21 September 2009
by Mark Eglinton
If this was a popularity contest I’d gleefully slap a “maximum rating” on this sucker and swagger off to The Crobar or somewhere proclaiming it to be the Neo-thrash equivalent of wheel reinvention. That would be lying though, and lying ‘aint my game, no sir.
Evile’s debut Enter the Grave, for all its scratchy treble fury and late ’80s posturing was undoubtedly an interesting signal of some kind of UK thrash rebirth. It even had Flemming Rasmussen at the desk for fuck’s sake (if you’re unaware of his pedigree in this sphere, you’re barred from this website with immediate effect) so all the boxes were appropriately ticked.
Consequently, you’d hope that this follow-up, under the knobsmanship of Russ Russell, would elevate Evile into the revered upper reaches of UK thrash revivalism alongside… umm… themselves. And therein lies the problem: nobody really wants a thrash revival given that the genre was as much about a time and a place as it was about a style of music, and if we’re honest, attempts to musically revisit 1986 result in misery and despair.
Having said that, Infected Nations definitely sounds more mature than its predecessor ,and the brothers Drake have both upped their respective games massively, but the overall impression is of something very forced, very manufactured even.
Take the title track for example; all sinister acoustic intro( something of a cliche) before spiralling off into a riff so complex and smartass that it effectively caricatures every thrash riff ever written, while also promising to be a real bitch to nail on Guitar Hero. ‘Nosphorous’ is similarly affected too; offering little more than regurgitated bolt-on speed riffs and monotone vocal delivery somewhere between Messrs Hetfield and Heafy. Starting to get the picture yet? .
Watch the video to ‘Infected Nations’ by Evile
‘Genocide’ does provide a bit of respite though and as such represents one of the album’s better moments mixing crunchy riffery with harmonised guitar section – but even it sounds like it has been assembled from a selection of thrash body parts found lying around, rather than something truly newborn. Also included is an instrumental; ‘Hundred Wrathful Deities’ which, apart from clocking in at a fleshy eleven plus minutes, goes precisely nowhere despite some excellent musicianship which simply isn’t enough to save it.
Evile are undoubtedly a very able band technically and tracks like ‘Devoid Of Thought’ (rather appropriately) and ‘Plague To End All Plagues’ illustrate that they probably do have a killer record in there somewhere, but that will only come when they focus on being themselves rather than a pastiche of several others.
It would be very easy to holler from the rooftops that real thrash is back and that Infected Nations is the flag-bearer, but on this evidence thrash as we know it belongs in a bygone era and should be left exactly there.
Sounds like: too many to list moulded into one.
Top tracks: Plague To End All Plagues, Genocide, Devoid Of Thought
Evile – Infected Nations tracklisting
Plague To End All Plagues
Devoid Of Thought
Time No More
Hundred Wrathful Deities