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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.