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  • JammT



Hell Unleashed will not breach the Trade Description Act. Though it has been seven years since Evile released Skull (2013) the hiatus, which saw a range of crucial line-up changes, seems to have galvanised this band to produce an acerbic, unreconstructed scare-your-granny retro-thrash record that holds its own with the best of the genre. It should be made clear that, since emerging during the thrash revival of the mid-2000s, nothing has changed stylistically and this remains unapologetically derivative and gleefully trend-resistant. There are no experimental flourishes or artistic progressive twists, just Evile's core high-velocity, no-holds barred approach executed with adenalized, pent-up relish.

You do not have to strain yourself trying to decipher the influences at play as Evile compete with, rather than mimic, the thrash premier acts. The opener Paralyzed is redolent of vintage Slayer, peak-Kreator or Beneath The Remains-era Sepultura with its high-tempo, urgent onslaught. Elsewhere you can hear all the most nefarious elements of the likes of Metallica, Annihilator, Exodus, Megadeth and perhaps the death metal riffing of Obituary or Entombed. There is little in the way of slacking in quality thereafter and the album offers up an over-dose of slamming pit-anthems such as ragers like Gore, War of Attrition, Control From Above, and a rampaging, careering Mortician cover. It is a collection of scything compact tracks that go for the jugular - aggressive, heavy, fun and immediate.

The delivery is well balanced with finely-calibrated disciplined precision with maniacal, crisp fretwork, enervated riffage and an impressively pulverising percussion engine that propels the whole racket. Yet the sound is not sanitized enough to lose an old school organic thumping bootleg-ish feel. The corollary is that this evokes an atmosphere that is, even when the band are at their most goofy, slightly insidious and post-nuclear hellish rather than clean laser-trained proto-thrash.

As is typical of the genre, there is veneration of all that is boneheaded and gormless and Evile, as their name suggests, are partial to archetypal cartoonish party-apocalypse and mock death idolisation. The plain daft The Thing (1982), a homage to the ridiculous horror movie of the same name, is actually a vigorously aggressive standout track with a violent breakdown and incendiary solos. Ol Drake, who re-joined the band in recent years, replaced his brother on vocal duties. His barked style rabidly crams in doggerel lyrics on the conventional metal subject matter of annihilation, morbidity and devastation regardless of whether they rhyme or fit. His uncontrolled, frenzied diatribes add a volatility that combines with the urgent fury of the record.

Hell Unleashed is over-spilling with room-trashing riffs, punishing breakdowns and cartwheeling solos that haemorrhage from every song. Evile maintain a raging, athletic pace throughout but play with such vivid focus as to avoid this merging into a noisy miasma. It is as if the long break between albums has been claustrophobic to the band who play with revved-up, full-throttle glee that does, as the title suggests, unleash hell. The nine radioactively-glowing songs contained here are true bangers. Put simply, the veterans of the thrash premier division would pay for some of what is contained here.

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