EVIL – ‘Unknown’ – Loud and proud

Evile were part of a group of entities that, starting in the early years of the new millennium, brought back the sound of thrash metal. They did it with four powerful albums before disappearing from the radar after ‘Skull’, less straightforward and open to more catchy sounds. Surprisingly, in 2021 with “Hell Unleashed” they relaunched with seismic thrash metal and an important voice change. One of the two Drake brothers, Matt, is no longer part of the group. Ol moved to the microphone, who also continues to take care of the guitars (along with the recently joined Adam Smith). The change is obvious, with a less expressive voice that throws it all into aggression. That’s why the comeback album also happens to be the most extreme of the group, with a substratum of anger that comes out multiple times. The new “Unknown” returns two years after the previous job and mixes the cards on the table. Evile almost completely abandoned the thrash rage in favor of more reasoned music, significantly lowering the bpm, with the exception of some episodes. One element remains central, their main influence: Metallica. This applies to both instrumental and vocal performance. This time, the “black album”, inspirational muse and guiding star, is making an impact on new music: part bold, part dubious choice. “The Unknown” has a deadly, massive production, with drums that sound heavy, compact, and guitars that benefit from crazy distortion. Ol is hard at work building convincing vocals, approaching a more melodic style, but he doesn’t always succeed. If the original song of the same name has an excellent sound with alternating arpeggiated parts and an aggressive middle tempo, which also casts doubt on the first Machine Heads, then starting from the second “The Mask We Wear” the album struggles to take off, enclosed in the firepower that lost in the steppe, not reaching pre-set goals. Another example is “Monolith”, a song that hangs there but leaves nothing but a feeling of boredom. The same fate is partly reserved for the lengthy ‘When Mortal Coils Shed’, a semi-ballad that struggles to spread its wings as if entangled in a thick web. Suddenly, a brace appears halfway through that brings “The Unknown” to life, two bursts of rage that occur in a sentence with slow and at times unwieldy rhythms. ‘Sleepless Eyes’ and ‘Out of Sight’ are two thrash metal shards that are reminiscent of the previous ‘Hell Unleashed’ and for that reason one would think that these might be the two songs that emerged from these sessions. The third and final part of The Unknown is by far the most compelling. “At Mirror’s Speech” follows the main expressive lines of the album, with a rhythmic rhythm, but has a different plan, which makes it one of the most convincing episodes. “Reap What You Sow” offers a more technical style with an interesting groove that is really appreciated. The final track of the work, ‘Balance Of Time’, is also the best song on the album, one that firmly combines the old and brutal thrash with the work of the nineties, with an approach close to Annihilator. “Unknown” thrives on light and shadow, alternating interesting compositions with less brilliant ones to produce an end result that deserves enough but won’t rank among Evile’s best work.

Recommended For: Metallica black album fans.

01. Unknown
02. The mask we wear
03. Monolith
04. When death coils are shed
05. Sleepless eyes
06. Out of sight
07. Mirror Speech
08. Reap what you sow
09. Beginning of the end
10. Time balance

Ol Drake – vocals, guitar
Adam Smith – guitar
Joel Graham – bass
Ben Carter – drums

For more information visit the group’s Facebook page here

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