Five Serpent’s Teeth
26 September 2011
by Tom Dare
Evile’s rise to the top of the so-called “thrash revival” has been well charted by now, and you don’t need us to tell you about how Huddersfield’s finest have rapidly become a dearly loved figure within British metal. But thrash’s new wave has its detractors as well – we’ve all got plenty of Slayer and Exodus records by now, and accusations that some of the latest clutch of shredders haven’t necessarily done much that’s genuinely new or distinct have some merit, including some from right here. Have Evile finally managed to record an album to shut those dissenting voices up?
Five Serpent’s Teeth certainly marks a slight shift in sound with Evile. They’re still worshipping at the altar of the ’80s giants, obviously – it wouldn’t be Evile otherwise – but there are three rather key differences between this and Enter The Grave or Infected Nations, and for that matter the majority of their cohorts in this new movement.
First up, there’s an evil, ever-so-slightly doomy feel at various times that have a faint Tom G Warrior sense to them. It’s certainly not derivative of To Mega Therion etc either- the flavour is Celtic Frost-esque occasionally, and adds a great deal of weight, impact and gravitas to proceedings, rather than sounding in danger of ripping off ‘Circle Of The Tyrants‘ or the like. It’s a clever little trick the band have pulled off, and it’s mightily effective.
Secondly, while Evile have always had that momentum that makes you want to bang your head, they’ve never been this memorable. The raw ideas constructing the songs – riffs, vocal lines and solos all – are the strongest the band have come up with, and that urge to give yourself whiplash now borders on the irresistible. Crucially, the ideas stick in the brain long after they pass, and you find yourself singing along to songs like ‘Long Live The New Flesh‘ in no time at all.
Listen to ‘Eternal Empire’ from Five Serpent’s Teeth:
But by far and away the most important factor in making Five Serpent’s Teeth as strong a record as any from the “new wave of thrash” have put out – and it is just that – is that Evile have become distinct as Evile. Obviously the influences are still apparent, Messrs Hetfield,King, Holt et al leaving their mark as you would expect, but the identity is so much stronger, whether in Matt Drake’s vocal lines, either Drake brother’s guitar work or the songwriting.
The consequence of all this is a fucking great metal record. Not a genre-padding thrash album, not a nostalgia exercise, but an album that stands on its own merit. Evile have set an example to their peers in Five Serpent’s Teeth that should be followed, proving that it’s entirely possible to be inspired by music from a quarter of a century ago and still sound original. Oh, and be bloody excellent while you’re doing it.
Sounds like: Metallica, Slayer, Celtic Frost
Top tracks: Five Serpent’s Teeth, In Memoriam, Descent Into Madness
Evile – Five Serpent’s Teeth tracklisting:
Five Serpent’s Teeth
In Dreams Of Terror
Origin Of Oblivion
Descent Into Madness
Long Live The New Flesh