Classic thrash is alive in the new millennium! In fact, it's experiencing a mini renaissance across the globe, thanks to hundreds of eager young groups set on emulating the frenetic sounds first perpetrated by Metallica, Slayer, and company in the early '80s (surely before many musicians from this particular generation were out of their diapers...if out of the womb, come to think of it). Needless to say, Britain's Evile are but one of many accomplished outfits stepping out into this recently formed mosh pit, but they're doing it with remarkable panache via 2007's Enter the Grave debut, which, incidentally, was produced by former Metallica associate Flemming Rasmussen. This is surely one large reason why the album is characterized by a distinctively crunchy, rhythmically airtight attack and splatter-demonic lyrics, reminiscent of Bay Area staples like Exodus and Forbidden -- even early Slayer for brief, exceptionally inspired moments. Notable offerings like the title track, "Burned Alive," and the self-defining "Thrasher" sound almost mechanically executed -- such is the instrumental prowess displayed by the group, and drummer Ben Carter in particular -- a true limb-flailing colossus in the Tom Hunting and Paul Bostaph tradition. Evile also display a little more range on the vari-paced, semi-epic tandem of "Man Against Machine" (featuring a creepy, soft-picked intro reminiscent of Annihilator) and "We Who Are About to Die" (their personal stab at merging Anthrax's "Among the Living" with Slayer's "War Ensemble"), but there's still not much here that one might describe as "accessible" thrash. Frontman Matt Drake's harsh vocals, for one thing, don't bridge the rather wide moat separating the group from the fortress of widespread commercial appeal (keep in mind that Slayer's Tom Araya, whose style he is clearly imitating, amazingly carries a tune with his screams), and the same aforementioned Bay Area "bruise" style that connects Evile to the Exodus school so convincingly also translates into some melodically challenged material ("Killer from the Deep," "Schizophrenia," "Bathed in Blood," etc.), only partly offset by lead guitarist Ol Drake's highly musical machine-gun solo runs. None of which should hinder the group's enthusiastic acceptance where dedicated thrashers and all-purpose metalheads are concerned, mind you, but drawing in the unsuspecting masses with that indefinable, genre-crossing magic will have to wait further songwriting maturation on Evile's part. That's OK, though -- Metallica needed three albums of their own to accomplish the same feat.
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AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia