I was rather taken by Indian metalheads Against Evil last time they released an album. That was 2018 and the album in question was called All Hail The King. Can they keep up the good work in 2021 with End of the Line?
Broadly, the answer would have to be yes. Although the band haven’t progressed in the leaps and bounds I’d hoped for when reviewing them a couple of years back, they have honed and refined the things they are good at, making the album as a whole pretty enjoyable to listen to.
After the pretty standard opening one-two combination of The Sound of Violence and Speed Demon, the band drop a bit of a curveball on track three with the full on hair metal of Out For Blood, which could easily have been an outtake from Judas Priest‘s Turbo; the tracks eighties cred is further enhanced by the presence of none other than Billy Sheehan on bass, who continues the band’s now traditional use of a metal superstar on every album. (Shredmeister Jeff Loomis graced the band’s last album, in case you’d forgotten).
Next track Call to War sees the the resumption of normal service with a lurching riff best described as Manowaresque, squaring the circle and setting out the band’s stall for the rest of the album. This mixture of comforting trad metal tropes never gets dull however, as the band attack the task at hand with such steely-eyed sincerity that you can’t help but be swept along by it all.
Once again props have to go to DGM alumnus Simone Mularone, who does a great job in the mixing and mastering, as he has done before for the band; a by-product of which is the fact that Against Evil really do have a sound that’s head and shoulders above anyone currently operating at a similar level. Mularone understands this kind of music perfectly, and the dynamic sonic range of this release gives every instrument it’s time to breathe but, perhaps more importantly, shine. Too often emerging bands seem happy to sacrifice the bassist in the mix – but vocalist Siri Sri‘s four strings pump out of the mix loud and proud whenever required here – and that’s a great thing to be able to report.
Sword of Power is a blood brother of something Brit-based metallers Primitai might have written for their last album, but, whilst the well from which these guys draw from is clearly a busy one, you never really feel they are aping or tributing anyone else – their succesfully put their own spin on everything they attempt.
Metal or Nothin‘ is clearly more than just a song title for these guys – their circuits do indeed gleam! – and it’s good to see such undying faith in the cause of our kind of music in such a far-flung corner of the metal Empire – long may it continue!
End of the Line releases on May 14th