotlight to shine and when the tracks do eventually take a breather, the mix often tilts in favour of drummer Ben Carter‘s cymbal work. However, subtlety and nuance aren’t really the main priorities here so just prepare yourself for a full-on, no fucking about thrash attack. As Dark Helmet, the villain in Mel Brooks‘s 1987 Sci-Fi spoof, Spaceballs, once commanded – “Ludicrous speed! Go!!”
Buy the album here: http://www.evilecult.com/
7 / 10