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Album Reviews : Envenomed – Evil Unseen

By on June 1, 2014

cover high qualityOpening with a galloping rhythm and a melodic riff, ‘Evil Unseen’, the debut album by Melbourne’s Envenomed, wastes no time thundering into its infectious groove, and as “Will of Man” begins, you’re greeted by vocalist Anthony Mavrikis’ undeniably engrossing style. This is coupled by the excellent, pounding bass work of Liam Wagener and the consistent one-two punch of the guitars and drums; the former of which comprises the innovative, metallic solos and riffs courtesy of Brendan Farrugia, with the latter maintaining the backbone of the band. Adam Bartleson’s drum lines course onwards like a voracious beast. At times, they beat an understated melody, and at others, they gorge themselves on the meaty rhythms (check out “Disobey the Beast” to see what I mean here), bouncing off the walls like this maniacal creature eagerly awaiting the moment it can burst out onto the stage, tearing down the proverbial gates with it, to spectacular and forceful rhythms as the double-bass notes kick in.

Perhaps one of the best things that works to Envenomed’s favour here is that ‘Evil Unseen’ is different from most other thrash metal albums you’ll find today, and that becomes immediately noticeable just from the opening title track alone. With traditional metal influences happily saturating much of its sound, Envenomed describe their sound as being ‘melodic thrash’, a title which in itself is intriguing. There are many elements that make themselves known throughout the listening experience of this album. Whilst the double-bass that make up those familiar thrash metal tones are there, the elements that unexpectedly rear their heads at various stages are interesting in themself. This comprises such things as engaging hooks, soaring choruses, and immersive guitar solos that are strewn throughout the mix. On its own, that mightn’t sound so revolutionary, but it is something that certainly helps this record to stand out from other thrash metal albums currently on the market. Many of the ‘new wave of thrash metal’ bands aren’t really doing this, and are instead focusing on the heavily distorted, in-your-face 200 BPM deliveries. While that isn’t a bad thing on its own, it does mean that with many bands continuing to crop up throughout the scene, it makes it all the more difficult to differentiate one from the other. This is where Envenomed has largely played it smart. They’ve taken two familiar genres that are already widely regarded – that being thrash and heavy metal – and effectively performed the simple task of merging the two (a task that interestingly enough hasn’t been imitated anywhere else in the scene as far as I can tell). There are even the odd death growls.

All of this plays it part advantageously to Envenomed, and upon spinning this album (thematically speaking, of course, as I had a digital copy), in just the first few opening minutes alone, it managed to capture my attention. Considering these guys formed back in 2005, ‘Evil Unseen’ is the best inclination to the many things these guys have soaked up over the years and applied to their own music. Mixed and mastered by Chris Themelco (Orpheus Omega) at Monolith Studios, the production value alone feels huge and is remarkably professional for an independent release. This is the sort of album that could easily find itself on the shelves alongside other metal records produced by the bigwigs. And deservedly, I might add.

With ‘Evil Unseen’ Envenomed have demonstrated how to successfully create a modern thrash metal album. They’ve forged something here that feels both fresh and exciting. And I can guarantee you that after listening to this album you’ll be strapped for choices of what you could compare it to. ‘Evil Unseen’ in the best sense feels like its own entity: a creation built from the ground up out of a genuine desire and want for creative expression and experimentation. By no stretch is it something born simply out of a carbon copy replica.

Aside from the obvious too, there are elements in this album that interestingly enough feel almost progressive in their portrayal (e.g. the vocals used on “Mechanical Enemy”). The strong use of power-chords that help drive the album (such as on the solos for bonus track “Global Deception”; an excellent closer to the album, mind you) largely greaten its appeal also, and there are other moments that almost come across as if their opening melody was birthed of a sober dream, tinged by a soft veil of sorrow (i.e. the instrumental “Spirit Machine”). It’s quite fascinating hearing the many angles at which ‘Evil Unseen’ is approached at, and in my humble opinion, this record is the most exciting Australian album 2014 has yet given us.

May I just say also that Farrugia’s many solos on this album are some of the best I’ve heard in a long time? This guy can play!

The best way to summarise ‘Evil Unseen’ is that this album is earnest. Envenomed don’t have anything to hide here. The cards are out on the table and they’ve dealt out a royal flush. The album is both dynamic and universal. And when I say ‘universal’, by that I mean there is enough variety and interest across this album that it should appeal to wide array of listeners. There is honestly very little to fault with this record. The nine years it took for ‘Evil Unseen’ to finally be released have been in no way wasted.

Band: Envenomed
Album: Evil Unseen
Year: 2014
Genre: Melodic Thrash
Label: Independent
Origin: Melbourne, Australia

https://www.facebook.com/EnvenomedOfficial

Tracklisting:
1. Evil Unseen
2. Will Of Man
3. Spoils Of Victory
4. Burn The Sun
5. Falling
6. Within Me
7. Disobey The Beast
8. Mechanical Enemy
9. The Shadowland
10. Spirit Machine
11. Demonocracy
12. Global Deception

About

Jonathon is an aspiring fantasy/sci-fi novelist and music journalist. Thanks to the influence of the music he grew up with, he has always possessed a keen interest in metal and rock. He is also a huge fan of mythology, legend, and folklore from all across the world. You should follow him on Twitter.