posted on 12/2009 By:
Evile’s debut full-length, Enter The Grave, garnered both praise and ire as one of the first noteworthy albums in the nu-thrash explosion to be released by a band not named Municipal Waste. Drawing shameless influences from all the usual suspects (Testament, Exodus, Overkill, etc.), it was a solid outing, but not worth much attention from anyone already well versed in the bands that gave it its inspiration.
While it's born largely of the same parents as the first album, I could tell from the first listen that Infected Nations was going to sit better with me than its predecessor. The key influences have shifted somewhat this time around; instead of the primarily balls-to-the-wall speediness of the debut, Evile have taken a page out of the Arise-era Sepultura book by implementing a more substantial dose of mid-tempo groove and slower atmospheric elements (even including a few well-placed acoustic passages). While there’s still a healthy amount of neck-snapping speed and tempo changes, Evile are just as confident stomping along at a more moderate pace this time around, really emphasizing the heaviness of the percussion and riffwork at the expense of some of the out-of-control velocity some of us like in our thrash (whereas the mid-tempo songs were easily the weakest of the first album). Matt Drake’s catchy and aggressive vocals are similarly improved, well-placed and surprisingly rife with hooks; I’ve heard a lot of criticism of this guy as a singer, but his vocal contributions were one of the standout features of this release for me and aptly supplement the album’s “heavy first, speed second” aesthetic.
Also impressive is the band’s willingness to let their songs escalate to more epic lengths and structures; three of the tracks on Infected Nations exceed seven minutes in length, with all but one exceeding five minutes. The lengthy instrumental closer "Hundred Wrathful Deities" is a particularly strong example of the band's skill in exploring different iterations of the thrash formula in a cohesive and well-structured composition. But while the scope of the album is impressive considering its genre, it sometimes feels like Evile’s focus is a bit misplaced in the songs themselves. While the chugging riffage and well-written solos are certain to get the adrenaline pumping, Evile occasionally overuse some rather mundane transitions to the point of tedium (“Now Demolition,” “Time No More”). I generally think of thrash as a genre that needs to make the most out of every possible second of a song, whether it be with an abundance of catchy riffs or some scorching drums and guitar solos (preferably both), and its hard to shake the feeling that Evile occasionally give us too much build-up for too little payoff, especially considering the length of some of the tracks.
Nevertheless, the overall songwriting on Infected Nations is of a high level, the production is outstanding, and most of the material found here should be satisfying to thrash diehards even if a little fat-trimming may have been worthwhile in areas. Evile’s ambition has definitely taken an upswing since the band’s earlier releases, and while some of you may find the band’s more regimented approach a step down from their rollicking roots, Infected Nations is still a memorable and entertaining thrash excursion, and well worth a look even from those cynical about the modern incarnations of this style of metal.
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Five Serpent's Teeth
Enter The Grave
All Hallows Eve EP