Evile

Infected Nations

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The sophomore album by the U.K.'s strongest retro-thrash ensemble is definitely a step forward for the already impressive group. They're moving beyond pure '80s worship into a powerful modern/classic metal outfit, now reminiscent of Trivium as much as Metallica, Exodus, and Testament. Indeed, vocalist Matt Drake sounds shockingly like Trivium's Matt Heafy, with his full-throated roar. His brother, guitarist Ol, cuts loose with one fleet, technical solo after another, as drummer Ben Carter pounds away, combining thrash with an almost tribal rumble. (As is too often the case in metal, bassist Mike Alexander is only present as a sort of amorphous fullness in the mix.) There's definitely some old-school riffage present on Infected Nations; "Plague to End All Plagues" sounds like a medley of songs from Master of Puppets. But there's also some serious ambition to be found here, as the album's closing track, "Hundred Wrathful Deities," demonstrates. An 11-minute instrumental with occasional atmospheric sound effects, it's a terrific showcase for the band's musical abilities as it moves from thrash to epic progressive metal and back again. Evile have graduated from novelty status to serious metal contenders with this album.

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