Evile – Hell Unleashed (Napalm Records)

If you’re going to make a comeback record after eight years, you may as well make it count.

And Evile have done just that with Hell Unleashed, the long-awaited successor to 2013’s Skull.

Yes, many fans were dismayed by the departure of frontman Matt Drake from the Huddersfield thrashers.

But they were elated by the return of his brother, Ol, last year.

And Drake has done more than bring his inhuman picking speeds and virtuoso soloing back to the band he helped to shape.

By replacing his sibling behind the mic, ‘Old Rake’ has brought a rawer, more aggressive vocal attack to the quartet’s work… a style that integrates perfectly into Evile 2.0.

Indeed, the band who played a crucial role in reviving thrash with Enter The Grave have re-ignited the spirit of that game changing debut.

The intensity, speed and vicious streak that permeated the band’s 2007 breakthrough runs right through Hell Unleashed.

You’ll not find complex, lengthy workouts such as Metamorphosis and Tomb on the Yorkshire quartet’s fifth opus.

Instead, songs like Gore and War Of Attrition waste no time in reaching maximum velocity.

They remind you why Evile turned so many heads at that fateful ’06 Bloodstock performance… and why when they’re on form, this act are one of the finest thrash bands to have emerged since the 80s.

But don’t think that Hell Unleashed is a retrogression for Evile.

As much as early tracks like Thrasher were great fun, Drake, bassist Joel Graham, drummer Ben Carter and new axeman Adam Smith have hardly gone back basics.

The band have pushed themselves hard.

And they’ve more than made up for lost time.

The jaw-dropping Disorder, with its mutant intro riffery and breathtaking dynamics, isn’t the work of an act who are simply re-hashing past glories. Drake and Smith shine through their ingenuity and Carter – who excelled through the likes of Five Serpent’s Teeth and Skull – has raised his game even further on Hell Unleashed.

The title track is pure, unhinged thrash fury, the cover of Mortician’s bludgeoner, Zombie Apocalypse, is inspired and The Thing (1982) spits shards of sublime leadwork into your lacerated ear canals, and is akin to a bloody, extraterrestrial rampage (which we guess was the idea).

Refocused, revitalised and ready to thrash like never before, Evile are back in business.

And thank God for that.

Check out our interview with Ben Carter, where he discusses the making of Hell Unleashed, here.

Hell Unleashed