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Evile - "Five Serpent's Teeth" (CD)

Evile - "Five Serpent's Teeth" CD cover image

"Five Serpent's Teeth" track listing:

1. Five Serpent's Teeth (5:45)
2. In Dreams of Terror (5:20)
3. Cult (5:01)
4. Eternal Empire (5:45)
5. Xaraya (6:15)
6. Origin of Oblivion (5:06)
7. Centurion (5:57)
8. In Memoriam (5:57)
9. Descent Into Madness (4:35)
10. Long Live New Flesh (5:28)

Reviewed by on October 6, 2011

"So while I'm still a fan of the band's older work, there isn’t much good to say about 'Five Serpent's Teeth.' I like how Evile decided to experiment, but this whole album was one big missed opportunity to do something incredible."

For as much as I'm 100% over the retro-thrash revival (or, more accurately, was never all that into it to begin with), I still think that Evile is an amazing band. While the vast majority of neo-thrash bands lack any sort of identity and focus on one-dimensional thrashing, which evokes only the most generic and forgotten of 80's thrash, Evile actually has a real identity. After releasing two of the best thrash albums of the past decade, “Five Serpent's Teeth” is a major step backwards, despite Evile's willingness to experiment with a number of different styles of music.

What's notable is that “Five Serpent's Teeth” is a lot slower and more experimental than the band's previous work, similar in sound to Slayer's "South of Heaven," and it's really a mixed bag. It's obvious that Evile wanted to try something in new horizons, but Matt Drake's new vocal style and the songwriting don't meet the high standards that Evile has set for themselves.

Matt Drake's old gruff shouting is mostly gone and happens to be replaced with what's best described as very harsh talking. It's not even a poor attempt at singing; it's just talking over thrash riffs, and it sounds horrible. I'm not sure if this is a stylistic thing or if Matt Drake wasn't feeling his best at the time of recording, but it's incredibly grating and hopefully won't be present on the next album.

The production just happens to make matters worse. It's dry and lacks power, almost like a death metal album from 1993. The drums click rather than pound, the fuzzy guitar lacks dynamics and the bass sounds like a clanking thud that pubs up once per second. There's a reason why most albums don't sound like this today, and trying to be retro with regards to the things that nobody liked in the first place doesn’t help to revive anything. It just ensures that what's trying to be revived stays dead.

There are still a few redeeming values on “Five Serpent's Teeth.” Namely, Ol Drake's solos, which may not be the best he's ever played, but they're certainly more technical. It helps to make up for the songwriting, which features a pointless ballad that goes nowhere and slower tempos than Evile is known for. While I appreciate Evile branching out, “Five Serpent's Teeth” just sounds like mid-paced thrash. Not groove metal per se, but just thrash metal that's been slowed down. So while there’s variety in tempo, there isn't much variety in terms of riffs, which defeats the entire purpose of a band diversifying its sound.

So while I'm still a fan of the band's older work, there isn’t much good to say about “Five Serpent's Teeth.” I like how Evile decided to experiment, but this whole album was one big missed opportunity to do something incredible. Maybe next time.

Highs: Ol Drake keeps improving as a guitarist.

Lows: Poor vocals, low production values, slow tempos

Bottom line: "Five Serpent's Teeth" is a let-down due to a lack of balls.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)