Review Summary: The torch-bearers of the new wave of thrash metal step their game up.
Now I'm sure you're very aware of the new wave of thrash metal that has engulfed metal in recent years, and if you have then the chances are that you have heard of Evile. Perhaps considered to be at the forefront of this new wave, Evile's third release is definitely on par and if not better than their debut, 'Enter The Grave', and certainly a step up from their sophomore album 'Infected Nations'.
We can see this straight away with the first two tracks. The album kicks off with 'Five Serpent's Teeth', starting with a slightly eerie guitar interlude before smacking you in the face with some pounding drums and a great duo riff from brothers Matt and Ol Drake. Just by listening to this track, it is clear to see that Matt's vocals have progressed massively from their first two albums, emphasizing more on melody rather than aggression. Some people dislike his new vocal style, but in my opinion it works brilliantly.
Their next track, 'In Dreams Of Terror', is my favourite song in all of Evile's discography. The guitars and drums are particularly brilliant, opening with a lightning fast riff and incredibly quick drumming from drummer Ben Carter. This song is an all-out thrash assault.
The next two songs are a little more relaxed in terms of tempo, particularly track number three, 'Cult'. This is the album's first weak point in my opinion. The riffs and drumming are slightly boring and the song in general does little to keep me interested.
'Eternal Empire' is a better track, opening up with Matt's melodic vocals, singing "What can you say of limited life"/Are you never satisfied"/With no uncertainty to tread, but me..." before shouting "I'd rather be dead!" Then the song erupts into a typically fast riff and speedy drums. One thing that stood out for me in this song is that recently-joined bassist Joel Graham's basslines are actually audible during the verses, something which unfortunately could not be said about previous bassist Mike Alexander, who sadly passed away in October 2009.
When comparing this album to their previous two albums, one thing that pleases me is the short(ish) song lengths. Before even listening to this album, I was delighted to see that the only song which passed the 6 minute mark is 'Xaraya', and then only by 4 seconds. These tracks are long enough to show that Evile are generally good song-writers, but short enough to stop me from getting bored easily, which I could not say about the previous two albums.
One thing I didn't expect to see on an Evile album was a ballady-type song, but they have included one here. 'In Memoriam' shows a melodic, gentle and generally different side to Evile. Starting off with a simple bassline and then introducing clean guitars and nice vocals from Matt Drake, this song is just beautiful. The only negative about this song is how shockingly reminiscent it is of Metallica's 'Nothing Else Matters'. The sad thing is, it's not just this song, it's the whole album and Evile in general too. Although still an excellent album, it's not very original, and Evile seem to nearly be a Metallica rip-off, something that people who dislike the band will always have against them. After all, Ben Carter and Matt Drake did start this band (previously known as Metal Militia) as a Metallica cover band.
The album's last two tracks, 'Descent Into Madness' and 'Long Live New Flesh' return to the sheer speed and aggression displayed at the beginning of the album to close off what is possibly Evile's finest album.
Five Serpent's Teeth is all in all an excellent album, topping their previous album Infected Nations and their debut Enter The Grave. What sets it above these two albums is that is has managed to take the positive elements of both of these albums and combine them to make this one. Not only is this Evile's best record, it is one of the finest releases of 2011, and certainly one of the best album's within the new wave of thrash. I'd say the only album that comes close to this within this new wave is Warbringer's Worlds Torn Asunder. To summarise, this album shows that Evile are head and shoulders above most other recent thrash bands and are a forced to be reckoned with.
* Nicely balanced song lengths
* Brilliant rhythm and solo sections on the guitars
* Ben Carter's best drumming display for the band
* Great melodic vocals
* Sound shockingly like Metallica, and while maybe not necessarily a bad thing, it shows a lack of originality
* Bass is inaudible on most songs
* Five Serpent's Teeth
* In Dreams of Terror
* Eternal Empire
* In Memoriam