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Evile’s Hell Unleashed: rebooted Brit thrashers blast away the cobwebs

Album review: modern thrash flagbearers Evile pick up where they left off on first new album in eight years, Hell Unleashed

Evile - Unleashed Hell
(Image: © Napalm Records)

Blighted by tragedy and misfortune, UK thrashers Evile have always faced an uphill battle to maintain their position as the great bright hope of Britain’s thrash revival. 2007’s Enter The Grave was a lightning rod for puritanical thrash, while subsequent releases saw the band expand their melodious inclinations, adopting tropes from across the Big 4 pantheon and achieving spots on the US Heat Top 100 charts in the process.

But progress be damned, Evile have marched right back to the fury of their debut for Hell Unleashed, their first release in eight years. Less a comeback than a soft reboot, long-time guitarist Ol Drake has taken up vocal duties following the departure of his brother Matt last year, also bringing in Riptide’s Adam Smith on rhythm guitar.

Unconcerned with the shades of hardcore and black metal that have crept back into the scene this past decade, the revived band instead put meat’n’potatoes thrash through its paces by way of dynamic songwriting and hellish atmospherics, swinging a pendulum between 250mph speed-freak carnage and ominous, half-time stomps.

On paper, this lack of novelty could leave Evile sifting through the dust trails left by their idols, but it’s in the execution that they truly excel. Even at its most derivative – Incarcerated comes off like a Seasons In The Abyss supercut, complete with slow-burn intro and spoken-word elements – the band are able to repurpose thrash’s best elements to make them feel thrilling and fresh.

While it remains to be seen how much the band will experiment going forward, Hell Unleashed has plenty of lightning-charged (over)doses of adrenaline in the form of songs like War Of Attrition, Disorder and the title track to blast away the cobwebs and remind everyone why they took notice in the first place.