Review Summary: After seven years Evile still show no signs of progression.
If I had to describe Evile’s career with one word it would be “samey.” They have a very formulaic and downright generic approach to metal that they very rarely, if ever, deviate from. Five Serpent’s Teeth
was a step in the right direction – the riffs were faster, the hooks were better, and overall it wasn’t the same thrash-by-the-numbers snoozefest like the rest of their catalog. But this brief period of progression was no more than a fluke, as proven by 2013’s Skull
, which is a classic case of one step forward, two steps back.
Instead of relying solely on speed to grab your attention, Evile takes a more melodic approach with Skull
– this is both a good and bad thing. Some of the hooks are nice, namely the passionate guitar solo at the end of ‘Tomb’, the wonderful dual guitar solo in ‘Head of the Demon’, and the forty or so second outro of the same song which sounds like a rejected Deliverance
-era Opeth riff being far and away the best moment of the album. However this increase of melody really shows the band members’ limits, such as Matt Drake’s less than stellar clean singing and the guitarists’ inability to write an interesting interlude. You’d think that a break from insanity for a few seconds would be nice, but more often than not the soft passages do nothing more than leave you waiting for the next distorted riff to come blasting through your speakers.
It’s no surprise that Evile’s greatest strength is still their speed, and they do deliver some bangers. Opener ‘Underworld’ is a standard thrasher that aptly prepares you for the mind numbing beat-down that is Skull
. ‘The Naked Sun’ is a good example of their signature speedy riff style fused with just the right amount of melody, and ‘Outsider’ is nothing more than three and a half minutes of maniacal, merciless thrash. Yet at this point even their tremolo-picked style of riffing has become one-dimensional – there’s no spark, no hint of ingenuity that separates them from the crowd and makes you want to come back and listen again. Everything on Skull
has been done better on Enter the Grave
and Five Serpents’ Teeth
, and done even better by countless other bands which makes the existence of Skull