Admittedly, when I think of punk-infused thrash, I think of how Toxic Holocaust‘s Hell on Earth release a decade ago planted its seed of bad demeanor in my ear. From there this seed took root and blossomed as a love for (most) of Toxic Holocaust‘s succeeding releases. Hell, I still rock out to An Overdose of Death…’s “Wild Dogs” whenever I crave the punky breakdowns and the pissed-off attitude of adolescence (which we all know I love). Simultaneously, Darkthrone raped the world like a graveyard slut (see what I did there?) with their own “punkish” rendition of the classic heavy/speed sound of old on The Cult Is Alive – A direction that forever removed them from their classic Norwegian black metal sound (which is not a bad thing considering their most recent The Underground Resistance release is simply killer). This all being said, I regularly return to these two bands for their unique takes on speed/thrash/punk metal, and if another band wishes to force their way into the genre, their creativity better be astronomical if they want to get my dime.
Finland’s Bonehunter and their Evil Triumphs Again debut are – at best – Toxic Holocaust on an average Sunday. While the required attitude is present on nasty, scabby tracks like “Acid Fuck,” “Devil Metal Punks,” and “Succubus,” the approach employed from song to song renders the album a carbon-copy of what’s been done before. It’s easy to pick out the hints of modern-day Darkthrone and the Toxic Holocaust influence in “Acid Fuck” (not to mention the title similarity to TH‘s “Acid Fuzz”), the Motörhead prodding of “Devil Metal Punks,” the Ghoulish vocals of “Succubus,” and the overall catchy choruses of the triumvirate. But, that’s just it; grave-robbed riffs from those-that-came-before.
However, for those booze-hounds that can’t get enough of this stuff, these three tracks should do wonders for late-night drunken excursions in the family crypt. And if that is indeed the case, you may actually enjoy the album in its entirety. For me, these three songs are the pinnacle of Bonehunter‘s balls-out thrashiness, but the most interesting of all the tracks would have to be the closer/title track. “Evil Triumphs Again” represents the next era of the genre with its touch of melody, memorability, and a runtime that allows me to settle into the groove and absorb it (don’t worry, it’s only five-ish minutes long). But, much like the rest of the album, there is nothing new here that hasn’t already been done by Toxic Holocaust.
For those listeners already sodden from the last few decades of this style, Evil Triumphs Again won’t do much for you. Other than the completely worthless intro, every song bleeds into a thirty-minute band practice that does nothing more than crack the paint and piss off the neighbors. Bonehunter‘s debut doesn’t so much suffer from bad writing or performances, as from the fact that I’ve heard this all before. Most of the riffs can be traced back to either Darkthrone, Toxic Holocaust, or Abigail, and this lack of originality does little to warrant a return visit.
Thankfully, its half-hour presence is a good amount of time to ingest without forcing you into utter apathy. Also, the instruments are all accounted for in their rawest form and the DR10 leaves a pleasant old-school taste in your mouth (which is almost a shame with the absence of original songwriting). However, with nothing soaking in or leaving a bruising blow against my skull (except maybe for the bear-headed Mad Max on the cover), you might as well save those waded-up singles for something else.