Evil Shepherd – Evil Through Darkness… And Darkness Through Death

evilshepherdThis whole thrash revival has really been an annoying and a callous reminder as to why the genre died off in the early 90’s. There’s no denying the talent that has been on display since the flipped up baseball caps and shredded jean shorts came back out of the moth balls, but with so many bands being OK with reanimating the Bay Area aesthetic and a “let’s have some beers and MOSH” mentality… It has been a reaffirming reminder why I’m glad the sillier aspects of the old thrash days are gone. Then there was Arizona’s Vektor. What an amazingly gifted band who chose to incorporate their influences into their amazing songwriting and unique trash perspective. That band alone has drug me back, propped me up, and demanded that I give the new school another chance. Enter Evil Shepherd from Belgium. Nowhere near as potent from an instrumental standpoint as the aforementioned demons (who is?), BUT this blasphemous quintet possesses some furious chops and a level of uniqueness that’s just enough to keep me tuned in to their hellstorm. Evil Through Darkness… And Darkness Through Death is an interestingly lethal shot of conviction and the riffs leave a mark with impressive tremolo catchiness and adept fretboard work. Though there’s a tightness to this material that cannot be denied, there’s an underlying element of dirt to be found in the composition and production of this material that allows the evil side of thrash to rise to the surface and torment the priests. The vocalist on occasion bares similarities of a mid 80’s Schmier due to his higher register screaming style, but he injects enough of his own venom to sever a full ongoing comparison. Especially when he enters a lower growl for a nice display of range and vocal dynamics. The guitar sound on this album is great. It’s good to hear traditional tuning used with this much sinister intent. The songs are full of interesting changes and musical tangents, never falling into a verse/chorus/verse/chorus pop structure which is a good thing, though never becoming too perplexing to repel the listener. Even though several riffs may surface on this album that project a, “I’ve heard this before” aura of nostalgia, the thrash idolatry never gets out of hand and stays well within the realm of Evil Shepherd’s own identity. It’s hard to work within this construct and not let your influences slip, but ES do it in a tasteful way meant as respect. The songs speak for themselves. Infectiously memorable riffs. Hateful solos. Venomous technical insanity when the songs call for it. Satanic thrash lives… and you will die! -Marty

Empire Records

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~ by martyworm on January 23, 2013.

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