Review: Evile – Five Serpent’s Teeth

September 26, 2011 marks the release of Evile’s third album Five Serpent’s Teeth. It’s not only their third album, it’s their first album without original bassist Mike Alexander who died only weeks after their second album, Infected Nations, was released in October of 2009.

After two great albums, Enter The Grave and Infected Nations, and with new bassist Joel Graham, all eyes within the Thrash Metal community are on Evile.

Is the band able to keep their momentum or was the loss of Mike Alexander too big of a blow for them to handle? Find out after the jump when I’m reviewing Five Serpent’s Teeth.

Evile – Five Serpent’s Teeth

1. Five Serpent’s Teeth – 5:35
2. In Dreams Of Terror – 5:19
3. Cult – 4:52
4. Eternal Empire – 5:35
5. Xaraya – 6:14
6. Origin Of Oblivion – 4:56
7. Centurion – 5:46
8. In Memoriam – 5:49
9. Descend Into Darkness – 4:27
10. Long Live New Flesh – 5:18

When you put Five Serpent’s Teeth onto its first spin, you’re going to ask yourself why you put Metallica’s …And Justice For You All into your CD player, even though you wanted to listen to the new Evile. While the titletrack starts off similar to ‘Blackened,’ it proves to be Evile pretty soon. The obvious similarities to early Metallica were always present in Evile’s music and I can’t say I dislike that because we haven’t had a real Metallica for almost 20 years now. Evile understand how to take their influences, ranging from Metallica and Testament to Megadeth and Annihilator, and put their own spin onto it to make it sound modern.

Vocalist Matt Drake seems to have worked a lot on his voice. When I listened to previous Evile albums, I’ve always found myself getting bored of his vocals pretty fast. On this album, and especially the titlesong, he shines as he’s never done before. The main focus still lies on the guitars anyhow. That’s no wonder when you hear the ear-shattering solo of ‘In Dreams Of Terror,’ or the absolutely beautiful outro of ‘Cult.’ Ol Drake has topped himself again on this album and I’m absolutely fine with it when someone names Drake among the best Thrash Metal guitarists of this decade.

The songwriting sounds more mature than on previous releases and you don’t feel like you’re listening to a Thrash Revival band but just a Thrash Metal band, if you catch my drift. Evile are one of the first bands mentioned when someone’s talking about modern Thrash Metal, and deservingly so.

With ‘In Memoriam,’ the band pays tribute to their late bassist Mike Alexander. It fittingly starts off with a very atmospheric, and rather dark, bass piece. The vocals on this acoustic song remind me a lot of James Hetfield. These vocals mixed with a melancholic instrumental, that could have been written by CFH-era Pantera (think ‘Cemetery Gates,’ a song Evile themselves have covered), prove that Evile have mature a lot as a band and aren’t scared to try new things. Ol Drake’s leads are again a highlight on this song, if not even one of the biggest highlights on this album.

If you’re familiar with Evile’s first two albums, you know what you’re getting into. This is Thrash Metal. Evile have matured as a band though so don’t think this album is simply a continuation of their catalogue but a step into the right direction. A step forward. A step faster, a step more technical. Five Serpent’s Teeth is, without a shadow of a doubt, the band’s strongest release so far. Mike Alexander would be proud.

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