Red Lamb (2012, self-released)
1. The Cage … 3:45
2. One Shell (In the Chamber) … 3:22
3. Standby Passenger … 3:3)
4. Runaway Train … 4:41
5. Puzzle Box … 4:39
6. Get Up … 3:38
7. Don’t Threaten to Love Me … 3:55
8. Angels of War … 4:07
9. Watchman … 4:37
10. Warpaint … 3:09
11. Temptation … 4:00
12. Keep Pushing Me … 4:21
Don Chaffin – Vocals
Dan Spitz – Lead/Rhythm Guitar, Bass, Vocals
Patrick Johansson – Drums
Chris Vrenna – Synthesizers
Producer: Dave Mustaine & Dan Spitz
This is an album that should be of interest to Megadeth & Anthrax fans because it is a project put together by ex-Anthrax guitarist Dan Spitz with Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine co-producing the album with Spitz.
It seems like there’s some confusion and assumptions on the internet as to what Mustaine’s involvement was on this album. At one time, it was assumed that Mustaine was going to be playing guitar and performing lead vocals but according to the Red Lamb bio and recent interviews with Dan Spitz that was never the case or intention. I’ve seen other sites speculate that Dave secretly plays or is singing on this album (and I’ll admit vocalist Don Chaffin sounds a lot like Dave at points) but why would he do that? This project has everything to gain by promoting the fact that Dave played on it. I’m pretty sure if it happened Spitz & Mustaine wouldn’t keep it a secret.
From what I can gather about Dave’s involvement is that the album was written & recorded without Mustaine having anything to do with it. Red Lamb was entirely a Spitz venture. Dan let Mustaine hear the album and then Dave made suggestions and the album was then adjusted accordingly thus giving Dave a co-producing credit.
It’s amazing how much Don Chaffin comes off as Dave though. He’s got the snarl down pat and even the phrasing and emphasis is very similar but then there are other times when you can tell it’s not Dave singing. Maybe Spitz had originally intended to Dave to be the vocalist and went in a similar vocal direction without him?
Vocals aside, a lot of the music sounds like modern day Megadeth so I can understand people thinking Mustaine “secretly” played a bigger than in this than is being admitted. “Angels of War” could have come off any Megadeth album from the last 10 years as could have a number of other tracks. There’s a few duds though. I don’t care for “One Shell (In the Chamber)”, which is nu-metal and features some rapping.
Overall, this is good album worth checking out for fans of that are into modern metal and have been digging the last few Megadeth albums.
Highlights: “The Cage”, “Standby Passenger”, “Don’t Threaten to Love Me”, “Angels of War”
Metallica – Beyond Magnetic (2011, Warner Bros. Records)
1. “Hate Train” … 6:59
2. “Just A Bullet Away” … 7:11
3. “Hell and Back” … 6:57
4. “Rebel of Babylon” … 8:01
James Hetfield – Vocals, Guitar
Kirk Hammett – Guitar
Robert Trujillo – Bass
Lars Ulrich – Drums
Producer: Rick Rubin
Beyond Magnetic is a collection of the 4 songs that didn’t make it onto 2008′s Death Magnetic album. 14 songs were written for that album but only 10 made the cut. So, after debuting these songs live during one of their 30th Anniversary shows, Metallica originally released them to the world through digital retailers (exclusive to iTunes in North America) on December 13, 2011. The E.P. is available in CD form as of January 31, 2012.
From what I understand, these are only rough mixes of the songs (I’m assuming final mixes do exist). I just hope they don’t try to pad out the next Metallica album by throwing completed versions of these songs on it and calling it a day.
As expected, reaction to this Beyond Magnetic has been mixed. I’ve read everything from “It’s worse than Death Magnetic!” to “Why the #&$% weren’t these songs on Death Magnetic?” to “It sucks!” to “They’re playing thrash again!” to “At least it isn’t Lulu!”
I’m not one of those “fans” that takes the stance that everything the band has done since …And Justice For All (or the Black Album) sucks. I’ve talked about making the ultimate Load & Reload compilation in the past. And I quite liked Death Magnetic. I listened to it again recently and it still holds up. With the songs from DM still fresh in my mind, I’m in the camp that’s wondering why these songs weren’t included on the album. In fact, that album only had 10 tracks, what’s wrong with bumping it up to 14? Still, “Suicide & Redemption” and “The Judas Kiss” could’ve easily been left off DM to make room for at least “Just A Bullet Away” and “Hate Train”.
“Just A Bullet Away” comes the closest to sound like old school Metallica. I don’t really think we’ll ever see a true return to that era but this is about as close as these guys can get these days. So, yeah, your mileage may vary but I think this is a good little E.P. with on “Rebel of Babylon” kinda just wandering around for a bit.
If you’re a Metallica hater, you’ll probably hate Beyond Magnetic but that’s expected of you. As for anyone who actually enjoyed Death Magnetic, this is worth checking out.
The album art looks like a butterfly.
Highlights: “Hate Train”, “Just A Bullet Away”, “Hell and Back”
Buy Beyond Magnetic [CD Edition] at Amazon.com
Elm Street – Barbed Wire Metal (2011, Massacre Records)
1. “Barbed Wire Metal” … 3:45
2. “The Devil’s Servants” … 4:00
3. “Elm St’s Children” … 5:41
4. “Heavy Metal Power” … 5:44
5. “King of Kings” … 4:50
6. “Leatherface” … 5:06
7. “Merciless Soldier” … 3:55
8. “Metal Is The Way” … 6:14
Ben Batres – Vocals and Rhythm Guitar
Aaron Adie – Lead Guitar
Brendan Farrugia – Bass Guitar
Tomislav Perkovic – Drums
Producer: Ermin Hamidovi
Melbourne, Australia’s Elm Street are a band that plays good old fashioned heavy metal and are proud to do so! At first glance of the cover art and logo (and knowing they are on the Massacre label), I thought maybe they were going to be a brutal-sounding thrash band but don’t let that artwork by the legendary Ed Repka fool you! Yes, this band does have some thrash moments (such as the relentless opening number) but they describe themselves as traditional heavy metal and also display a great sense of melody and New Wave of British Heavy Metal/traditional metal influence. The melody aspect is evidenced on the second track “The Devil’s Servants” and it also reminds me of Black Veil Brides. Don’t worry, it’s not metalcore.
Another thing that stands out about this band is that they are horror movie fans. I mean, the band’s name is Elm Street and they have songs called “Elm St’s Children” and “Leatherface”. These guys are all about delivering fun, powerful heavy metal — “Barbed Wire Metal”? “Heavy Metal Power”? “Metal Is The Way”? You betcha!
There’s lot of good solos and riffs throughout this album and singer Ben Batres has that necessary roughness that wells work with traditional metal. His voice reminds me of Mr. Lordi. I love the gang vocals, too, by the way!
The band knows their way around a melody but they are heavy and fast enough that you won’t think they are wimping out. So, if you want some fun and recent heavy metal to bang your head to Elm Street’s Barbed Wire Metal is just what you need!
File this under “Albums I Wish I Had Heard In 2011″!
Highlights: “Barbed Wire Metal”, “The Devil’s Servants”, “Elm St’s Children”, “King of Kings”, “Metal Is The Way”
the Blame – Born (2011, self-released)
1. Another Stolen Life … 4:07
2. Guiding Light … 4:17
3. The Scarab … 4:34
4. Valley of Trade … 4:31
5. Lost in a Rabbit-Hole … 4:25
6. Beyond the Wind … 3:57
7. Deserted Nation … 4:59
8. Fading Day … 4:08
9. Sacred Souls … 3:25
10. Exile … 4:17
11. Made of Stone … 3:39
Enver C. Yılmaz – Vocals
Bahadır Sarp – Lead Guitar
Kaan Afacan – Rhythm Guitar
Onur Altınay – Bass / Fretless Bass
Berca B. Kantarcıoğlu – Drums
Born is the debut album from Istanbul’s the Blame. The band has a great assortment of influences such as Iron Maiden, Dio, Black Sabbath, Rush, Edguy, Rage, Testament and Nevermore. As such, this album is kind of a mash-up of heavy/thrash/melodic/progressive metal.
Lead vocalist Enver sings in a few different styles on the album. On “Guiding Light” he comes across as what the typical modern metal vocalist sounds like but on “The Scarab” he comes across as Bruce Dickinson or Edguy’s Tobias Sammet and then goes on to employ some growling metal vocals in the very same song!
It’s the fast & furious thrashers such as “Beyond the Wind” where the band really displays their powers though. The entire band is great and Berca’s drumming in exceptional. It’s in these fast pace environments that Enver’s vocals really shine best as well when he hits those higher notes. “Exile” is a great instrumental that brings to mind ’80s Metallica and this band is worth checking out for that song alone (no offense to Enver!). The album closes with the thrasher “Made of Stone” which again shows off the Maiden influence in terms of sound & vocals (even if there is still some more growling thrown in).
Born is a solid debut from these guys. Not a knockout punch but there are some gems to be found here and the band definitely has a future that has me thinking they might be better off focusing on the Maiden & thrash influence rather than bands like Rush & Nevermore. Of course, progressive metal has never really been my thing in general. I’m surprised these guys aren’t signed because they are a band that I think could easily fit on the Metal Blade label.
If you’re interested in checking this album out, you can head on over to the band’s website and download it for free (and make a donation to the band as you do it, if you’re feeling generous).
Highlights: ”Guiding Light”, “The Scarab”, “Beyond the Wind”, “Exile”, “Made of Stone”
M-pire of Evil – Creatures of the Black (2011, Scarlet Records)
1. “Exciter” … 5:12
2. “Motorhead” … 2:58
3. “Reptile” … 4:48
4. “God Of Thunder” … 5:10
5. “Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be” … 3:55
6. “Creatures Of The Black” … 5:15
Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan – Bass & Vocals
Jeff “Mantas” Dunn – Guitars
Anthony “Antton” Lant – Drums
Black metal pioneers Venom have had quite a confusing shift in members over the years. The classic/best-selling/most influential version of the band consists of Conrad “Cronos” Lant (vocals/bass), Jeff “Mantas” Dunn (guitar) and Anthony “Abaddon” Bray (drums). Their run in Venom takes place from 1980-1986 and 1995-1999. All three members have come and gone over the years. At various times, one or two of the “classic” members would exit, leaving the remaining member(s) to carry on. After Mantas walked away in the late ’80s, Cronos & Abaddon tried Venom out as a four-piece before Cronos himself left the band (to start a solo career). Keeping the band a four-piece, Mantas rejoined along with new guitarist Al Barnes (What, no nickname?) and new vocalist/bassist Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan, formerly of Atomkraft. This signaled a slight change in sound for the band as they went for a more traditional, competent & better produced thrash/speed metal sound as opposed to the raw, sloppy Satanic metal that had helped create entire metal sub-genres in the early ’80s.
Eventually, in 1993, the Dolan-era came to an end and the band laid dormant. In 1995, the classic Venom line-up of Cronos/Mantas/Abaddon was back. More changes occurred. Abaddon left in 2000 and the drummer’s seat was filled by Cronos’ brother Anthony “Antton” Lant. Even more changes were in store. Mantas left in 2005, Antton left in 2009. According to Mantas, none of the classic members are ever going to work together again, but we’ll see.
Enter Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan once more. In 2010, Mantas & Antton teamed up with Dolan to give us a new group called Prime Evil. No, wait… That’s what they were called. They ended up changing their name once they became aware that another band was already using that name. Now they are known as M-pire of Evil. Though this trio has never played on a Venom album together, Dolan & Mantas have worked in Venom together and the same can be said of Mantas & Antton (they also played together a metal band called Dryll). I find it interesting that Cronos’ brother would leave Venom and then later hook-up his old guitar player and the singer who once replaced him in order to form a new group that obviously borrows a lot from Venom. It’s like we’re getting two Venom groups these days. Another former Venom member, guitarist Mike “Mykus” Hickey was going to be involved in the band but had prior commitments though the band is open to working with him whenever he has the time.
BTW – Does anybody know where Abaddon went?
To be honest, I’ve become interested in Venom only in the last year or two. The album I chose to start with was Prime Evil (the debut of the Dolan-era) because I had read it was not as over-the-top with all the Satanic imagery and lyrics as previous Venom releases had mostly been. I ended up liking the album a lot and I would have bought the other three Dolan releases (Tear Your Soul Apart, Temples of Ice and The Waste Lands) if not for the fact that they are out of print and thus very expensive. So to find out that M-pire of Evil existed was very exciting to me. This band’s formation had totally slipped by me in 2010 when it was announced.
This is the band’s debut: a six song E.P. with four covers and two originals. I gotta say, the cover songs are excellent. Not only did they choose four excellent bands to cover (Judas Priest, Motorhead, KISS, AC/DC) but they bring a level of raw power and aggression to these songs that has not been heard before (well, except maybe for “Motorhead”). I especially like their covers of “Exciter” and “God of Thunder”. When someone covers “Exciter”, the singer usually doesn’t have a gruff deep voice like Dolan does. It’s different but that’s why it works.
As for the two original tracks, those are really cool too. It’s really nothing different than what you’d hear on Prime Evil. Two raw thrashy numbers. “Reptile” features some Satanic gibberish chanting that kind of takes points away from the song for me, but musically, it’s a good thrashing number. Had I not just days ago posted my list of favorites E.P.s, Creatures of the Black would’ve been on there.
It seems like a full studio album could be coming very soon in early 2012 and I’m definitely looking forward to it. Fans of the Dolan years of Venom and fans of raw heavy metal in general should pick up Creatures of the Black.
Highlights: “Exciter”, “God of Thunder”, “Creatures of the Black”
Last year I said 2010 was a better year for music than 2009 was. I went on to wonder how 2011 could even begin to top it. Well, guess what… 2011 did indeed top 2010! I’m looking back at my Top 25 list for 2010 and while those albums are all still good, this year’s Top 25 list is much stronger top to bottom.
2011 was a great year that saw classic rock/metal acts like Whitesnake, Warrant, Riot, Alice Cooper, Journey, Black N’ Blue and King Kobra deliver some of the best albums of their career while younger acts like Steel Panther, Reckless Love, Savage Messiah, Evile (who missed the list by this much) and Black Veil Brides have shown that they are more than capable of carrying rock & metal into the future.
Top 25 Albums of 2011
1. Whitesnake – Forevermore
2. Sixx:A.M. – This Is Gonna Hurt
3. Riot – Immortal Soul
4. Warrant – Rockaholic
5. Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare
6. Steel Panther – Balls Out
7. Megadeth – Thirteen
8. Anthrax – Worship Music
9. Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming
10. Reckless Love – Animal Attraction
11. Edguy – Age of the Joker
12. Hurtsmile – s/t
13. Journey – Eclipse
14. Chickenfoot – III
15. Mike Tramp & The Rock ‘N’ Roll Circuz – Stand Your Ground
16. Black Country Communion – 2
17. The Poodles – Performocracy
18. House of Lords – Big Money
19. King Kobra – s/t
20. Saliva – Under Your Skin
21. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
22. Black N’ Blue – Hell Yeah!
22. Savage Messiah – Plague of Conscience
24. George Lynch – Kill All Control
25. Joe Bonamassa – Dust Bowl
In light of a few non-album singles being released this year, I’ve decided to make this a hybrid category.
Best Compilation/Cover/Live/Reissue Albums
Kind of a catch-all category this year. Instead of listing each category individually, I decided to lump them all into one list and rank them that way.
1. Black Sabbath – Born Again [Deluxe Edition]
2. Stryper – The Covering
3. Vains of Jenna – Reverse Tripped
4. Whitesnake – Live at Donington 1990
5. Slash featuring Myles Kennedy – Live: Made In Stoke 24/7/11
6. Hell – Human Remains
7. Scorpions – Comeblack
8. Def Leppard – Mirrorball: Live & More
9. Eric Carr – Unfinished Business
10. Black Sabbath – Dehumanizer [Deluxe Edition]
Want to read more about the year in music? Check out some of the fine sites & blogs listed below! And be sure to keep checking back for more Year-End posts here at Metal Excess!
All Metal Resource — http://allmetalresource.com/
Bring Back Glam — http://bringbackglam.squarespace.com/
The Crash Pad of Ray Van Horn, Jr. – http://www.rayvanhornjr2.blogspot.com/
Hair Metal Mansion — http://hairbangersradio.ning.com/
Hard Rock Hideout — http://hardrockhideout.com/
Hard Rock Nights — http://hardrocknights.com
Heavy Metal Addiction — http://heavymetaladdiction.com/
Heavy Metal Time Machine — http://metalmark.blogspot.com/
Imagine Echoes — http://www.imagineechoes.com/
Layla’s Classic Rock — http://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/
Metal Odyssey — http://metalodyssey.wordpress.com/
The Ripple Effect — http://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com/
Posted in Year End Awards
Tags: Alice Cooper, Alternative Metal, Alternative Rock, Anthrax, AOR, Black 'n Blue, Black Country Communion, Black Sabbath, Black Veil Brides, Blues Rock, Chickenfoot, Classic Metal, Classic Rock, Def Leppard, Edguy, Eric Carr, Foo Fighters, George Lynch, Glam Metal, Glam Rock, Hair Metal, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Hell, House of Lords, Hurtsmile, Ian Gillan, Joe Bonamassa, Journey, King Kobra, KISS, Megadeth, Melodic Hard Rock, Melodic Rock, Metal, Metalcore, Mike Tramp, Music, Myles Kennedy, NWOBHM, Pop Metal, Power Metal, Reckless Love, Riot, Rock, Saliva, Savage Messiah, Scorpions, Sebastian Bach, Sixx:A.M., Slash, Sleaze Metal, Sleaze Rock, Speed Metal, Steel Panther, Stryper, The Last Vegas, The Poodles, Thrash Metal, Tony Iommi, Vains of Jenna, Warrant, White Lion, Whitesnake, Who Cares, Wildstreet
Savage Messiah – Plague of Conscience (2011, Earache Records)
1. “Plague of Conscience” … 5:31
2. “Six Feet Under the Gun” … 5:01
3. “Carnival of Souls” … 6:02
4. “In Thought Alone” … 4:36
5. “All Seeing I” … 05:09
6. “Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt” … 4:09
7. “Architects of Fear” … 5:14
8. “The Accuser” … 4:04
9. “Shadowbound” … 4:50
10. “The Mask of Anarchy” … 8:37
Dave Silver – Vocals, Guitar
Joff Bailey – Guitar
Stefano Selvatico – Bass
Mauricio Chamucero – Drums
Producer: Scott Atkins
Savage Messiah are a band I knew absolutely nothing about until I watched music journalist Dom Lawson’s “Iron Sandwich” video review for Plague of Conscience. He gave it a lot of high praise so I figured since the album is currently free to download I’d be a fool to not sample it.
This is the band’s third release and it’s apparent I’ve been missing out on this slice of British steel. I don’t know how this album compares to previous releases, but I’ve seen some places present Savage Messiah as a (retro) thrash metal band but they aren’t that at all. Thrash is just a portion of their sound, they are also equal parts power, speed, melodic and progressive. In short, they are HEAVY METAL. They don’t dance anywhere near the extreme side of metal (like Slayer) and the vocals of Dave Silver are clean & extraordinary. I don’t even get much of a retro vibe from them but they are certainly going to appeal to that community of old school fans because you can hear a bit of Priest, Maiden and Megadeth.
Plague of Conscience has been made available as a FREE download over at Earache Records’ website, so download it while you can. I’d also like to point out that the download comes complete with artwork for the album cover, booklet (with lyrics) and back cover. The artwork throughout is just beautiful. A CD edition of the album will be hitting shelves (and distros) in January 2012.
Granted, you shouldn’t take something just because it’s free but in the case of Plague of Conscience, Savage Messiah & Earache Records have given the public one hell of a deal and now the band has at least one more fan.
Highlights: ”Plague of Conscience”, “Six Feet Under the Gun”, “In Thought Alone”, “Beyond A Shadow of a Doubt”, “Architects of Fear”, “The Mask of Anarchy”
Quite some time ago I took a look at Guns N’ Roses’ Use Your Illusion albums, took the best tracks and laid out what I thought one single album should’ve looked like (never mind there is a UYI compilation… mine is better). Well, I’m here to do that again.
The subject? Metallica. The albums? Load and ReLoad.
The original plan was for Load to be a double album but with some songs coming along slower than others, this idea was scrapped. The 14-track Load was released in June 1996 while the band continued to work on the remaining songs and released them as ReLoad (13-tracks and essentially ”Disc 2″ of Load) in November 1997.
Both albums are completely filled with, er, um… filler. Too many tracks, too many long tracks. Load is nearly 79 minutes. ReLoad is 76 minutes. Both albums are WAY TOO LONG.
I know it’s fashionable online to bash anything and everything this band has done since 1991 (even 1988 if you’re particularly grouchy) but mid/late ’90s Metallica wasn’t too bad. Were they card carrying members of the Metal Militia anymore? Absolutely not but that doesn’t mean they weren’t able to spit out a few good hard rock numbers… even if those songs did have a southern rock and/or alternative vibe. Corrosion of Conformity, anyone? What is too bad is that Metallica thought they were onto something so special that they felt they needed 2 albums, 27 tracks and 2.5 hours to tell their tale.
I give you the “Metal Excess Cut”:
Loaded: The Very Best of Load & ReLoad
Ain’t My Bitch
The Unforgiven II
The Memory Remains
Hero of the Day
Until It Sleeps
Of course I profess no great skill when it comes to sequencing the tracks, so you mileage may vary, but I will not budge on “Fixxxer” being the closer.
So there you have it. I think these 11 tracks are really the only ones worth listening to from Load & ReLoad and with a running time of a little over 60 minutes, it may still be a tad lengthy but certainly better than nearly 80 minutes!
Megadeth – Thirteen (2011, Roadrunner Records)
1. “Sudden Death” … 5:09
2. “Public Enemy No. 1″ … 4:15
3. “Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)” … 3:50
4. “We the People” … 4:33
5. “Guns, Drugs, & Money” … 4:19
6. “Never Dead” … 4:32
7. “New World Order” … 3:56
8. “Fast Lane” … 4:04
9. “Black Swan” … 4:10
10. “Wrecker” … 3:51
11. “Millennium of the Blind” … 4:15
12. “Deadly Nightshade” … 4:55
13. “13″ … 5:53
Dave Mustaine – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Chris Broderick – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Dave Ellefson – Bass, Backing Vocals
Shawn Drover – Drums, Percussion
Producer: Johnny K
Thirteen is Megadeth’s 13th album. It’s become cliched to title your album based on its chronological order in your catalog just as much as its become lame to stylize an album title or song as something like Th1rt3en. It’s just unimaginative and lame (to me anyways) but I suppose I’m just nit-picking.
Of course, lack of imagination could be argued for this album because five of the thirteen tracks on this album have appeared elsewhere in various forms. “Sudden Death” was originally recorded in 2010 exclusively for the Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock video game. “Black Swan” was an exclusive to Megadeth fan club members who pre-ordered United Abominations. “Millennium of the Blind” was originally demoed for Youthanasia and in that form found its way onto the 2004 re-issue as a bonus track. “New World Order” is from the Countdown for Extinction era and was also included in demo form on the re-issue of Youthanasia (a completed version appeared on 1999′s Duke Nukem: Music to Score By soundtrack). Lastly, the main riff from “Deadly Nightshade” is something that’s “been around for a while” since the mid-90s according to returning original bassist David Ellefson (this is Ellefson’s first Megadeth studio since 2001′s The World Needs a Hero) . It should be noted though that all of these songs have been completed, reworked and/or re-recorded for this album so it’s not a total cut & paste job.
In comparison to Endgame, Thirteen is an improvement. Endgame had some good tracks but left me cold for the most part. It was thrash & speed just for the sake of it and I’m happy Andy Sneap wasn’t able to return to produce this album (scheduling conflicts) because otherwise we probably would’ve ended up with Endgame Part 2. In the quest for speed & aggression, it seemed like Mustaine forgot all about melody and hooks on the last album. Thankfully Thirteen does not suffer this problem as the nature of this album is more melodic and songs like “13″ and “Guns, Drugs & Money” prove the point.
There is still enough thrash & speed to go around though. “Sudden Death” (slightly different than the Guitar Hero version) is one of the best songs Dave has written in years and should be included on any future “best of” compilations. “Wrecker” is another track sure to have you headbanging. Much of the album finds a great middle ground between being heavy while still having the hooks that will dig into your brain and keep you coming back for me.
Personally, I prefer a melodically metal Megadeth over a thrashy Megadeth any day of the week so this album has worked out well for me and has restored my faith in the band (not that it ever really faltered). Those that were enamored with the audio assault of Endgame may be slightly disappointed with Thirteen but those that liked the melodic shift in sound the band took on starting with Countdown to Extinction should find plenty here that will entertain.
Highlights: “Sudden Death”, “Public Enemy No. 1″, “Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)”, “Guns, Drugs & Money”, “Never Dead”, “Millennium of the Blind”, “13″
Evile – Five Serpent’s Teeth (2011, Earache Records)
1. “Five Serpent’s Teeth” … 5:34
2. “In Dreams of Terror” … 5:07
3. “Cult” … 4:50
4. “Eternal Empire” … 5:35
5. “Xaraya” … 6:02
6. “Origin of Oblivion” … 4:55
7. “Centurion” … 5:44
8. “In Memoriam” … 5:47
9. “Descent into Madness” … 4:25
10. “Long Live New Flesh” … 5:16
Matt Drake – Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Ol Drake – Lead Guitar
Joel Graham – Bass
Ben Carter – Drums
Producer: Russ Russell
Though I liked their last album, Infected Nations, I think Five Serpent’s Teeth is a much stronger album. Better riffs, better solos, better use of melody, better vocals. Despite these accomplishments it’s all a bit bitter sweet as this is the band’s first album without original bassist Mike Alexander who passed away in 2009. “In Memoriam” pays tribute to Alexander by using a bass riff he would play during sound checks.
On this third album, Evile is still bringing thrash to the masses in the same style of the classic composers such as Metallica, Megadeth, Testament and Overkill. This is not a bad thing. You could do a lot worse than get compared favorably to Metallica — and I mean good mid-late ’80s Metallica, not St. Anger/Lulu Metallica.
At the same time, while at the forefront of the “new wave of thrash” (a scene that has banked a lot on nostalgia), there is an extra quality to Evile that gives them a modern edge that even the tormented, brooding teenage souls of today would enjoy even if they think Megadeth and Metallica are a bunch of old fogies.
Whether the rest of the new thrash metal bands will continue stand once the novelty wears off, time will tell. As for Evile, they are already starting to separate themselves from the pack and I look forward to seeing what else they can come up with in the years to come.
Five Serpent’s Teeth is definitely a standout album for 2011 and not to be missed by fans of the Big Four.
Highlights: “Cult”, “Eternal Empire”, “Xaraya”, “Origin of Oblivion”, “In Memoriam”