Sunday, January 20, 2013

Evil Army - I, Commander [2013]

I'm actually quite surprised how Evil Army's self titled debut didn't blow off the roof for avid thrashers; it was certainly one of the first records that initiated the retro-thrash movement by being released in 2006, back when Warbringer was still desperately in search of a label, and besides, it was a relatively fun experience to be had, with its maelstrom of nailing speed/thrash confrontations swiping you off the ground with old school-drenched craze. Probably due to the little publicity they attained through their feral debut, the band stayed pretty stable though the next six years, but in an abrupt rush, the group sings with Hell's Headbangers, one of the best possible harbors for unadulterated grime-soaked punk thrashers such as themselves, and they give us this little EP, ''I, Commander'', a smidgen of taste extracted from a potential sophomore from the same label, and, well, Evil Army is exactly what Evil Army was years ago, so don't get your hopes too high for this one.

Perhaps ''I, Commander'' is one of the more purely biased thrash releases out there today, and it's probably a big ''fuck you'' in the face of the massing party thrasher hordes, but in all honesty it does not provide anything vital, not even for the most fervent of thrashers. I'd say the band's real bulk of influences are tied to their obsession with the mid-late 80's speed/thrash dominants of the East Coast, but they also possess a wild lewdness that should rivet the attention of early Kreator and Sodom fans, and thankfully, Evil Army, while still failing to circumvent redundancy, sustains a good amount of professionalism through the mastering hands of thrash maven Joel Grind of Toxic Holocaust, who has successfully blended a cavorting gush of unhinged speed/thrash riffs with a vile Teutonic truculence. One more appeal the EP should have is its demo authenticity. Lower the distortion to a more tinny and even more unforgiving volume and you've practically got yourself a lost gem from the States circa 1986-1988.

The band's progression is as you may expect; they converse each track with a mouthful of loathing, carnal ammunition, decrepit drum beats pulsing from behind, a fairly audible bass that only bobs along to the momentum, and the vocalist's throaty inflection that could only be ripped from usual German suspects, and they end each of the three tracks the same way the commence them. They've even put some swerving whammy-oriented leads here and there, but in all, their main focus remains unchanged. These are just a bunch of vandals who strip thrash from all of its adornments, leaving it only with the dry, residual sustenance that keeps it alive, and then play the riffs exactly by the book, which means chock loads grinding, frenetic riffing after riffing, leather, boots and bullet belts ahoy. There's nothing wrong about this, you can be sure of that, but unless you're desperately floundering for another kick of nostalgia, I think modern multi-faceted thrashers such as Vektor, Hexen or Immaculate are more likely to captivate you. Certainly a solid 8 minutes of run-time, but nothing too convincing if you're all too well acquainted with acts like Toxic Holocaust, Children Of Technology, Fueled By Fire, Speedwolf, etc.

I, Commander
I Must Destroy You

Rating: 70%

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