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With only three songs and a meager running time of eight minutes, it's hard to get the full effect from most acts. Evil Army, on the other hand, is able to show everyone what they are all about with their first actual release in seven years. If you're looking for any type of progression, walk out the door now, because “I, Commander” is pretty much the antithesis of progression.
Maybe things in the south are a little slower to come out. Kids are probably just starting to wear radical neon shirts with black spandex biker shorts and obnoxious looking Nike Air high-tops with Velcro straps across the top. This Memphis based thrash revival act is bringing out a sound made famous in the mid to late eighties. Rather than sounding like just another Teutonic Thrash act or a Bay Area thrash act, Evil Army takes their favorite parts of both and combines it into a viciously intense, yet amateurishly sloppy amalgamate of both popular Thrash scenes circa, say, 1987 or so: the days that thrash still had a lot of punk / crossover influence.
The production is rather subpar; sounding like it was recorded on a four-track in the basement of one of the member's parent's house. Surprisingly though, the gritty and dirty production is quite endearing when coupled with the energetic music. The drums are very tinny and metallic sounding, the guitars are sharply crunchy, while maintaining significant amounts of muddiness and the vocals harken back to the early days of Mille Petrozza or Mike Schmier.
The music is fast paced and energetic thrash. Blazing fast riffs with some chunky palm muting; fast paced yet simplistic drumming; muddy and thick bass lines; and barked, yet distinctly clear vocal lines: they're all out in full force for the entire eight minute run time. Being only eight minutes long, Evil Army does not let off the gas pedal at all. Every instrument is played very amateurishly, but with enough passion to squeak by. There are no virtuosos or prodigies here. The leads, for example, sound like never rehearsed hammer on / pull offs and simple fret scaling.
You have to give credit to Evil Army for going back to the glory days of thrash, because if no one told me, I would've thought this was recorded back in the day and not in 2013. With the prevalence of this “New Wave of Thrash” and all of the scenester kids being all about retro everything, Evil Army should see a pretty sizable fan base if they keep putting out material like “I, Commander”. It's moderately enjoyable for the nostalgia factor, but I'm fairly sure you've heard everything on here before. Keep an eye, because Evil Army may get big, just not yet.
Written for The Metal Observer