Evil Army: I, Commander

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Evil Army: I, Commander
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Evil Army: I, Commander
Thrash Metal
Hell’s Headbangers
January 14th, 2013
Release length: 8:30
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Evil Army has been kicking around since about 2003. The Memphis, Tennessee based Thrash Metal act has a few various releases under their belt, such as a split with Bury the Living in 2004, the Armory Demos 2010 demo, and two singles. In 2006, they also issued their debut full-length album, Evil Army, through Get Revenge Records. Now, they find themselves attached to the infamous Hells Headbangers to bring a brand new three song EP to the masses titled I, Commander, which was mastered by Joel Grind (Toxic Holocaust). Is this an authoritive old-school Metal assault, or is I, Commander not worth the vinyl it’s pressed on?

Well, I, Commander is no doubt a throwback to the early days of Thrash. The guitars are heavily muffled with a pretty sharp distortion at work, and the bass is pretty apparent in the mix with a mid-level tone that suits the music. The cymbals seem to have a bit of washout, but it could also just be from the audio quality and distance. The snares have a natural tightness to them, and the bass kicks have more of a thud going on than a click. But, while all of this sounds raw, you can’t help but wonder if it’s some kind of studio effect at work given how clean the harsher vocals are compared to the instruments, making it a little harder to believe it’s a legit analog recording discovered from the early eighties.

That little hiccup in the editing and altering phase acknowledged, I, Commander will tear the listener apart. “I, Commander” hits the listener with some technicality in the guitar chords, but played at a furious pace that commands your obedience. The guitar solo is also worth mentioning, played with a good deal of intricacy and increased speed, then again with simpler chords during the following slower passage. This violent assault is carried into “I Must Destroy You.” The pace and consistant drumming really helps set a rhythm you can easily band your head along to instinctively, all the while finding the band going for the juggular.

The pace slows greatly for “Ashes of the Nuclear Fire.” This focuses on two-step drumming and an upbeat guitar performance. The problem is this sounds far really empty and muffled, effectively losing a good deal of bite compared to the others. This could be contributed more to the distortion being used, which is a little deeper overall, leaving the gaps in the chords to stand out more, but it could also be the audio quality itself playing a role. Either way, it doesn’t work in the song’s favor at all, leaving it bland despite the performance itself clearly showing a kick ass song under the faults.

I, Commander does try to capture the spirit of the early Thrash sound, and in many ways it does, but more in the vein of the music. It can be pretty obvious the analog elements are more an effect added later, and some tampering with volume levels. But, overall, it doesn’t really hurt the EP except for “Ashes of the Nuclear Fire,” which just sounds boring and horribly muffled. Either way, if you’re looking for some solid Thrash Metal, Evil Army‘s I, Commander is still a good choice if you have some money burning a hole in your pocket, and you’re a fan of all things Thrash, or even just what Hells Headbangers typically carries in stock.

01. I, Commander – 2:55
02. Ashes of the Nuclear Fire – 2:26
03. I Must Destroy You – 3:09
Initial Pressing Score: 6.5/10

Evil Army (band)
Evil Army

Digital review copy of this release provided by Hell’s Headbangers.