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Who's laughing now? - 96%

Metal_Thrasher90, March 17th, 2014

By the late-80’s, thrash became refined, advanced and varied, subgenres of the subgenre itself appeared, from power thrash to progressive while very few kept the original essence of the early days in their music. Even the extreme Teutonic acts embraced much more accessible sounds, moving away from their initial schemes because they had to evolve inevitably to prevail among the rest. During those times of diversity for thrash, Evildead put out their debut, which combined melody and violence in almost equal percentages. The enormous pile of generic groups demanded making a difference from the rest and these guys did it in their own way, although the uncertainty of those days eventually condemned them to languish in obscurity.

The album features pretty direct thrash tunes of total aggression, “Unauthorized Exploitation” and “F.C.I./The Awakening” in particular are plenty of power and speed, with that rapid tempo and those sharp riffs attacking so intense. However, they’re not the topical raging thrash intended to be only heavy and rough because Evildead’s performance and song-writing preceding process show some sophistication and grace. The music is violent but at the same time slightly melodic on some sequences, immaculately played and exact, proving the experience and skills of veteran Juan García and Albert Gonzales specially, whose lines lead and determined the tunes. Some of those rabid riffs are quite intricate, not excessively difficult but they make a difference from other band’s lack of precision and exhausting palm mute riffing. So they alternate sonic violence with tenuous technique on those, while “Living Good” and the title-track increase the complexity of structures, introducing distinct riff series, lengthier instrumental passages and much more melody, which becomes a characteristic element of this material. On other hand, it seems the band is trying to not play it that technical and remain accessible and casual, far from the ambitious patterns Juan developed on his Agent Steel years. That resolution becomes evident on “B.O.H.I.C.A.”, the most scruffy chaotic number of the pack, which sounds like uncontrolled hardcore combined with humoristic lyrics. But there’s another exception of opposite nature here: “Holy Trials” is the most progressive composition, tender with some constant acoustic guitar arrangements that make it sound sentimental at times, along with much more meticulous riffs and alternative structures. Apart from those 2, the rest offer no difference: “Parricide” includes a killer intro with both guitarists having a friendly duel of weighty riffing, then it follows the usual band patterns of energetic rhythms and diverse riffs, while “Gone Shooting” puts bigger emphasis on vocals.

Those who expected some trace of previous Juan García projects’ sound here will be disappointed, because this was never intended to be a sequel of Agent Steel or Abattoir. The band preferred to make it simpler, straighter without an excessive presence of melody and instrumental complexity. The lack of pretention is clear on some of these numbers, which are focused on the basic characteristics of thrash, making them limited and predictable sometimes. Although Evildead can’t deny their natural predilection for difficulty and melody, both inevitably present during the album, providing their music of excellence and class which most of their peers lacked. Luckily, melody isn’t a tiring element here like it became on post-80’s Artillery and Whiplash, but it’s obvious this material is far from extreme. Phil Flores’ voice contributes tremendously to make this stuff so polite and slightly commercial. His lyrics are incessant and omnipresent, his choruses repetitive and his tone particularly sweet. It’s one of those singers who could’ve sung for a hard rock group instead perfectly, whose presence lacks strength and attitude but manages to fit the nature of these cuts. His words are about entertaining usual issues of pollution, toxic waste and environmental apocalypse, though also combined with mysticism and evil inherited from excessive hours in front of TV watching horror movies. The group name makes it clear and in fact, this mixture of urban thrash identity and horror stuff wasn’t that common, probably just Rigor Mortis introduced some cinema inspiration in their imagery. It’s not only about zombies and witchcraft, expressions like “girl beware of my probing anal tongue dart, I'll kiss your bush, and spread your cheeks apart” on the final composition prove lust and sarcasm are also part of their policy.

It’s a very competent record, surprisingly refreshing and aggressive, admirably executed and well-produced. It could’ve got further for sure, maybe the presence of thousands of other common thrash albums around relegated it to discreet success and I’m not talking about selling CDs. In contrast with most of inoffensive subgenre work of that period, Evildead still included velocity, brutality (in small portion) and some obscure lyrics in their music, showing some nostalgia for the good old times. Sadly, like what happened with many other promising bands, this enjoyable material came in the wrong time, shortly afterwards thrash was no longer popular.

From steel espionage to necromantic thrashing. - 91%

hells_unicorn, November 15th, 2013

On the liner notes of a reissue of Agent Steel's "Unstoppable Force" there was a good deal of allusion to the changing tides of metal circa 1987-88 while said band was touring with a number of reputed thrash metal acts. In essence, the writer seemed to be justifying the breakup of an auspicious purveyor of speed/power metal on the grounds that thrash metal was taking over the scene, and there was definitely something to that when considering the massive explosion of bands on the scene taking their cues from something far more distant from its NWOBHM roots than what had been the norm from 1983-85. More than likely this turn of events came about due to Juan Garcia becoming bored with competing with the likes of Crimson Glory and Helstar, and thus was born Evildead, a thrash metal band that some might dismiss as a mere Johnny-come-lately, but one with a very unique take on things.

Though largely built upon existing methods displayed out of both the New York and Bay Area scenes, "Annihilation Of Civilization" exudes an auspicious brand of eclecticism, almost as if Garcia spent a year listening to every single thrash album he could get his hands on from the likes of Dark Angel, Nuclear Assault, all the way to the progressive world of Voivod and the hyper-technical one of Watchtower. At times this album literally gets fast and frenzied enough to rival "Darkness Descends" and "Show No Mercy" (see "The Awakening" and "Unauthorized Exploitation"), yet while the namesake of this band and the implicit imagery of this album's intro snippet from the same film hint at a red influence in line with said bands, the lyrical content cuts heavily in favor of the political and environmental green thrash craze spearheaded by Anthrax, Nuclear Assault and Sacred Reich.

While at times the lyrics get a bit overly preachy and even a bit grating (see "Future Shock", which gets about as brazen as "Surf Nicaragua" in its message campaign), the musical interplay between rivaling styles is just interesting enough to make anyone averse to left-wing politics not care. Particularly the lead happy "Parricide" and the otherwise bludgeoning Slayer fest of a title song "Annihilation Of Civilization" take a fair amount of time to let Garcia's technical chops steal the show, and what emerges is a set of spacey guitar harmonies that remind a bit of the occasional progressive influences heard on "Killing Technology", though the beginning of the former song also hints at a slight throwback to an Agent Steel take on an Iron Maiden harmony. Then again, the overtly punk-infused bonus track "B.O.H.I.C.A." listens like a direct nod to "Hang The Pope" with a lot of guitar noodling thrown in, with the usual lyrical comedy to go with it.

But the area where things really get interesting is where all of these influences smash up against each other into one of the most highly distinctive thrash anthems to hit the speakers since Metallica's "Battery", namely "Gone Shooting". One of the few songs that is mercifully free of political pandering, this sucker tells the story of a crazed mass killer with a heavy dose of technique and aggression to boot. The same flashy dual guitar harmonies collide with a descending tremolo riff reminiscent of Slayer circa "Hell Awaits", but at a slightly slower tempo and with a set of pounding mid-tempo sections. The only thing in this extravaganza of sectional twists and turns that comes off as slightly mundane is Phil Flores' vocal delivery, which doesn't venture beyond a straight gruff yell after the Chuck Billy approach minus the occasional high-pitched wails. It works well because it gets out of the way of the superior musical devices at work when called for, but it does leave one wanting for a slightly more dynamic vocal presence.

If going by this album alone, one might conclude that Juan Garcia made one of the most radically successful sub-genre hops in the history of metal music, though things would get toned down a bit considerably with the Evildead follow up, likely due to label pressure for a more radio friendly approach, or just because Garcia and company saw fit to follow the trend where ever it went. Granted, Agent Steel remains a slightly better project and definitely a bit more original of one for its time, but this album nips at its heels with a rather vicious bite and definitely stands as one of the better thrash albums to come out in the latter days of the style's peak. It might come off as slightly schizophrenic to the average green thrasher who sticks primarily to crossover and New York based bands or the Bay Area aggression fanatic for that matter, but uniqueness has a habit of confounding conventional wisdom.

AWAKENED FROM THEIR ANCIENT SLUMBER! YOU WILL DIE! - 90%

maggotsoldier626, June 23rd, 2011

If you didn't know already, Evildead has reformed and played a local Los Angeles thrash festival about a year. This festival was Thrasho De Mayo. This is the first time I heard Evildead. They completely blew me away. So I went home did some research and found this album. It is amazing. It has all you could want in a thrash album. The riffs are great, not too complex, but not too simplistic either, and the album is loaded with them. The drums, they have just the right amount of variation, with some fills here and there and lots of clashing. The solos aren't far from spectacular. The bass isn't present as much, but there are a few riffs that are heard throughout the album. Last but not least, the vocals are sweet, a mixture of punk and thrash, they're just in your face constantly and are synched with the rhythms oh so well. The choruses are very catchy. The lyrics also have a lot of though put it, with most of them being about society.

The best songs on this release are F.C.I./The Awakening, Annihilation of Civilization, Future Shock, Gone Shooting, B.O.H.I.C.A., and if you have the re-issued version, Rise Above/Institutionalized. These tracks, all together, are weaved in and out of the album for a great thrashing of the senses. F.C.I./The Awakening starts off with a line from the movie of which the band is named, The Evil Dead. Then a mid-paced riff with a solo comes in, followed by a pure assault of thrashing greatness that is The Awakening. You are truly awakened after the intro. Next follow the self-titled track Annihilation of Civilization. You might've seen the video, it was directed by Jerry Allen, if you haven't seen it, it’s on YouTube. Anyways, this track is chock full of guitar talent and has lots of energy. Definitely a remember able riff. You can recognize it anywhere.

Now Future Shock is a phenomenal track. It has a small riff build up in the first moments of the song. Then the main riff switches constant roles of lead with the vocals. It is extremely catchy, if you don't like this song, you won't like Evildead. In the latter part of the song, is where the magic happens; this magic will leave you ripped and torn in the pit. It also has a slow intense build up. With a solo, then back to another chugging riff. All in all it might be the best track on the album. Gone Shooting starts off with a sample of what sounds like a car taking off like a bat out of hell. The riff is amazing with a constant ascent up the neck, making it one of the sickest thrash riffs ever. With the lead playing an assortment of fills in and out during the main riff, and a constant variations of the main riff makes this song a must listen to. B.O.H.I.C.A. is an awesome track. It also stands for Bend Over Here It Comes Again, which is the chorus in the song. This is where you hear more of their punk influence. It could've as well been an S.O.D. song for all I know. It fits the album of so well. Now for their cover of Black Flag and Suicidal Tendencies, it's one of the best tracks I've ever heard. They blend the two classics together so perfectly. An awesome re-issue bonus I might add.

All in all, there isn't much of a downfall with this album. The album is very consistent. Not one single weak track. The tracks I didn't mention are also amazing songs. But I only mentioned the very best of the best. I recommend any song off this album will do if you want to check out Evildead. The one problem is the vocals; they aren't much of a stand out. They're just there, he is a good front man overall, but doesn't bring anything special to the table. That is why this album gets a 90 out of 100.

Civilization seems to have survived - 73%

autothrall, March 30th, 2011

California thrash was already very near capacity by the time the Evildead rolled out their debut album, several of its pioneers having achieved enormous international success. Whereas overseas, bands like Coroner, Kreator and Mekong Delta were expanding the very notion of what the genre could accomplish, the West Coast artists, which, aside from a few New York area standouts would represent almost our entire thrash vanguard, and they seemed to dwell on little more than amplify the aggression level of their primed predecessors. Such is the case for Annihilation of Civilization, a lethal and competent enough effort that suffers simply from having already been handled better by artists like Exodus, Testament, Vio-Lence and Forbidden.

Don't get me wrong, this is not at all a bad release, and in fact it remains my favorite from Juan Garcia's 2nd most prominent project (after Agent Steel, of course). Authentic, savage guitar work is driven to the point of collision through a number of dynamics, greatly expanding upon the teasers from the prior Rise Above EP. They tend to mix up the speed sequences with mid paced, writhing riffs ala "Living Good", "Future Shock" or "Parricide", but this album works best when its meting out high amounts of testicular fuel via "Unauthorized Exploitation" or "Gone Shooting", each of which would have sounded right at home on Eternal Nightmare with Sean Killian singing. Often, they'll just blow the mold entirely and batter the listener with sheer, blustered force as in "Bend Over, Here It Comes Again (aka B.O.H.I.C.A.)" and opener "The Awakening".

Combined, the contents present a fully functional third string thrash band that can easily sate the cravings of those who pine for the artists I name dropped above, but rarely if ever do the individual riffs stand out as monoliths of memorable writing. I also must admit that I'm not the biggest fan of Flores' vocals here. He's enforced by shouting backups and has often sauces them with a respectable sneer, but otherwise it's your stock shouting reminiscent of crossover bands like D.R.I. or early Suicidal Tendencies. I've always appreciated a bit more character to my thrash front men, and this guy simply was not an Araya, Baloff or Hetfield. That said, despite the thin and crisp production of the guitars, and the lack of any particular 'cult classics' that I'd want to experience repeatedly through the decades, this is not a half bad headbanging if you're one to invest in the Bay Area's spectrum of 80s hostility.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Goofy Evil Thrash Violence - 94%

heavymetalbackwards, June 18th, 2009

Watch Sam Raimi’s “The Evil Dead” before you buy this CD. It will make the opener infinitely more awesome. If you already have, prepare to be overwhelmed by a well-constructed thrash classic.

Let’s begin with the man behind the mike. Phil Flores’s vocal performance on “Annihilation of Civilization” can easily be criticized for being tame and weak; that’s what makes this album great. The music is so fast, aggressive and wild that the singer shouts and gasps in desperation, trying to keep up with the pace. “The Awakening” and “Holy Trials” are perfect examples of this phenomenon: the illusion that this battering thrash metal is overpowering an average joe. It makes this album sound all-the-more violent.

These guys are excellent composers, and the songwriting is the antithesis of cliché. The songs are not primarily in verse-chorus format, but instead build logically on musical ideas and increasingly heavy riffs. There are no musical non sequiturs to be found; even the occasional acoustic instrumentals sound in place. This allows highly effective storytelling, and entertaining narrative lyrics: tales of shotgun killing-sprees in L.A., parricidal slaughter and cannibalism at home, and a retelling of the classic 1980’s horror flick “The Evil Dead.”

There’s nothing especially groundbreaking or technically impressive here, be forewarned. The guitar solos are memorable and fun, but they don’t exactly shred. Did I say fun? Yes, fun is the key word here; Evildead have a morbid, often perverted sense of humor. Check the words to “Bend Over, Here it Comes Again” for some raunchy sex comedy. There are even some scatological jokes in “Unauthorized Exploitation.”

This is consistently fantastic thrash from start to finish, and has a lot of hardcore punk influence. I recommend this to any metalhead, but something tells me Anthrax fans might especially enjoy.

Annihilation Of The Eardrums - 80%

gone_homocide, April 11th, 2007

I stumbled upon this thrash gem when I was on soulseek one day looking up the classic movie to download. I downloaded this with the movie and I was more satisfied with the cd than the movie. I later went on and spent $30 on the original cd on ebay it is sure worth it.

This album is full of sweet riffs, great solos, and well written lyrics. Though not very groundbreaking it is a good album overall. Did I mention the guitar playing rules. From start to end the kick ass factor doesn’t go down. The speed increases as the album keeps spinning it seems until the final track B.O.H.I.C.A (BEND OVER HERE IT COMES AGAIN) which is the fastest most intense track.

Every song has a great mix of serious and humorous lyrics. Whether it be about killing people on the road or having sex in the back seat of a car all the songs kick total ass. The excerpts from the movies of Evil Dead on the track F.C.I/The Awakening and Robocop on Unauthorized Exploitation really set the moods of the songs.

All the tracks on this album are brilliant. Gonzalez and Garcia can really shred up a guitar. Some of the solos are just throw ins to make the song sound better but some of them are truly fucking intense like on B.O.H.I.C.A.

If you are looking for some groundbreaking old school thrash like Atheist don’t listen to this album. If you are looking for some good thrash that is over looked and not cared much about check this album out.

A Decent Record - 78%

Human666, April 3rd, 2007

'Annihilation Of Civilization' is a pretty energetic album, but it lacks a bit in some interesting leading guitars and powerful riffs, though it has some great moments.
Back then in 1989 there were so much thrash bands out there which sounded like an imitation for the pioneers of the genre. Well, I can't say that 'EvilDead' brought something new with them, they even reminds me 'Testament' here and there, but still they created a good album which I really enjoyed and hope that you too.

This album isn't a tripping one, it keeps on a fast tempo but it isn't fast as 'Reign In Blood' or 'Darkness Descends' for instance. The production is pretty good, there aren't any interruptions in the sound, the guitars sounds solid and it doesn't struggles with the drums to be heard. It's sounds like a well produced album, not like an underground demo which recored with budge of 10 dollar. Everything sounds clear and shape as it should be.

'F.C.I/The Awakening' begins with a sample from the horror movie 'Evil Dead', the source for the band's name. Then the song begins with a cool riff and a nice leading guitar. The vocals are pretty intense and sounds like a hardcore kinda vocals with a flesh of thrash metal. Phil Flores doesn't vary his vocals even a bit, but it sounds great for this album and I really like it. First track is great, the second is awesome! 'Annihilation of Civilization' begins with a middle eastern riff and then it changes mood to a kicking ass thrashing metal. It's a pretty catchy song with a straightforward and blazing chorus, the riffs are pretty good and it's the best song here. 'Living Good' sounds a bit dull, nothing special here, just some average riffing and decent vocals. 'Future Shock' is a nice track with some outstanding riffs and good leads here and there, but it isn't really brilliant. 'Holy Trials' begins pretty chilled down but not for a long. I thought it's gonna be the 'ballad' of the album but nope, it becomes a real killer as it continues and it's a great track with intense riffs and vocals. The close track, B.O.H.I.C.A is a totally killer track! the riffs are merciless and when they shouting ''Bend over here it comes again!'' it just sounds catchy and superb hymn. The lead breaks are also pretty cool and increases a touch of aggression into it...it's just an overwhelming and fast ending [1:56 minutes] and a badass one.

So this album has some weak spots, some boring moments here and there and some dull riffs. But all in all it's a great thrash album which definitely worth your attention if you look for some great 80's thrash albums. I like it and listened to it more than a month, it isn't such a brilliant album but it has something which always attracts you to listen to it again and again.

Goofy Ass Cover, But... - 85%

corviderrant, April 8th, 2006

While this came out by the ending of the US thrash glut, meaning it was hard to differentiate which band was which by that time, but somehow Evildead stood out. Maybe it was the fact that they were faster and more vicious than the legions of Bay Area Metallica clones clogging the arteries of the scene (and I listened to a few of those, trust me). Maybe it was the fact their guitarists knew how to shred riffs and leads equally well--no surprise, seeing as how Juan Garcia of Agent Steel was one of 'em. Whatever the case, these boys were damn good.

Phil Flores' high-pitched snarl was limited and best suited to high-speed spitting out of lyrics more than anything else. But at his best he certainly sounded mean and angry. And the music was like a boot to the head to say the least; Rob Alaniz' drumming was fantastic, tight, furious, and keeping the band-machine on overdrive most of the album. Again, the guitar tandem of Garcia and Albert Gonzales are top notch, whipping out wailing solos alongside stunning riffs at those velocities. Mel Sanchez even gets in some licks here and there with a growling distorted bass tone.

Standouts: "F.C.I./The Awakening" (any song based off of "Evil Dead" is OK with me) with its sweet harmony guitar leads exploding into thrashing frenzy, "Parricide", "Living Good", "Future Shock", even "BOHICA" lays it down harder than most bands did back then--and that was their novelty song! The first half of the album tends to be the stronger, but the album still holds up well after what, 17 years now? New school thrashers need to discover this unsung band to get a better feel for their chosen field as opposed to rehashing Slayer riffs for the umpty-eighth time.

Great album by an overlooked thrash band - 80%

CryOfMankind, July 14th, 2004

EvilDead was a very short lived band that started when guitarist Juan Garcia’s previous band ‘Agent Steel’ broke up. During the bands career they put out two studio albums, one live album and an EP all of which were very standard thrash albums besides “Annihilation of Civilization”, the bands first full-length album.
The strength of “Annihilation of Civilization” and what makes it stand above their other releases, lies in the guitar riffs done by Alber Gonzales and Juan Garcia. Songs such as “F.C.I./The Awakening” “Living Good” “Future Shock” and “Annihilation of Civilization” showcase fast, brutal and, dark guitar riffs. “Holy Trials” displays variety and a little change in pace in the album starting off with a very melodic acoustic beginning, it then picks the pace up again and breaks into thrash. “Parricide” is another great song that starts off with Gonzales and Garcia trading off riffs which creates a very cool sound as the riffs transfer from the left stereo to the right.
The bass on this particular album is often inaudible and when you can hear it on songs such as “Parricide” and “Living Good” it is nothing special. Also pretty standard on this album are the vocals done by Phil Flores and the drumming done by Rob Alaniz, they are not bad by any means but are nothing that stand out.
This album is no “Darkness Descends” or “Coma of Souls” but it is a very strong thrash album that anyone who listens to the style of music should definitely check out.