Review Summary: "Old-school" thrash that you've never heard of!
The late 1980s to early 1990s was an odd time for thrash metal. It was a time of transitioning, and for thrash, this meant stepping out of the limelight to make way for grunge. It was hard times for any up-and-coming thrash metal band, and this was no different for Evildead.
Forming from the members of speed/thrash band Agent Steel and members of Abbatoir, Evildead got their start from German record label Steamhammer Records in 1988 and subsequently released a three-track EP entitled RiseAbove
. The following year they release this beauty, Annihilation of Civilization
At just under 40 minutes, Annihilation of Civilization
is "headbangingly" fun, if you will. It features one of the greatest thrash metal songs of all time in the title track "Annihilation of Civilization." The lyrics throughout the album include themes of anti-religion and nuclear apocalypse. Not entirely unique, but they serve their purpose here. The songs are all similarly arranged with an average of 2 guitar solos thrown in somewhere after the late bridge and usually one right before the last chorus kicks in. Trust me when i say this, the guitar solos absolutely slay
. Evildead branch away from a lot of other thrash bands in the late 80s by excluding some of the punk and hardcore influenced verses that were so prominent in bands like Overkill. Instead, Evildead had a more melodic approach with their thrash when it came to the verses, generally small touches such as some lead guitar picking over top of the songs main riff, or just a neat little guitar lick after the chorus; small touches that make a big difference in their sound and setting Evildead apart from a lot of other thrash bands around this time.
Annihilation of Civilization
suffers in being very top-heavy. It's not so much that the second half is bad as much as the fact that the first two tracks are just that much better. MTV's Headbangers Ball even played the video for the title track for a short period of time. You know, back when Headbangers Ball was GOOD. Unfortunately, as mentioned, the era of grunge was beginning to take foothold in houses across America, consequently killing off a large majority of the final wave of thrash bands being formed in the late 80s. Annihilation of Civilization
also suffers in the vocal department. Chris Malaki is certainly a capable vocalist, especially for thrash, unfortunately, "capable" is as good as it gets vocally.
Evildead, along with Sacred Reich, clearly have an influence over thrash metal bands like Nuclear Assault, from the infusion of hardcore influences down to the sweeping guitar solos; granted, bands like Anthrax probably have the bigger influence. This isn't to say that Nuclear Assault didn't influence Evildead in much the same manner. As a matter of fact, they all influenced each other a great deal. As far as the history of thrash metal has come, nothing will surpass the classics like Anthrax's Among the Living
or Megadeth's Rust in Peace
. However, if you are a fan of thrash, you MUST hear this album, and if you are just an occasional admirer of great thrash songs, you need to hear the title track "Annihilation of Civilization."