“Five Serpent’s Teeth” is one of the most anticipated thrash releases of the year and for good reason. Shortly after Evile released their critically acclaimed sophomore effort, “Infected Nations,” tragedy stuck the band. Their bassist, Mike Alexander passed away due to illness, but Evile did not give up. They continued to hammer on and the result of this persistence is this record.
In a recent interview, Matt Drake said that “Five Serpent’s Teeth” resembled both “Enter the Grave” and “Infected Nations,” but he also said that it resembles neither. After listening to this album a few times, Matt Drake’s analysis was correct. “Five Serpent’s Teeth” possesses the speed, aggression, and intensity of “Enter the Grave,” the progressive elements found on “Infected Nations” and it also has vast improvements all around. From the vocals, to the riffs, to the solos and everything in between. “Five Serpent’s Teeth” is just plain better.
Not only have the riffs improved, but they’re much more varied than on previous releases. There is a great mix of slow, heavy riffs and raging fast ones. The first single released, “Eternal Empire,” starts with a slower riff, but it transitions into one of Evile’s fastest riffs to date, only to be topped by an even faster riff near the end of the song. They also managed to show off some more technical prowess when it came to the riffs. Evile managed to mix minor technical aspects with speed, for one of the best riffs of 2011, on the track “In Dreams of Terror.” It’s extremely catchy and impossible to not headbang crazily along with.
The lead guitar work is another highlight of this album. Ol’ Drake continues to prove why he is one of the best (if not the best) lead players among today’s thrash bands. His solos on this album are all stellar, with each standing out from the others, but it’s also the melodies that he’s crafted, where he shines the most. Each melody is placed perfectly in the songs, especially on the tribute to Mike Alexander, “In Memoriam.” The song was written in memory of Evile’s fallen friend and comrade and because of the beautiful melodies and the way that they blend with the other parts of the music flawlessly, you can feel the emotion that was put into the song, similar to Metallica’s “Fade to Black.”
The other area that Evile has improved in by leaps and bounds, in the vocal department. The most commonly heard criticism of Evile’s “Infected Nations” was the monotonous vocals, but that is no longer the case. Matt Drake’s voice now flows with the music smoothly, without feeling forced. His vocals have also become more versatile, from the clean and melodic singing found on “In Memoriam” to the fast rapid vocals on “Eternal Empire.” Drake has found his comfort zone and to put things simply and figuratively, his vocals are the icing on an already delicious cake.
For such a young band, Evile has gone through a lot and have matured quite a bit, which is reflected by “Five Serpent’s Teeth.” They have gone from making simplistic songs about Rambo and thrashing (still great songs by the way) to writing their best material to date. The best songs on this record are “In Dreams of Terror,” “Eternal Empire,” and “In Memoriam.”
At the rate that Evile’s been progressing and improving, it would be no surprise to see them headlining Wacken in the future. The competition for album of the year was already intense, but Evile has thrown a jackknife into the mix with this album, and they can very well take off with the top spot.
Final Rating - 4.5/5 or 90%.