MIGHTY BRITISH THRASHERS
2011 is fast becoming a special year for Evile, the iconic foursome formed in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, in 2004. Today’s line-up consists of Matt Drake (vocals and guitar,) his brother, Ol (guitar,) bassist Joel Graham and Ben Carter on drums Their outstanding performance at last summer’s Download festival gave fans a flavour of their third album, Five Serpent’s Teeth. Since then, the band has been absolutely unstoppable and it is safe to say that they are on fire. Rockerilla met Evile’s frontman and bassist at the Download festival, when Five Serpent’s Teeth was only just starting to take on its colossal shape. It was clear that the band was once again ready to strike dead on. Matt and Joel (who joined the band in 2010) reminisced on their early days: we started as a Metallica cover band, just for fun. They still are, together with Slayer and Sepultura, one of our most influential bands; however, as a vocalist, I feel much closer to bands like Queen and Alice in Chains. Both Freddy Mercury and Layne Staley are still teaching me a lot with their unique vocal range, based not only on random screams, but on intensity and structure. Evile began to develop their individuality on their first album, Enter the Grave, and took this to explosive heights on the follow-up, Infected Nation: Our three albums represent our evolution, continues Matt. When we started, all we wanted to do was to blast thrash metal and make it sound faster and faster. We just realised that we could dedicate more attention to the actual music and build credibility also from the lyrics point of view. We did not want to continue writing on the typical, repetitive, brutal thrash metal topics like nuclear wars or sharks; we had more to say than that!
After the tragic loss of their original bassist, Mike Alexander, while on tour in Sweden in 2009, the band is now superbly back on track. The band dedicated the eighth track on Five Serpent’s Teeth, In Memoriam, to their lost friend. We did not want to pay a tribute to Mike by writing an angry song and we had no intention to make people cry with sad words, explains Matt. Our thoughts just fit the music. In Memoriam is the first song I played on the album, comments Joel. The intro was Mike’s work, so you can imagine.
Four months have passed since Download and Five Serpent’s Teeth was officially released on September 26th. To showcase the new album to their hungry fans, Evile announced a series of UK tour dates commencing in London only three days after the release. Evil never fail to disappoint, no matter if they are playing the big festival stages such as Download and Bloodstock, the festival to which they dedicated their song Centurion (Matt commented that Bloodstock will always have a special place in our hearts; It’s where we got signed!) or intimate venues like the Relentless Garage, where they played tonight. Evile quite simply deliver, and they deliver right. Matt and Joel continued our chat for a few minutes before they were due to hit the stage and Matt swiftly declared that this is it! Tonight, we are going to play live the new songs we did not have the chance to play at Download. We only had a short set then, so we only managed to play Cult and Eternal Empire. Tonight, we are headlining. Our fans will have a full taste of Five Serpent’s Teeth live. I am very nervous, I think we did not rehearse as much as we wanted to. We are just going to go on stage and play! I am really looking forward to performing all the new material, particularly Descend into Madness; it’s mad and it’s fast! We did not expect a proper reaction at Download as nobody really knew the new stuff. Tonight, we really have the chance to see if our fans like the new album! Cult has been one of the diehard metalhead favourites for a while, since the release of its video on September 13th. The visual message of this staggering track is very different from the traditional Evile videos. It shows a very spooky close up of the frontman, with the rest of the band gravitating digitally animated around him. We had no idea on how to do it, really. We had a budget and we just left everything to the director, Ramy Elgamal, who did an excellent job. We realise Cult is not the typical thrash video, but we were very happy with the results. The first date of a new tour is always the most difficult one, even for bands like Evile with a solid history of massive live shows since the early days, like in 2008 when the quartet followed Megadeth on the European leg of their Tour of Duty. Confidence is in the air. Now we are ready to play in countries where we have never played before, such as South America and Asia, and we hope to play Italy again soon. You are mad and uncontrollable, just the way we like it!