Review Summary: Easily more fulfilling than most well-established modern bands trying to pull off the same concepts.
Despite being all born during the dying calls of “old school” metal, the two pairs of brothers comprising Age of Evil manage to pull off a bona fide sound that doesn’t appear as derivative as it possibly should. Too often do we hear the tear-jerking effects of nostalgia driven music; too often does it weevil its way into the minds of musicians of new and old varieties, bent on doing something relatable and exciting. With their previous effort (2007’s Living a Sick Dream
) the group employed In Flames
clones spliced alongside Mastodon
-like howls; the result was an album that was well played, but not as well designed. So how should one respond to this? With guitars that screech, drums that rivet and a cultivation of exhausted eighties clichés that blend together faithfully – that’s how.
And even though it’s somewhat far-removed from where they’ve originated, A.O.E.
– between its sexually driven lyricism and guitar-centric blueprint – is a completely satisfying listen, especially considering it’s from a band whose members don’t strike the sort of accord that one associates with such music: wrinkling bandana-blokes, who still fervently attend metal festivals, no matter what. But should age really inhibit the intrinsic worth of four talented dudes? The answer is obviously “no”, but in honesty, it’s a regrettable likelihood that they’ll be denigrated for toying within antiquated realms, even if they are but one of the many fresh-off-the-press bands doing it – Age of Evil just so happen to be more proficient at it.
So, unlike many others in its class, A.O.E.
doesn’t feel calculated or feeble; at the same time it doesn’t reinvent any wheels of ingenuity, but it never needed to anyway. Only self-substantiated solidity and cockiness can combine make a victorious metal record such as this. So by declaring that they’ll “never die” during the aptly named opener “Never Die”, and that they’ll “take your money and women” during the follower, “Last Man Standing”, Age of Evil quickly re-affirm they’re not at all too distant from authentically compounding their clear intentions. Whether it’s gang or double-tracked vocals filling the gaps, or varied solos and crying leads to bridge sections and bolster choruses, the band establish a hardened foundation that rarely crumbles. As a side effect, there’s little variance found between each instalment; another is the issue of recycled ideas used to stuff areas that clearly didn’t have much else better going for them – “Now or Never” suffers from this in particular. Credit where credit is due, though, Age of Evil can make a well produced play-it-safe record, one that is consistent from beginning to end, which is all that could be asked for.