Evil (Japan) – Possessed by Evil

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label: http://www.nwnprod.com
Released: 2021
Buy Album: https://nuclearwarnowproductions.bandcamp.com/album/possessed-by-evil
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/eviljapan

Band Line-up:

Asura – Vocals, Guitars
Enmaten – Bass
Bishamonten – Guitars
Yaksa – Drums
Rasetsuten – Guitars

 

Tracklisting:

1. The Cycle of Pain
2. Yaksa
3. Revenge
4. Raizin
5. Paramount Evil
6. Reaper
7. The Gate of Hell
8. Hell’s Evil Bells
9. Bottom of Hell
10. Enmaten
11. Possessed by Evil
12. Evil Way of Live

Review:

Evil (Japan) are a black/thrash metal band on Nuclear War Now! Productions. They will be releasing their sophomore album ‘Possessed by Evil’ on 15th February, 2021. It follows their debut ‘Rites of Evil’; their demo album; two live recordings; and a split with Siege Column. Evil can be compared to legendary early Sodom and the most notorious Japanese hardcore acts. They don’t care one bit that they pay tribute to their metal heritage in PbE, making their material extremely authentic. What makes this release superior to their debut is the increased cohesiveness among the instruments and the tighter delivery. 

This album sure is exciting, but again, it really is only for those who are looking for something old school. Many people are, just be warned. Whatever the case, you can’t deny it is raw, unpretentious and wild. Track ‘The Gate of Hell’ is far more doomy than the previous ones, but it only lasts one and a half minutes and is more of an instrumental interlude. Not to worry though, song ‘Possessed by Evil’ is longer, with more addictive doom features to satisfy those darker souls. Sped up classic metal ideas (think Iron Maiden on steroids) do get combined with thrashier/punkier ones in other places, giving the sound even more character. Whilst you could call this stuff black metal in a way, doing so is a little misleading. Sure the vocals are shouted, but then again, so are the vocals of Slayer. I guess the drums are mostly super quick beats, but again, you frequently find those in thrash. 

Tracks such as ‘Enmaten’ and ‘Evil Way of Live’ have less crazy tempos in places and have more of a groove metal style. However, the riffs are far from Pantera level. Rather, they are heavily power chord based, without the expert single note choices and that delicious vibrato. The album’s guitar solos are just as insane as the furious backing, but the performance of them whilst not scrappy, isn’t good enough to justify so many of them. They are very scalic and cliched (I’m thinking of Slayer again, just without the extreme tremolo arm abuse) and are far from Yngwie-style shred standard. The noodling on ‘Evil Way of Live’ is more melodic but like the others, it is lacking in a skilled vibrato so it doesn’t sound as stylish as I’m assuming was intended. The vibrato isn’t BAD, but it is important. To be fair the soloing in ‘Bottom of Hell’ is pretty out there and kind of brings to mind (a slightly sloppier) John Petrucci, even.

In conclusion, this is very thrilling stuff, but it’s certainly nothing new. Again, I think it’s good to compare these guys to Slayer, in that both bands are thrashy and doomy, with hints of early black metal and with similarly crazed soloing and shouts. However, Evil are less heavy and polished and their riffs are not up to the same level as the member of The Big Four, either. Slayer are known for having plenty of adventurous patterns that get developed throughout their pieces. Evil on the other hand rely more on sheer speed to impress much of the time which does work, but the slower sections are a bit too basic. Definitely recommended if you love mid 80s thrash were everything was nuts and far from serious, but again, this is quite far from true black metal. 

Review by Simon Wiedemann
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