SonicAbuse Live Review – Evile, Camden Underworld, 13/02/2011

Here at SonicAbuse we’ve written pretty extensively about how much we like Evile, and how much we like thrash.  I’ve also made my feelings about the Camden Underworld pretty plain too: nice door staff, pricey bar, shit sound, rubbish views, good crowd, pillars. Oh, and I’m adding ‘hipster barmen’ to the list.

Anyway, Evile have had an odd year. A mixed year- a year with highs that most smaller bands would sign stuff at the crossroads for, and lows that would send most running for a life of shelf stacking or accountancy.

But I’ll be back for Evile later.

I’ve been going to the Underworld since years had ‘19’s in them, and I’ve never seen a queue like this one. Now the cynic in me says that there was a snafu with e-tickets, but the rest of me thinks not only was there a big demand for thrash on a Sunday, but, in these times of austerity, if you get a 3 band bill, you turn up before the openers are on. And you wait in line. In the rain.

A lot of people turned up early.

A lot of people, it seems, came to see Mutant.

And a LOT of people went mental when Mutant came on. Or, more precisely, about two minutes AFTER Mutant came on – once they’d opened with a sort of Slayer-esque metallic-groove, they launched into some ‘proper’ thrash, and the place pretty much blew up.

Remember when Metallica seemed believable? Sort of around the time all their album titles were three words long?  Well, Mutant play that sort of thrash: lightning fast & totally manic.  The pit lapped it up – and with that many people diving off of the stage, they’re obviously doing something VERY right.

Sadly it’s not quite MY cup of tea – they’re deft exponents of the slower stuff, but I’m not quite as taken with their faster material.

Still, Evile are pretty well reported as being fans; as with all these situations, I’d go here before making your own mind up.

Elimination, on the other hand, initially seem to be having a harder time getting the crowd moving.

This could well be due to their peddling more of a thrash/NWOBHM hybrid than Mutant. Slower paced and with a boatload more melody, what initially started as a tough crowd quickly came around to the early Maiden stylings.

Well, nearly early Maiden stylings – there’s galloping bass, and epic content, but the vocals are more gruff than soaring – a gruff heading towards Hetfield. After a short period of arm-crossing and chin scratching, the still packed-like-sardines-crowd ‘get’ the pitch, and while they don’t move around anywhere near as much, they DO cheer and roar a lot more.

Entering to an orchestral arrangement from ‘Rambo’ and ploughing straight into, appropriately enough ‘First Blood’ (see what they did there), Evile make the pit go ape again.

Actually, they go further than that – considering there’s a pretty high chance of serious injury through unexpected masonry collision, a lot of punters are still careening around to the infectious riffs. All played at blistering speed too.

Second song of the night “Enter the Grave” ends in a maelstrom of bodies and chants of ‘Evile’.

Pausing for a quick recap of the better events of the last 12 months – including a namecheck on Casualty (!!!???!!!???) – it’s clear that Evile have gone from being the thrash band that Earache took a BIG risk on (look up ‘Flemming Rasmussen’), to being the UK’s hottest thrash ticket…… Ok, so that’s not such a big step, better make that one of the UK’s hottest metal tickets. How they’ve managed it is also abundantly clear: Matt’s a diamond of a frontman – watching the guy own the stage feels like seeing someone you know make it big.

But it’s not all amiabilty – ‘Plague to end all Plagues’ and a (rarely aired) ‘Metamorphosis’ send the crowd back to metallic oblivion once again, the latter highlighting what a treat the night (and the entire tour for that matter) is all about – this is not just for Evile to bask in well deserved adulation, this is for US, the faithful.

Taking a gamble and airing new track ‘Bitch’, a song with no real chorus as yet, shows how much fun Evile are. Asking the crowd to make up the words as the band play is a feat I’ve never seen before. Although going along with the crowd renaming the song as ‘Peas Cock Collagen Muncher Face’ maybe a step too far… Time will tell.

Either way, the riff’s a belter, and it should be interesting to see where the song goes from here.

Followed up with ‘We Who Are About To Die’, ‘My Parasite’ and ‘Infected Nation’, the venue hits near riot levels, with a large portion of the crowd exploiting what appears to be a revolving door policy on stage diving. It’s carnage, it’s bat-shit mental. And it’s a LOT of fun.

I’ve been going to gigs here for over a decade, and I’ve NEVER had this much of a grin on my face.

Leaving the stage after “Killer from the Deep” a song penned by fallen member Mike Alexander, a number of things are clear: this whole thrash revival has serious legs, and even if it doesn’t hit the heights of the original, Evile are more than capable of outliving it.

Evile didn’t just have the crowd eating out of their hands, the crowd pretty much bit the hand off at the elbow.

Photography – Saul Bunn

Many thanks to Talita at Earache for getting us in.

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