Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, it is time to doff your metaphoric caps, to be upstanding, cheer and applaud sincerely, long and hard. Yes indeed, one of Britain’s finest hopes – the thrash metallists Evile– have only gone and done it. “Five Serpent’s Teeth“, the third album from the Yorkshire mob is, to use the vernacular, absolutely bloody brilliant.
From the opening bars of the atmosphere setting intro of ‘In Dreams of Terror’, to the closing chords and drum patterns of ‘Long Live New Flesh’ this is, to these ears, the Thrash Metal album of the year. There are some bands that you instinctively support and want to do well; Evile have always fallen into this camp. It’s not a support born out of innate patriotism (although it is brilliant that they are at the forefront of a surge of outstandingly talented UK metal bands) and it’s not that they make music that instinctively makes me want to nod my head or play air guitar (although they do this too, all too well). No, it’s because Evile have a brilliant sense of purpose and direction. There’s no self regarding indulgence, no whining nor whinging, no pap and no crap. On the contrary, Evile‘s music is immediate, infectious and, on this record, utterly utterly thrilling. No favour asked, no quarter given.
Just have a listen to the riffing that powers through ‘Cult’ or the -ahem- face ripping splendour of ‘Eternal Empire’. This is a band that have honed their song writing skills and have built a phenomenal sense of dynamics. Likewise, the production by Russ Russell, it should be said, is pretty damn impressive too- he seems to have given them an added clarity of purpose. The entire album has a clear and accessible sound but it’s no hair metal sheen and polish. Rather, it enables the band to shine and the listener to indulge the myriad ideas on display.
What’s also endearing about this record is that, in the age of songs going on for a week or three, none of these thrash cuts outstay their welcome. I could have a bit of a moan that I’d like another two minutes of the exemplary ‘Xaraya’ or more soloing on ‘Origin of Oblivion’ but that’s just pernickity old me. Long term fans of the band will also know this is the first record without bassist Mike Alexander who sadly passed away during the “Infected Nations” tour. The band’s musical tribute to him, the elegiac ‘In Memoriam’, is a stirring and evocative tribute to their former bandmate. At times it’s reflective of Metallica’s ‘Fade to Black’ but it’s no pastiche copy; it’s a song they can (and should) be rightly proud of.
This is what we want, kids; this is what we need. Seriously punchy riffing, effortlessly memorable tunes, “Five Serpent’s Teeth” is the sound of a band not just taking several steps forward but making a potentially career defining leap. It is an absolute bloody stormer of a record and and will, in time, be filed under Stone. Cold. Classic. A riveting, riotous and thoroughly merited 9 and a bit/10!