It’s interesting, to me anyway, that Evile end tonight with Track 1 of their debut. The title track, to boot “Enter The Grave” was the album they had out when I first saw them. They were in Nottingham, opening for Megadeth, and if I recall correctly, we’d got t-shirts and albums by the time the headline act came on.
At the time I told everyone who would listen that we were looking at the band that would save thrash metal (although what from, who knows?).
Fast forward 16 years or so and they’re arguably a better band than back then and if they never quite tasted the world domination I predicted (in fairness I have a track record, I saw Muse open for Feeder and was convinced that no one would hear from them again), the crowd in The Devils Dog has enough energy and enthusiasm to make it special.
If “….Grave” itself ends the set, then “Killer From The Deep” from it starts things. The new one, “Sleepless Eyes” is a real twin guitar assault, so much so that Ol Drake – these days the singer as well as guitar player – asking: “Do you want something heavy?” Is as redundant a question as: “Is Suella Braverman evil?”. Nonetheless, the question is answered by the wonderful “Head Of The Demon”.
“We Who Are About To Die” engenders the evening’s first proper moshpit and the brilliant title song from the new album showcases that again, while “Thrasher” does the job it’s meant to and gets a circle pit going.
There’s a scream-a-long in “Cult” (albeit the crowd weren’t chanting “Cult” – it was something else, but we’re back to Braverman again), “Skull” is a chance for the skill to shine. And the versatility of the band is shown in “Monolith” (“It’s so heavy you might die” reckons Drake), while “Gore” is “really, really fast”. It is.
“The Thing (1982)” is a real hi-tops freak out, and “Infected Nation” sounds probably better than ever. This version of the band, guitar player Adam Smith joining long-term member Joel Graham, Drake and Drummer Ben Carter, has a real something.
They don’t encore (“we can’t be bothered to go off stage and walk back on when one of you shouts ‘one more song’ reasons Drake) but they stay on for ‘…..Grave”, which is where we started, obviously, except to say it was sprinkled with added Sabbath here.
And do you know what? I wasn’t wrong, all those years ago. There’s a parallel universe where Evile are massive, and even if we have to live in the real world, they are still one of the best and most innovative thrash bands we have down here on Earth.