From the day I heard Slayer’s “Evil Has No Boundaries” in the mid-’80s, I have loved Thrash. The speed, the aggression, and the virtuosity epitomize what Metal is, to me at least. As such, I have become a bit discerning. With that, “Hell Unleashed” will be at the top of everyone’s list for “Best Thrash Album of 2021.” Hell, maybe the whole decade, depending on how long it lasts. The album is called “Hell Unleashed” after all.
It’s been eight years (really?) since the last Evile release. Ol Drake has assumed the position of vocalist, in addition to his role of lead guitar and the band has added Adam Smith on rhythm. Drake’s vocals are deeper and he is more of a belter than the departed Matt Drake. This album is ferocious from the outset, employing impossibly fast tempos, blistering solos, all with that perfect crunch. All instruments are well represented in the mix; kudos to all involved.
Standouts include: “Incarcerated,” with its sinister acoustic intro, builds slowly, then launches into a multi-layered Thrash lover’s dream. “Control From Above” is full of ridiculously heavy riffs full of twists and turns. If I had my druthers, the slower interlude at 3:15 would be fleshed out a bit more. Lots of potential here. Perhaps in concert.
The only weak track is “Zombie Apocalypse.” The riffs and lyrics are not quite as imaginative as the rest of the album. This is a Mortician cover tune; I should give kudos to Evile for sticking to the source material. Maybe there are no weak tracks after all.
I look forward to seeing how Drake tackles the band’s previous works in concert.
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Best Thrash Album of 2021?. Hell, maybe the whole decade!
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