Evile have had a difficult time over the past 8 years, with lineup changes and delays being commonplace for the Huddersfield thrashers but the wait is finally over as they release their 5th album, Hell Unleashed.
After such a long wait, Evile have the lofty task of reestablishing their sound so Hell Unleashed is understandably different from their previous records. The biggest change in sound comes from the departure of original vocalist, Matt Drake, who is replaced by returning member Ol Drake who also returns as a lead guitarist.
Ol has a much less melodic approach as a vocalist which combined with some blistering tremolo-picking guitar riffs, pushes the band further towards a death metal sound than they have ever ventured before. This album is tonally reminiscent of The Gathering by Testament in that it retains much of the band’s thrash sensibilities but introduces a darker, less melodic, almost death metal tone.
Tracks like ‘Gore’ and ‘Hell Unleashed’ are some of the most extreme songs in the Evile catalogue and show off the talents of its instrumentalists phenomenally. These tracks are firmly rooted in thrash sensibilities and are far from groundbreaking but they appear at the exact right times on the album and will likely become mainstays on the setlist.
The latter half of the record is where Hell Unleashed really shines with tracks like The Thing (1982), not to be confused with The Thing From Another World, which builds up a slow foreboding atmosphere before completely going off the rails, much like the film it is based on. ‘Control from Above’ is easily the standout of the album, it is a slower tempo track with a number of sharp left turns that often feel like something Death would have written and has a lot of subtle intricacies that benefit from multiple listens. The track also gives drummer Ben Carter a chance to display his skills as more than just a machine gun.
Hell Unleashed is a record seemingly birthed in frustration and while many bands struggle to harness that feeling for the positive, Evile manage to channel that into a hyper focused and blunt album that will likely be viewed as a pivotal album in their discography.
Hell Unleashed is available April 30th via Napalm Records.