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Evil Army have really earned my respect and gratitude. You ask for reasons? I’ll give you plenty. First thing, they are a three-piece thrash band. I have written in other reviews that three-piece rock and metal bands allow more space when it comes to the contributions of every band member. The music is never overloaded and there’s room for something we often forget: the music, the feeling we get, and maybe even the expectations we have towards it. Only if you get it right, of course. If you don’t, there is a lot left to be desired, but Evil Army show perfectly that you don’t have to overproduce and stretch out an album if you know what you’re doing. It’s how they write their songs. They’re simple and aggressive with lots of energy. You might think that they had an easy time writing these songs since they are quite catchy, but actually it’s pretty hard writing something that nobody else came up with already, especially in this genre. Maybe it’s just talent or knowledge, but Evil Army is never unoriginal or repetitive. Considering this whole wave of new thrash bands, it rather seems that they don't care about any thrash revival and neither do I. You can hear their influences, but they don’t want to copy them. I’ll get to that later. I like the latest developments of thrash being strong again, but there are only a few bands that really stick out of the crowd, so when it comes to personal thrashing I always stick with the groundbreaking originals such as Kill ’Em All, Show No Mercy, Bonded By Blood and Killing Is My Business.... Evil Army’s debut sounds like it could have existed among those classics.
Lead singer and guitarist Rob Evil is yet another strong part of the band's charisma. Take his vocals, for example. They’re not evil, but pissed off and are a perfect example of what “aggressive” can sound like, plus his chopped off lyrics are what makes the vocals even more unique. What instantly comes to my mind is the raspy voice of Pat Lind from Morbid Saint, though that guy really sounds evil in comparison! Right now Rob Evil is behind bars. Seriously, he should stop whatever crap he did and continue being a musician rather than sticking in some jail. His guitar work is amazing, jumping from simple but good and solid riffs to very melodic guitar solos which make the individual songs even more memorable. Drummer and brother of Rob Evil, Michael Murder, does exactly what one expects him to do considering the aggressive style of the band. I'm not really familiar with the art of drumming, but I can see he went for a straight forward approach, plus I think he sometimes goes faster than the guitars, but I could be wrong. The bass of Bones (R.I.P.) is seldom audible, but you can hear it sometimes having a more supportive role. Check out “Watch Me Fall” where the bass has its moments.
You’re still not impressed? They have got a number of very good influences. There’s a cover of Bathory’s “Reaper” on their single, Under Attack. Anyone remember horror punk band The Misfits? There are photos of Evil Army posing in front of the Misfits single, Bullet. In my humble opinion, Evil Army is for thrash what Misfits was for punk. They’re refreshing, hardcore, and have a certain coolness vibe, but are always enough thrash to consider this album thrash metal. The band is raw and fast as thrash should be. What's not to like about this band regarding such influences? For further study, just listen to the tracks; some have a great rock ’n’ roll feeling to them like “Wrong Approach”, while others are just brutally fast. Hear “Sgt. Says Kill” and “Satan Made Me Do It” for proof. You can sense some punk in “Conquer Human Life”. Another plus are lyrics that are never juvenile or stereotypical. They build a great aggressive atmosphere, sometimes even leaning into a blend of horror and sci-fi (see “Scum of the Earth” or “Friday The 13th”). It’s a real shame that this album is so unknown even after five years. This is really good thrash and sticks out among its modern revivalist brethren due to its originality, refreshing simplicity, and lots of attitude. Do yourself a favour and buy this album. It’s worth it and after decades will be seen as an essential effort.
There is a lot of thrash in today’s metal scene and a lot of it sucks. So much of it is paying homage the 80’s instead of breaking new ground for the genre. I don’t want to put down any bands or albums in particular, if you enjoy thrash you found these bands and albums. However, there are some bands which have released some truly stellar thrash. Now here comes the part where I tell you how fucking awesome Evil Army is.
I first heard the songs “Wrong Approach” and “Evil Army” off of a compilation CD from Hell’s Headbangers. They were so infectious and really the best tracks off of the CD. I eventually picked up their self-titled album and for a year now it is still one of my favorite and most played albums. 13 no mercy head banging tracks and the album is basically the best 25 minutes of your miserable existence.
For having such a great unique sound and fantastic cohesion for all 13 tracks, it does not feel repetitive or boring at all. It feels like running across no man’s land hopped up on amphetamines with a bayonet in your teeth and violence in your heart. The guitar style has really been inspired by the best aspects thrash; a little bit of early Metallica, Exodus, and a sack of glass shards swinging at your face. The drums are perfect war style thrash. Wicked good speed and snare hits keeping you marching towards your certain death. The bass is fast and blends well with the guitar. Lastly, the vocals are perfect.
Bad or even mediocre vocals can really keep me from fully enjoying an album, but Rob Evil has a style that is terrific. His voice works great in both lightning fast and more slow delivery; great shouts, and snarls, almost punk like.
As of this posting, there is only one other review on Metal Archives for this album. I find that shocking. This is definitely in the top 5 best thrash albums of the 00-10 period. I just hope these guys don’t have to wait for the next generation before they gain recognition from the metal community.
Imagine you had a magic portal that would take you back to the middle 80's. You walk through the light and find yourself standing in a record store. Taking a look around, your eyes catch a glimpse at something right in front of you; a selftitled vinyl lp with some obscure band called Evil Army. Despite its' somewhat ugly cover you get a strange feeling looking at it, so without further notice you pick it up and head over to the desk clerk, asking him to play it for you. He puts the vinyl on the player and hands you a pair of headphones. You put them on and anxiously await the first track, not really sure what to expect. And so it begins...
An intro consisting of a march-like drumbeat accompanied by some simple yet catchy guitarplay fills the void. It goes on for almost fourtyfive seconds until the titletrack starts with a bang. Suddenly all hell breaks loose and a completely relentless thrash attack kicks in.
Considering the nature of Evil Army, this could've been a possible scenario, save the part with the time portal. Now, what do I mean by that? Well, when it comes to the term 'oldschool', this band takes the cake. The sound is raw and uncompromising. Next to this, classics like "Kill'em All" or "Bonded by Blood" feel quite well polished and smooth in production. The song structure is also kept simple, short and to the point.
The guitarplay might not take home any awards in the technicality department. However, something it has no shortage of is catchiness. I think it's safe to say that if you don't appreciate the riffs on this record, you shouldn't listen to thrash metal at all. And if you think it ends there, just wait until the leads come into play. I don't recall hearing anything this catchy and energetic since.. well.. ever before. The bass is for most of the time hardly audible at all but I guess that doesn't come as a surprise. It's there though, working mainly as a backbone for the guitars. I'm okay with that.
The drummer makes a good job of what he has to work with. Like I said, the overall structure of this disc is kept simple. This doesn't prevent him from throwing some tasty fills and pattern changes that, while not interfering with the straightforwardness of the guitars, still makes this disc a more varied experience.
What about the vocals then? Well, the vocalist has a very harsh style of singing. His raspy voice is capable of spitting out lyrics in fast and aggressive manner, something that fits the rest of the music like a glove. Of course I've heard way better thrash vocalists, but still, he just seems like the right man for this particular job.
Another thing that goes for the music in general is the speed of which it's played. You won't be hearing a song on here that goes below 'fast' tempowise and quite often the songs are just blistering. Some people might find this intense, but then again, aren't one of the cornerstones of thrash metal the speed? It is for me at least.
There's not much more to say about this offering. If you like your thrash fast and catchy with a punk attitude, hunt down a copy of this disc. You won't be dissapointed. Simply put; this is one damn fine piece of thrash metal!
Highlights: Edge of Destruction/Evil Army, Realm of Death, Sergeant Says Kill, Watch Me Fall