Thrash revival has been a big deal of late. I mean, thrash is the biggest thing since.. well, thrash, in the metal scene right now. Bands from all over the world, particularly in the underground, are donning tight jeans, jean jackets, Kreator and Exodus patches and looking for the next big thrash prodigy. Earache is not the only label releasing thrash revival stuff, it’s coming from everywhere (Candlelight has been particularly prolific with the thrash revival). Evile is on that bandwagon, whether they like it or not, but they have a different take on it. That is: they sound a lot more like the mature Bay Area.
Infected Nations is a pretty solid album, with excellent riffing in the classic thrash style that so many of us grew up. With riffs that bring to mind …and Justice for All and The American Way (by the ever-overlooked Sacred Reich), UK metallers Evile have really brought back a sound of thrash metal that has been missing in the revival. While bands like have been ripping it up in the old school style of Slayer, Kreator, Destruction and bands of this sort, Evile sounds a lot more like late-80s/early 90s thrash than that. The introduction to the title track should be a dead give-away for most listeners: beautifully harmonized clean guitars that fade in and lead to a kick ass thrash triplets.
And the whole record is chock-full of kick ass riffs and headbanging monstrosities that bring a guy back to being 9 and discovering Metallica. There is definitely a certain charm in this and many have lauded praises on the band for “carrying the revival” on their shoulders and stuff like that. And yeah, Evile is good at what they do! They really are.. but where’s the progress that we’re supposed to be finding in new metal bands? Why are we always looking back instead of forward. Bands like Evile and Havok are almost evidence for a metal scene that doesn’t have anywhere new to go and a generation of metalheads that are disappointed with the state of modern metal: so they’re imitating what’s already been done.
Of course, why stop them?Â Metallica quit making good music years ago and even Megadeth has only just regained its glory with a good album: but Evile has put out its second critically acclaimed record in a row and somehow manages to keep a 20 year old sound fresh, for the most part.
Of course, there are some things I’d change about this album. I like the faster, heavier and techy-er parts, but I find a lot of the mid-paced riffs to be a little bit mind-numbing and I tend to lose myself in them. Another issue that I have is the vocals, which are classic thrash and also very, very monotonous. Matt Drake (rhythm guitar / vocals) does his best classic James Hetfield/Chuck Billy impression over every track and after a while it just feels like droning. There are way better thrash vocalists out there, and I strongly suggest that Drake work on varying his vocals a little.
Honestly, Infected Nations is a good album, but it’s not a whole lot better than that considering everything. The production is fantastic, the song-writing is pretty good, but it’s missing out on the originality that I’m always hoping for. Maybe it’s just me, but I like to see bands that use their thrash metal roots for new things. Even looking at a band like Dragonforce or Luna Mortis that obviously have thrash metal influences, but are able to blend them into other styles to make them new and interesting gives a road-map to thrash influenced bands, because I have trouble imagining how a lot of these bands are going to survive the trend.